It is easy to forget that tartrazine has been linked to hyperactivity in children for more than 30 years. It can cause skin rashes, hay fever, breathing problems, blurred vision, purple blotches on skin, anxiety, migraines, depression, general weakness, heat waves and sleep disturbance. If you are pregnant avoid it like the plague - it has been known to damage unborn babies.
Yet it is still the most used food coloring worldwide.
It’s not just in yellow food – it's mixed with other colors to give various shades of green as well. And it's not found only in food. You'll find it in some drugs and vitamin supplements, and it's used to color soaps, cosmetics, moisturizers, shampoos and other hair care products. It’s fed to chickens to make their egg yolks more yellow.
There are natural alternatives. Beta-carotene is often used in organic foods to give a yellow color. As this is a vitamin, this addition is actually good for you. Annatto and malt can also be used.
For home cooking you can use turmeric when you want to color savoury dishes - rice, for instance. Turmeric is a natural spice and a powerful antioxidant. When you use turmeric to add color to a dish, you're helping your family's health.
Home cooking is the surest way to know exactly what you and your kids are eating, but it’s not always easy coming up with ideas for healthy family meals. ‘Alkaline Diet Recipes’ is a wonderful resource for busy moms trying to keep their families healthy. The only thing I’d change is leaving out the soymilk that’s used in one recipe – I’d use coconut milk or almond milk instead. Other than that, it’s a great recipe book.
The only reason food manufacturers keep using the artificial color is because it’s CHEAP.
Parents (and teachers) noticed the link between artificial colors and children’s behaviour decades ago - I remember a teacher friend of mine telling me that whenever she saw the bright green dessert in the school lunch, she knew she was in for a difficult afternoon!
Science has been slow to catch up - as it often is - but recently there have been studies proving this link beyond the doubt of anyone except shareholders in the companies making the food dyes.
A study at Southampton University in September 2007 looked at the effects of six colors - Tartrazine, Quinine Yellow, Sunset Yellow FCF, Carmoisine, Ponceau 4R and Allura Red. (European codes E102, E104, E110, E122, E124 and E129).
The researchers estimated that banning these colors could prevent 30% of cases of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). They stated that the worst colors were ‘as bad as lead in petrol, found to lower children’s I.Q. by 5 points.’
These artificial colors affect the behaviour of normal children as well as those diagnosed with ADHD.
This study looked at only six colors, but there are two or three dozen artificial colors that have been linked to health and behaviour problems.
The UK Food Standards Agency has now called for a voluntary phase out of the six artificial colors mentioned in the Southampton study. Norway has already banned Tartrazine; Austria and Germany banned it, but the European Union overturned their decision! (Another example of big business winning over health and common sense.)
It's an artificial coloring, also known as FD&C yellow 5 or C.I. 19140 (E102 in Europe and UK). It is a ‘coal tar’ dye, which means (1) it is synthetic (2) it is made from industrial waste (coal tar). No wonder it does so much harm to so many people. I’m more surprised that anyone can eat it and not react to it.
Tartrazine is one of a group of artificial colors known as azo dyes. This refers to their chemical structure, which is similar to that of aspirin; so people who are sensitive to aspirin are more likely to react to these dyes. Asthmatics are also more likely to have a bad reaction to them.
Artificial colors are still used in a wide range of foods and drinks, in spite of all the evidence against them. These aren't just synthetic versions of natural colors: these substances don’t exist in nature at all. While the worst ones are gradually being replaced with natural alternatives, there are many more still in use. Don’t wait for scientists to prove that they have adverse effects on health – that could take many years, and permanent damage to many people before they accept it.
Why take the risk? Your family's health is ultimately your responsibility. A healthy diet consists of real food, without any artificial additives.
Natural and organic foods contain no Tartrazine or any other artificial additives. Freshly prepared food made from quality ingredients doesn't need additives. Let's face it, additives are there to disguise cheap ingredients and to hide the fact that the product is mostly sugar, fat or water.
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