Easter, the holiday of spring and renewal, is also the holiday of brightly colored eggs and candies. Today, millions of kids will gorge on sweets. And some, as a result, will start bouncing off the walls. It could be the sugar, but perhaps a sensitivity to artificial food dyes is the trigger. Yes, those bright colors that make everything look so much more appealing.
What you need to know:
An interesting summary on artificial colors recently appeared in, of all places, a design blog:
As designers, we know color is important. But when food is your medium, color can be powerful enough to influence taste—and affect health.
Artificial dyes have been used to color food for decades, giving us the unnaturally neon food we’ve grown to love. Without them, soft drinks would be clear, Cheetos would be beige, Froot Loops would just be Cheerios, and Easter eggs wouldn’t be nearly as much fun.
Besides making our food colorful, these artificial dyes—made up of tar derivatives, long-chain hydrocarbons, and other petrochemicals—have been linked to hyperactivity in children (although the FDA says evidence is inconclusive), and have even been tested to cure spinal injuries in lab rats. read more…
Here’s what they discovered about Red #40:
This azo dye was originally manufactured from coal tar, but is now mostly made from petroleum. It is banned in Denmark, Belgium, France, Switzerland, and Sweden. It was also included in UK’s voluntary phase-out in 2009, due to hyperactivity in children. Red No. 40 can be found in sweets like Twizzlers, soft drinks, condiments, and cosmetics. read more…
What to do at the supermarket:
Some grocery chains (Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s) do not carry products that are artificially colored. And almost all other stores have some candy options that are naturally colored.
(Hat tip to Maria for the link to the idsgn blog)