Food colors and their use
When browsing the grocery shelves, it is not hard to see what is going on when you see brightly packaged food. Colors sell!
Children are subjected to advertising on television to prompt them to pester the other people in the household who are involved in the decision making process.
Marketers are taught to target specific people in the purchasing process prior to the purchase to increase the chance of you purchasing their brand.
I learned these things when undertaking a Graduate Diploma in Marketing some years ago.
I highly recommend this comprehensive resource on food additives which you can get here.
When you see an advertisement for a product, it is rare that you are thinking about it from a marketing perspective. You are simply exposed to what the product is, the message provided about that product and whether it is in the top of your mind.
For example, you are not going to be as interested in a car advertisement if you are not looking to purchase a car in the near future. However, if you are looking to do your grocery shopping in the next day or so then food products would be more inclined to attract your attention.
Then, how much of an impact that product advertisement has had, the product options available including food color and packaging will determine what you eventually purchase.
Food colors are added for the purpose of making products look more attractive to you in the hope that you will purchase them. The concern with this is that it is not just the packaging that is colored in a specific way. Food manufacturers are adding food colors without considering the implications of this on our health and children’s behavior.
Food colors do serve a purpose but only where it is a naturally inherent color of the food, which is how it grows. To elaborate, foods can be used to feed your emotions based on the natural color of the food; no additives, no synthetic colors. The color of a food can assist you with your general well being. For example, yellow foods are a great natural way to lift your mood or depression. You can find out more information about feeding your emotions through the wonderful heirloom wholefood healing volumes shown above.
Food colors and children’s behavior
If you are a parent then you may be well aware of the impact of food colors and additives on children’s behavior, especially where there is a party involved. You may yourself suffer food intolerance symptoms or even chronic headaches as a result of food colors or food additives. Often parents will collect their child from a party only to have a hyperactive child on their hands. If the food reaction is not immediate, you can sometimes see the impact of food colors and food additives on children’s behavior the following day or so. You can thank food colors, additives and sugar for that. Often times, parents think that sugar is the only reason for their children’s behavior but this is not the case. While processed sugar is very bad for your body, food colors and food additives, including preservatives can have a detrimental impact on on how calm and reasonable children are.
I had to scoff when I read the label of a children’s fruit juice tetra pack recently, when it read that they had added food color. So tell me how a child that drinks the juice from a pack they cannot see into and through a straw that leads straight past their eyes into their mouth is going to be looking at the color of the juice? I am sure the food color was only added because the same juice is used for larger, clear container grocery lines. Even so, that shows a level of care or more, lack of care.
There have been many trials and studies carried out that clearly show that food colors do impact children’s behavior. So, if you would like happier, calmer children then I suggest you take a good look at the ingredient list of each product prior to purchase to make sure there are no food colors or food additives. Additive Alert: Your Guide to Safer Shopping contains a list that you can pop into your purse or wallet when shopping.
As a parent, your role can be made much easier if you choose to avoid food colors and food additives. You’ll benefit from this because your children will be calmer and happier and parenting will become much more enjoyable.
Food colors – the proof is in the pudding
The amount of food containing food colors is deplorable. It seems that food standard groups are happy to approve food colors as acceptable for many food manufacturers without good reason. Some food colors that are considered acceptable in one country are banned in another because some countries are aware of the dangers of adding food colors to grocery lines. Australia still permits some food colors under “safe levels” and acceptable daily intakes. According to Julie Eady who is the author of Additive Alert, Australian children are getting a higher dose of food colors than intended because these “safe levels” are not taking into consideration children’s weight.
The Food Standards Australia New Zealand have a set criteria for letting additives into the country however, the concern is that the testing and reporting is conducted by the manufacturer and not conducted independently. Further to this, it seems Australia is not leading the way in the ban on food colors that have been linked, in other countries, to hyperactivity and effects on children’s behavior. Tartrazine – E102 is particularly harmful.
If you or your children are suffering from food intolerance symptoms, leaky gut syndrome or food problems, then you may find that food colors in food have a more detrimental impact on your health or children’s behavior.
The UK has taken action to remove some food colors that we still permit in Australia. For more information on the food standards code in Australia, click here. The FDA website (Food and Drug Administration US) provides a list of additives and their purpose and in their writing of such, seem to justify the use of food colors and additives “with the consumer in mind”. I hope you will read this and form your own opinion as to whether we actually need many of these food colors or food additives put in foods that we consume.
Numerous articles have been written on the detrimental impact of food colors on children’s behavior. I have listed some below.
