Monday, January 08, 2007

Are Food Dyes and Additives Harmful?

One of the biggest changes in our lives over the past 100 years is the introduction of modified foods, fast foods, and food additives. Our food has become the subject of genetic testing and modification, and has been treated to make it more tasty and colorful, quicker to prepare, and in some cases - ready to eat right from the box. But what price are we paying for quicker, more appealing foods? In an earlier post, I mentioned the use of FDA approved viruses in lunchmeats, but there are also other modifications that have been made to our foods, some may even have serious consequences on our health. While the FDA has defended that their use of chemicals and natural additives are perfectly safe in small doses, our children don't always obey the "recommended servings" on the packaging of their favorite foods. Think about it, do you know very many people who eat just one cookie or 12 potato chips? Quite the opposite, many people struggle not to eat the whole bag.

If you analyze the ingredient listings on your favorite snack foods, you will most likely find that there are many additives listed that most people can't even pronounce - and yet continue to eat them without questions, or concern. There is plenty of research proving that food additives can be dangerous to our health, including food colorings, which are deemed safe in small doses by the FDA. But can we really trust the FDA to decide what is safe for human consumption? What are some of the side effects of the additives that are commonly listed in our foods? Let's take a brief look at some common food dyes present in a popular "quick-cook" food product:

Idahoan Loaded Baked Flavored Mashed Potatoes:

  • FD&C Yellow #5 - Can cause: Allergies, Thyroid tumors, Lymphocytic lymphomas, Chromosomal Damage, Trigger for asthma, Urticaria (hives), Hyperactivity (Rowe & Rowe, Egger, 1985)
  • FD&C Yellow #6 - Can cause: Urticaria (hives), Rhinitis (runny nose), Nasal congestion, Bronchoconstriction (combined with Amaranth, Ponceau), Anaphylactoid reaction (combined with Ponceau), Eosinophilotactic response, Purpura (bruising), Allergies, Kidney tumors, Chromosomal damage, Abdominal pain, Vomiting, Indigestion, Distaste for food
  • FDD&C Red #3 - Can cause: Bronchoconstriction (combined with Brilliant Blue, Indigo Carmine), Sequential vascular response, Elevation of protein-bound iodide, Thyroid tumors, Chromosomal damage, and other unspecified symptoms.

Combine this food product with a few other "quick-cook" items on your plate, and you may have the recipe for incurable diseases. As it was in the beginning, a diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, unbleached whole grains, and unprocessed natural foods are what we are meant to eat. Unnatural foods can produce unnatural body responses, and should be avoided as often as possible. The body has the natural ability to repair minor damage, but if the foods we eat on a daily basis continue to pollute our bodies, the damage may be permanent.