It is estimated that nearly 15 million pounds of different types of food additives and coloring are used in the United States per year.
That number is five times higher than 65 years ago and people are concerned. Recent years have shown an explosion of research focusing on the link between synthetic types of food additives, such as dyes and artificial flavorings, with conditions, such as hyperactivity, in children.
Recent studies have proven that artificial coloring and food flavoring is harmful, causing a number of symptoms and conditions ranging from headaches to severe brain trauma. This doesn’t bode well for anyone, particularly children, who are the most likely to suffer from these symptoms.
There’s a long history of humans dying their foods and adding ‘natural‘ flavors to make our meals more appetizing. However, modern technology has made this innocuous task into something far more sinister.
With spikes in food allergies, increases in ADHD diagnosis, and overall poor health running rampant among the nation, it’s time to take a closer look at the exact nature of synthetic types of food additives.
What is synthetic coloring?
Artificial food dyes aren’t anything new. In fact, humans have been enhancing the color of our food for centuries. Egyptian cities, nearly 3,000 years ago, would add the wine and other natural extracts to enhance the appearance of candy.
Of course, the Egyptians used more natural food colorants such as carotenoids, chlorophyll, and turmeric to dye their food, unlike today.
Now, food colorants are made from petroleum and can be found in everything from Jell-O to potato chips to soft drinks. Most foods found in the supermarket today probably contain one of the numerous types of food additives and coloring.
In fact, most people would be surprised to find that synthetic food coloring can be found in a number of foods they wouldn’t think would need enhanced coloring; foods like pickles. While naturally green as cucumbers, they are submerged in jars of a liquid filled with yellow dyes.
These dyes, such as Yellow #5 and Yellow #6, have been proven to cause ADHD and can damage an important part of human DNA known as mitochondria.
Additionally, caramel coloring added to various foods such as coffee, soft drinks, and salad dressings, is potentially carcinogenic, which is certainly unhealthy.
Even some salmon use artificial food coloring. While wild salmon maintains its pink hue, farmed salmon is a different story altogether. Because farmed salmon consists of a diet of feed pellets, their flesh is beige, not pink. To make up for this anomaly, farmers use dyes added to the fish feed to change the color from the inside.
What is artificial flavoring?
Artificial flavoring serves a similar purpose as synthetic coloring. It is one of the types of food additives that enhance food. After food is processed, it loses a significant amount of flavor. Adding artificial flavors either enhances the natural flavor within a piece of food or makes something taste like grapes, for example, without using real grapes.
Companies have proprietary patents over their chemical flavorings, and keeping the recipe secret is a fundamental industry practice. In fact, this secrecy has bred a multi-billion dollar industry as companies fight to capitalize on their flavor formulas before their competitors have the chance.
Consequently, this means the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t require companies to disclose all the ingredients in their flavor formulas. Which means that many chemicals are being used that companies simply label, “artificial flavors,” without much else.
Known to cause health issues, such as seizures and dizziness, health advocates are pressing companies to abandon the use of artificial types of food additives. While there has been some pushback from some food companies, industry leaders are finally taking a stand and abandoning the use of both artificial flavors and colors.
In conjunction with Kraft and Nestle, General Mills recently announced they would discontinue the use of both artificial colors and flavors from their entire cereal line.
The Need for Healthy and Natural Foods
Thankfully, more and more people are becoming health conscious. Natural food products are finding their way to the markets at a rapid rate. Additionally, people are attempting to prevent illnesses by loading up on vitamins. Most likely because processed foods lack proper nutrients, gummy vitamins are becoming a popular option for both men and women.
Considering the chemical nature of artificial types of food additives, there’s little wonder why people are moving towards a healthier and more natural diet. The health costs of sticking with a chemically enhanced diet are too high. Sadly, it’s difficult to completely cut processed foods from our lives.
Processed foods have their benefits. Their altered state makes them safer from bacteria and increases their shelf life. In fact, 70 percent of what we eat is processed. This means eating a natural and healthy diet takes time, patience, and determination. It’s not impossible, but it is challenging.
Not only are vitamins a great way to improve boost an immune system, but they also enhance the natural and healthy diet that many wish to pursue.