New York Times Article – Some Food Additives Raise Hyperactivity – study finds.
The Lancet Study – Food additives and hyperactive behaviour in 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children in the community: a randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial
Food Standards Agency UK – Agency revises advice on certain artificial colours
NCBI Website – Synthetic food coloring and behavior: a dose response effect in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, repeated-measures study.
I encourage you to take action to have food colors banned. In Australia, you can lodge a submission here.
On a positive note, ALDI Supermarkets are leading the way in Australia by removing some nasty food colors from their food range. You can read the article here ALDI Leads the way Thank you ALDI, our children will benefit from your action.
Tips for avoiding food colors
A few simple steps will help you minimize the food colors and additives that you and your family consume.
- If you are at a party and cake is handed out, just scrape the icing off the cake. You will find that many children avoid the icing anyway. Icing with food colors might look attractive but many children don’t eat it.
- If you are organizing a party, choose food that does not contain food colors. Make your own cookies two days before. Buy plain, potato chips instead of flavored ones. Avoid jelly and jelly products. Give fresh fruit platters.
- Instead of putting lollies with food colors in party bags, add a novelty gift such as a shaped note pad and pencil, balloon a home baked cookie or cookies from a grocer that do not contain food colors. Or, if you don’t wish for your child to have the party bag, take along your own and swap it, but make sure it is inviting.
- Give water at the party. You will be amazed how many children will be happy to drink it. Or next time you are at a party, listen to how many children ask for a drink of water; you will be surprised.
- If you really MUST buy soft drink, buy plain lemonade such a Schweppes. Most soft drink or soda pop, even plain flavor, has food colors added so always read the label. Also be aware that these are full of sugar and the alternative to purchase diet products is worse.
- Brighten up the party with streamers, balloons and napkins on the table.
- Make the food look attractive by using colorful plates instead of adding food colors to food to be consumed.
- For those suffering from food intolerance symptoms, consider using failsafe food.
- Take along your additive list from Additive Alert when you are shopping. Choose alternative products.
- Go through your pantry, look at the product you are using and list some alternatives on your shopping list. Remember, as this becomes habit, your shopping trips will become easier. I know this from personal experience.
- Educate your children. Teach them about food by telling them what is in it and what it may do to their body or the way they are feeling. My daughter knows that annatto causes her to get grumpy and she is happy to avoid it. Show your children some alternatives or ask their opinion. Letting them have their say provides them with empowerment and shows you trust them in their decisions.
- Avoid processed foods. Eat fresh fruit and vegetables where you can and your body will love you for it.
- Start having home made healthy smoothies if you have a sweet tooth or you want to give your children a treat.
- If you are going to someone’s place for dinner, take a plate of your own food and make them aware that your body does not cope with food colors and food additives. Of course it is important to state it in a diplomatic manner so as not to insult your host or hostess.
- Use fruit to decorate a Birthday cake. Substitute the processed cacao for raw cacao powder (see picture below) and buy Organic Raw Cacao Powder to use in your cake recipe. Raw cacao is highly nutritious unlike most products supplied at the grocer.
Food colors and additive book – A best seller
I urge you to look at the ingredient list of everything you buy and make a difference to your own health and that of your family by making healthy choices that do not include food additives or food colors.
We use this fabulous book on food additives, shown below, and it is extremely comprehensive and written by Australian author Julie Eady. I highly recommend you get your copy by clicking on this image below.
Hyperactive children can be that way because of the food they are eating or beverages they are consuming. Parents often go looking for techniques for modifying children’s behavior when in actual fact, all they need to do is change their food eating habits. Even natural colors can cause behavioral problems in children and toddlers. Such natural food colors are cochineal which is derived from crushed insects, Caramel colors which have nothing to do with the color of the food to which it is added and lastly, Annatto which is derived from the seed of the Annatto tree. These natural food colors can have an adverse impact on children’s behavior and health. Remember, just because something comes from nature, does not mean it is good for you.
By not purchasing products that have food colors you are sending a message to the manufacturers of these products. More importantly, you are refusing to put food colors into your children’s bodies and this is great for their health and well being. Your action can have an impact. You just need to make an active choice NOT to buy food with food colors added.Your News On Food brought to you by Eileen Baudinette Food and Health Commentator. © 2009 – 2012 thenewsonfood.com ———————–
I’m no medical expert and information contained on this blog is written through my own experience with the aim of furthering your education on health. It is your responsibility as to how you use this information and I cannot be held liable for any misinterpretation or misuse of the information provided.
Great stuff, Eileen
I always knew you were not just a pretty face (LOL)
Seriously though, I couldn’t agree with you more.
