As Americans, we want things bigger, brighter, bolder, better. We want everything to stand out amongst the crowd. We strive for perfection, even when we know perfection is unobtainable. We have brought this mentality into our food industry. Stop and look at the brightly colored food stored at our grocery stores. Electric pineapples, bloodshot meats, neon candies, and florescent cereals. When we walk through and pick up a vibrant orange or a juicy red steak, are we getting just that, or are we really eating synthetic dye or artificial food coloring?
The visual appeal of food seems to determine the price these days. The more eye appeal, the higher the dollar. Should we be worried that our food looks like it jumped out of a High Definition Television? The Florida Department of Citrus confirmed that Red Dye No. 2 is allowed, and used, early in the citrus season when the fall nights aren't as cold as necessary to develop the desired orange color (1). Why are we doing this to our natural food source?
What are these synthetic food enhancers? Artificial food coloring consists of chemicals used to add color to food; it is often added to processed foods, drinks, and condiments. Manufacturers add dye to add color to colorless foods, enhance colors, avoid color loss due to environmental elements, provide consistency when there are variations in the coloring of the food, and add color to "fun" foods. Food colorings are used to maintain or improve the appearance of the food (2).
Artificial coloring has been linked to hyperactivity, changes in metabolism, and even more serious conditions. Yet we still allow this synthetic product to be placed into our food and our children’s food. Europe has banned artificial dyes because they have been linked to behavioral issues. Dr. David Wallinga, from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, stated he believes that the science is there for customers to be concerned, saying that the dyes mess with metabolism. He also added that yellow dyes deplete zinc levels enough in some kids to cause hyperactivity and some of the dyes include petroleum products, which he says have been shown to increase the risk for cancer. Here we are, aware, and still allowing them to be in the majority of our food sources.
Even as a dietitian we are taught that food is “REAL” food. Food that is natural, free from preservatives, antibiotics, hormones, artificial dyes and sweeteners. We assume the food we purchase, is “REAL” food. But it is challenging to find “REAL” food in the US today. Food that has not been altered with chemicals or artificial products.
We know it can be challenging to navigate food labels. Which is why GenoVive is dedicated to providing you with the best quality all-natural foods, free of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. It’s real food to provide the fuel you need for successful weight loss.
Artificial food dyes are found in thousands of food products. It is going to be challenging to eliminate them, but one way to start is to empower yourself with knowledge. We have other sources to color and enhance our food, such as; caramel coloring, beet juice, and saffron. Yet, we choose not to utilize our natural color sources. As a dietitian, I would like to challenge you to read your nutrition facts and ingredient list. When choosing your food, remember to choose natural, no preservatives, minimally processed, antibiotic/hormone free meats, food free from artificial dyes and sweeteners. Choose “REAL” food, not the material we have created for the sole purpose of marketing and money. By understanding the nutrition facts and ingredient list you have taken another step towards a healthier life. If you can read, understand, and recognize each word as a “REAL” food source and not a chemical or artificial additive, then that food should be safe. If you read the ingredients and you can’t get through the first half of the list, I would advise you to put it back on the shelf. The question will arise, what about produce? We will not know until they start labeling it.
My tips to you are: buy local, organic, grow your own, or know where your food came from, ask questions, it never hurts, and take charge of your health. Pay attention to the food you put into your body and your families bodies.
Food is for fuel, and if we are using artificial fuel, our bodies will not run as efficiently. We need “REAL” natural foods, so choose wisely.
Natural food colorings:
Ingredients to avoid:
Please consult your physician before beginning any diet or exercise program. The information provided in this blog is not intended to prevent, diagnose or treat any medical condition and should not replace the advice of your physician.