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Artificial Flavours & Dyes are in cereals, cosmetics, even in pharmaceutical drugs, and especially in candy. Almost all popular brands of candy are laced with artificial colours. Most artificial dyes are linked to hyperactivity, ADD, and ADHD.
Food dyes that are under scrutiny by the FDA:
Red #40 (Allura Red): The most widely used food dye in terms of pounds consumed, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Found in cereal, gelatin, candy, baked goods.
Yellow #5 (Tartrazine): The second most widely used food dye, according to CSPI. Found in soft drinks, pudding, chips, pickles, honey, mustard, gum, baked goods, gelatin and other foods.
Yellow #6 (Sunset Yellow): The third most widely used food dye. Found in cereal, orange soda and other beverages, hot chocolate mix, baked goods and many other foods.
Red #3 (Erythrosine B): Candy, popsicles, cake decoration and other baked goods, maraschino cherries
Blue #1 (Brilliant Blue): Ice cream, canned peas, candy, drinks, dessert powders, mouthwash
Blue #2 (Indigotine, Indigo Carmine): Widely used to color beverages, candy and other foods.
Green #3 (Fast Green FCF): One of the least used food dyes, according to CSPI. Found in canned peas, vegetables, fish, desserts, cotton candy and other candy.
Orange B: Hot dog and sausage casings. According to CSPI, batches of Orange B haven’t been certified for use in at least a decade.
Natural Food Dyes that are a good alternative to artificial dyes
Use of natural food dyes is increasing, in part due to consumer concern over the synthetic versions. Look for products that contain natural dyes, including:
- beet juice
- grape skin extract
- paprika oleoresin
- fruit and vegetable juices
The following are natural but are linked to allergies:
- annatto extract
- cochineal extract
One of the most widely used artificial flavour that there is cause for concern is Monosodium Glutamate. This can be found under many pseudonyms, such as:
- acid hydrolyzed vegetable protein
- acid-hydrolyzed vegetable protein
- autolyzed Yeast
- hydrolyzed corn protein
- hydrolyzed casein
- hydrolyzed collagen
- hydrolyzed collagen protein
- hydrolyzed corn
- hydrolyzed corn cereal solids
- hydrolyzed corn gluten
- hydrolyzed corn gluten protein
- hydrolyzed corn protein
- hydrolyzed corn soy wheat gluten protein
- hydrolyzed corn/soy/wheat protein
- hydrolyzed cornstarch
- hydrolyzed gelatin
- hydrolyzed milk protein
- hydrolyzed oat flour
- Hydrolyzed Plant Protein
- Hydrolyzed Protein
- hydrolyzed soy
- hydrolyzed soy protein
- hydrolyzed soy wheat gluten protein
- hydrolyzed soy/corn protein
- hydrolyzed soy/corn/wheat protein
- hydrolyzed soy/wheat gluten protein
- hydrolyzed soya protein
- hydrolyzed soybean protein
- hydrolyzed torula and brewers yeast protein
- hydrolyzed vegetable protein
- hydrolyzed vegetable protein powder
- hydrolyzed wheat
- hydrolyzed wheat gluten
- hydrolyzed wheat gluten protein
- hydrolyzed wheat protein
- hydrolyzed whey and casein protein
- hydrolyzed whey peptides
- hydrolyzed whey protein
- hydrolyzed whey protein concentrate
- hydrolyzed whey protein isolate
- hydrolyzed yeast
- hydrolyzed yeast protein
- partially hydrolyzed beef stock
- partially hydrolyzed casein
- partially hydrolyzed guar gum
- partially hydrolyzed soybean
- partially hydrolyzed soybean oil
- partially hydrolyzed whey protein
- Plant Protein Extract
- Textured Protein
- Yeast Extract
Preservatives and Emulsifiers
There are hundreds of preservatives and emulsifiers (used to bind ingredients together) that are added to processed foods. Not all are dangerous, but do your best to avoid:
BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene): These two closely related preservatives are added to foods containing fats and oils to prevent oxidation, slow ancidity, and prolong shelf life. They have been known to impair kidney and liver function, and have been listed as a possible carcinogen.
Polysorbate 80: this additive is commonly used an an emulsifier in foods such as ice cream. It’s been shown to affect the immune system and has caused severe anaphylactic shock, a potentially fatal allergic reaction. Numerous animal studies have also linked polysorbate 80 to infertility.
Potassium sorbate: This preservative is used to extend the shelf life of a product by inhibiting the growth of yeasts and molds. This way, a convenience store can stock a food for years without worrying about it going bad. Although potassium sorbate is considered to be safe, sorbates have been linked to asthma, skin rashes, diarrhea, and hyperactivity in some sensitive people.
Propionates: These preservatives, including sodium propionate, are added to food and baked goods to inhibit the growth of microbes, such as bacteria and protozoa. Some people report having experienced migraines, headaches, and gastrointestinal complaints after ingesting them.
Sodium benzoate: This preservative is often added to acidic foods and drinks. It is linked to allergic reactions and is a carcinogen.
Sulfur dioxide: This falls under the category of sulfites, a group of preservatives commonly used for dried fruit, wine, flavoured vinegars (balsamic), salad dressings, sausages, and some potato products. Sulfites are a common allergen and can cause headaches, bowel irritability, behavioural problems, skin rashes, and other symptoms. They are particularly dangerous for asthmatic individuals, who can develop bronchospasm (a sudden constriction of the airways) after eating foods or drinking wine preserved with sulfur dioxide or other sulfur preservatives.
TBHQ (tertiary butylhydroquinone): TBHQ is a petroleum-based food additive used to increase the shelf life of products and prevent rancidity of fats. It has been associated with nausea, vomiting, and tinnitus, and prolonged exposure has been linked with cancer.
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In January 2013 I realized I needed to do something to improve my health. I spent 2012 on maternity leave and often neglected taking care of my own health (sleepless nights and caring for a tiny human will do that!). Not to mention the many years before that where health was at the bottom of my list of priorities. Luckily, I discovered Lisa's 30 day green smoothie challenge. The recipes were incredible and a green smoothie drinker was born! But I didn't stop there. Starting each day in such a healthy way led me to consult with a naturopath (it would have been Lisa if we were in the same city), do an elimination diet, and discover that I have sensitivities to wheat and milk. I changed to a whole foods-based diet (most of the time) and took up running. In the span of 8.5 months I went from being tired and sluggish on the couch (literally - I could run for one minute at a time before having to walk) to having enough energy to run the Detroit International Half Marathon. I actually RAN the whole thing! And I lost almost 60lbs along the way! Thank you, Lisa, for being my catalyst. Your challenge kept me interested in a new way of living and saved me! I continue to drink a green smoothie every day for breakfast. What a wonderful way to start each day!
Thank you thank you thank you!!!
Imogen Meloche Windsor, Ontario