And I’m sure Don will love tou too.
Eileen Baudinette says
Ahhh, flattery will get you everywhere…or so they say. 😉
Thanks for reading my post.
Cherie Rasmussen says
Thank you Eileen for your great information.
These days I find grocery shopping a mine field as all the preservatives are numbers so how are we to know what number is what toxic or close to toxic ingredient we are feeding our family.
I am very glad there are people like you who care enough to inform us all. Great party tricks too and will be trying them soon.
.-= Cherie Rasmussen´s last blog ..Affiliate Marketing Forums – 6 Ways You Can Benefit =-.
Eileen Baudinette says
Thanks for stopping by Cherie,
Yes, it is a mine field but with knowledge and habit, it gets easier. What is even easier still is to stick with as much fresh fruit, vegetables and raw food that you can. That is the best way to avoid food colors and food additives.
Another fantastic blog post on a subject close to my heart. My children are very sensitive to colours, and even more so to preservatives, and I think your advice here is spot on.
People think children expect highly coloured and flavoured snacks at parties but often the quickest things to go at ours are the watermelon, grapes and strawberries. All natural and very popular and healthy.
Keep up the good work on getting the news out on food!
.-= Lizzy´s last blog ..Inspirational People – Anthony Robbins =-.
Eileen Baudinette says
Great to see another parent taking action on a subject that I am passionate about. Thanks for reading. 🙂
Sandra Sentance says
Thanks Eileen, yes there is a lot of preservatives in foods today, even in bread to keep it longer!
.-= Sandra Sentance´s last blog ..Time Management =-.
Eileen Baudinette says
Thanks for stopping by. Yes, the problem with bread is that they say “no preservatives” and yet they add vinegar as a preservative which is a problem for those who suffer from food intolerance symptoms because of the naturally occurring chemicals. We don’t buy commercial bread because most of it is fluff ‘n stuff. 🙂
Thanks for your comment. It is appreciated.
Roger OBrian says
What do green superfoods provide? They supply essential nutrients to your current diet, add on years to your life span, and also combat the signs of aging. There are many different superfoods but 3 of them are the most important green superfoods in terms of anti aging. What are they? Wheatgrass, Spirulina, and Chlorella.
There are many factors that cause cell damage in our body chemistry including outdoor pollution, environmental toxins, food preservatives, and even a majority of toxins. When our cells become damaged it can affect us both mentally and physically. This is because our body is not always able to completely remove the harmful toxins therefore the free radicals begin their destruction on the cells. You are probably aware that our skin is the biggest organ in our body but it’s also the very first to display any signs of aging including wrinkles and lines.
What is Chlorella? Chlorella is actually an amazing anti aging supplement that has been called ‘nature’s fountain of youth.’ Chlorella supplies a large amount of chlorophyll, an impressive antioxidant that applies itself to weighty metals and rids them from the body. Chlorella will help you feel and look younger but it will also enhance your memory and decrease brain damage. Chlorella is by far one of the best anti aging foods in the world.
What is Spirulina? It is blue-green algae that offers health benefits that aid in the anti aging process. Spirulina also provides a variety of nutrients found in the sun, water, and also plants.
The blue-green algae, Spirulina, is related to a vast range of both health and nutritional benefits. Spirulina comes in different forms such as pills, flakes, powders, and tablets. You can find it in practically any health food store. It is a very powerful antioxidant that helps decrease both mental and physical signs that accompany age. It is also one of the utmost important green superfoods.
At one time few had ever heard of Spirulina but nowadays many people are talking about it. That’s because it’s a great supplement when you want anti-aging results. You will start to see a younger you but also feel younger and find that you have more energy.
You might be familiar with wheatgrass, a baby wheat plant, because it is well known for offering health and anti aging benefits. Wheatgrass comes available in the form of a supplement or juice. You can find wheatgrass in smoothies also but in either form it is just as powerful and effective.
Those are not the only main green superfoods that offer marvelous anti aging benefits but they are three common ones. Many people today do not have diets that include the very important nutrients our bodies we need. This means we are lacking the proper amount of antioxidants our body needs to effectively remove any toxins which is one reason some people may appear to ‘age’ quicker than others.
By incorporating the three mentioned green superfoods; spirulina, wheatgrass, and chlorella, you can begin setting up your defensive line against aging. By doing so you can start looking younger and even feel younger in no time.
NOTE: I’ve dedicated my life to Educating Consumers on Natural, Organic, Supplements, Vitamins, Healthy Living, Natural Healing, Non-Genetically Modified, Non-Chemical Enhanced or anything we consume made from Un-Natural Sources. I’m asking anyone who reads my articles to post articles like it, or my articles on Great Blogs like this one to spread the word and help make people healthier. You can take credit for the articles, you can go to my Facebook Fan page and get information from there if you’d like or you can go to my store by clicking on my name above for information. I don’t mind if you use articles from my websites. The more we work together, the bigger the demand will be to grow more Natural and Organic Foods. We can’t beat big business and stop them from producing products that cause a vast majority of America’s Health problems because they’re after quanity and profits. Until they see the market shift and start losing money, they won’t change. That’s up to us and it’s time we demand better, safer, healthier supplements, vitamins, and food. We can show them, we the consumers are in control. That all starts with education and helping educate people who have not yet learned about these subjects.
Eileen Baudinette says
Wow. What a wonderful amount of information you have provided. There has been some debate as to the use of superfoods such as Spirulina but I am yet to do my own research on it and shall do an article on it at some stage too. You are completely correct in that we need to show big business that we are in control by the purchasing decisions we make. When we refuse to buy a product laden with additives or things that cause food intolerance symptoms to be exacerbated then the product will be left on the shelf and the manufacturer then needs to look at what they are doing. We can make them accountable through our own choices and actions. Thanks for your info Roger. Keep up the good work. 🙂
Shawn from Solving the IBS Puzzle says
Great information! I was was recently researching food additives that can cause IBS symptoms and happily found your site. I wanted to add that annatto, a common “natural” food dye and flavoring has been linked to IBS symptoms. And it’s in all kinds of foods! Marlene from ibsnomore.com has a site about it (I have no affilliation with her).
Thanks for the info.
Eileen Baudinette says
Thanks for visiting. It is always good to know that there are other people out there looking to make a positive impact on the lives of others by sharing information on food, food intolerance symptoms and what to avoid. Unfortunately there are way too many additives in our diet and the only way we can change this is by not buying products that contain them. Clean food is the way to go!!
Thanks for your comments.
Marlene Stein says
Irritable Bowel Syndrome(IBS); 60 Million People have it.
That’s one out of five in the US; so someone in your family has it and many of your friends have IBS. By its very nature it is a “closet disease” as no one wants to discuss their diarrhea. If someone you know is making excuses about not making plans ahead of time, misses things like work because of a stomach ache or doesn’t show up at the last minute, diarrhea could be running their life.
I was off gluten for over 30 years and during that time I was off lactose; both because of doctor’s recommendations. I felt better most of the time but I still had surprise attacks of IBS: Bloating, stomach pain and then that run to the bathroom with urgent diarrhea. For days after I was tired and lithargic.
I now eat gluten and lactose without any reactions as long as they don’t contain my “trigger food” – ANNATTO.
That’s right… All those years with a Celiac Disease diagnosis and lactose intolerance diagnosis and it was ANNATTO afterall.
Sugar-free Jello, some mustards, bottled salad dressings popcorn, etc., have ANNATTO yet they don’t have gluten or lactose so I at these products. So, while off lactose and gluten, I was eating ANNATTO and didn’t know that was giving me diarrhea.
To quickly find out if your problem is ANNATTO, for 72 hours omit ANNATTO from your diet. If, after that elimination diet you have a “normal” one, it’s probably ANNATTO causing your problem.
ANNATTO is organic as it is from a tree usually grown in tropical locales. It is a coloring agent.
ANNATTO makes cheese yellow, keeps light colored ice creams from turning grey, along with non-dairy creamers, and is used to make tamales red and gives chicken the reddish hue. You’ll find it in McDonald’s Premium Burger to give the beef a fresh red color. Be careful with Togo’s potato salad and all those delicious milk shakes everywhere. It’s not the lactose that may be your problem but, rather, it could be the ANNATTO.
Yale published an article “ANNATTO, Diet and Irritable Bowel Syndrome”. It’s my story and their ideas about ANNATTO.
So, just because the food is organic, don’t let it fool you.
Please visit my website. I am not selling anything; I am just trying to present the possibility that
ANNATTO might be the cause of your IBS.
And you can go to your physician but only to enlighten him. He/she most likely won’t have heard of ANNATTO. My husband is a retired Allergist and until I figured this out, he had never heard of ANNATTO.
http://WWW.IBSNOMORE.COM INFO@IBSNOMORE.COM is my email.
I would love to hear from you.
And, thank you Shawn for mentioning my website. I hope you left a comment.
Nothing to lose. Omit ANNATTO for just three days and you will know if that is your culprit.
Eileen Baudinette says
Thank you so much for taking the time to share your story. This will assist others who want to get well but are still searching for answers. We all need to remember that just because a product says it contains natural ingredients, does not mean it is good for us or that we will not have a reaction to it.
Stay well and hope to see you here again.
Great post Eileen! It’s sad but the FDA and their rules for what is acceptable in food and drugs are absolute jokes. There is a revolving door between the highest levels of the FDA and food/drug companies; yet they claim there is no conflict of interest when it comes to overseeing their old or future employers.
That is why informaiton like this is so important. What most people accept as normal or even healthy is usually horrible for you.
Eileen Baudinette says
The hope is that over time, enough people will make a positive change for the sake of their own health. Unfortunately, too many people need to get sick from food before they climb their way back up and out of that hole. Then, others go through life unaware of why they feel so tired or unwell. I aim to have a greater impact on society with food education so that from a younger age, we make more informed decisions.
Thanks for your comment.
Food colorings aren’t just the liquid that comes in a bottle or the color with numbers. Annatto is a food coloring from a tree in tropical regions. Paprika and carrageenan are also food colorings; the latter from seaweed. They are organic so don’t be fooled because it is not artificial. Tumeric is also organic.
The FDA requires but doesn’t monitor annatto being labeled. I don’t eat any imported cheese as it could have annatto. I don’t eat cheese unless from the Amish country or I have called to see if the company uses annatto. It could be that cheese is imported and relabeled and sold as domestic and could have annatto. I know imported rice noodles cause me IBS symptoms yet, the Chinese language doesn’t mention their word for annatto; my Chinese friend said.
Just because it is organic doesn’t mean it is okay. Bottom line, if you have IBS you have to be the one to uncover your cause. Just know it is something you are eating.
Thank you for providing information here. If just one more person finds out what is causing their IBS, it’s worth it.
At one time I was diagnosed with Gluten intolerance and another time Lactose intolerance. I eat both now as it was the annatto all along. I missed bagels and cream cheese all those years and making up for it now.
Eileen Baudinette says
Thank you for your continued input. 🙂 Yes, I agree that just because it is organic does not mean it is good for you. You only have to look at wines for that reason. Many organic wine companies still add sulphites to their wines. Even the sales people you talk to are not educated enough to know that organic does not mean completely clean.
The other problem with many cheeses is that they use animal rennet instead of vegetable rennet. Then, I always read the label to make sure they have not added other things, which is often the case. Cheese, like most produced foods, is not just “cheese”.
What you have provided is great information and gives us all an opportunity to learn more.
I believe that we should not have to live on a restricted diet all our lives. What that means though is to identify the problems and remove problem foods from our diet. Incorporate raw foods and reduce what we eat as cooked. Our bodies love us when we do that.
Baby Gates says
I totally agree.I see this all the time with my children.If something is colorful they want it,and if it’s plain…they don’t care about it.
Baby GatesÃ�Â´s last blog post ..Baby Gates
Eileen Baudinette says
Thanks for visiting. Substituting fruit for processed foods is a great way to still add colour without the artificial food colors. I also like to add interest by shaping food or creating the food into the first letter of my children’s names. Keeps it fun.
It’s great to see such good information on colorings. In England back in the early 80’s trying to point out to doctors that food, especially colorings, could cause problems was equivalent to an admittance of insanity. My then 2 year old son was seriously affected. Then we moved and had a new GP who had the same problem with his children, and he recommended a local homeopath as well as a paediatrician who was an expert on the problems of food intolerance and allergies. It was only then we started to make progress, despite having a very understanding son who co-operated fully. 25 years later the British government finally admitted that there was a real problem.
Eileen Baudinette says
Thanks for your input. Indeed it is sad that it can take years before any authorities would admit they mucked up and then, I am sure sometimes there is just a quiet “oops, let’s not tell the public” that goes on too. Hopefully more of us will wake up and smell the fresh greens instead of the rot on supermarket shelves. 🙂
Take care, Eileen.
We all know that children really get attracted with foods that is really colorful but, parents should be aware of it because some of that food coloring are harmful to our body. But then, thanks for posting. It was really a great stuff!
ReccaÃ�Â´s last blog post ..anti aging foods
Eileen Baudinette says
You are so right about the food colors being harmful to our body. It is often the parents that seem to feel that their children would not like the food if it is not bright. I challenge parents to find an alternative and see if there is any comment from their children as to what it looks like. I bet there is no comment. Thanks for stopping by and hope to see you here again soon.
Stay well, Eileen.