What are food dyes?

Food Dyes are commonly utilized to put the essence of brightness in the appearance of foods. They also have more benefits than natural colorings. Food dyes are majorly used in brightening the colors of soft drinks, bakery items, and candies.

They are also found in the ingredients of pickles, salad dressings, smoked, salmon, and certain medications. The consumption of artificial food dyes had been incredibly increased by 500% in the past 50 years. If the consumer report is taken into account, children hold the highest percentage of consumption.

There are rumors and news roaming around in communities, and different educational societies that they are the initiators of most of the diseases, namely allergies, hyperactivity in abnormal children, and if worse, cancer as well.

Let’s not fantasize about the world of food dyes, it is very vast and dense, the reality is different from what we hear and see. Everyone out there has different opinions regarding food dyes. I will clear out all the vague info that you are hearing here in this article.

What Are Food Dyes?

Everything that is artificially made is composed of chemical substances, so are food dyes. They are made by the blending of different chemical substances to magnify the looks of food by providing it with artificial colors.

People have been fond of and using them for centuries, and the history is deep. But what we know is it was invented in 1856 utilizing coal tar. But everything evolves into a unique and more effective thing by going through efficient processes, so did food dyes. Now they are manufactured with the help of petroleum.

People have tried a plethora of artificial food colorings, they have been made, tested, experimented, failed, and succeeded, not a number of them, but some. Many of the food dyes turned out to possess toxic ingredients, making them harmful. This way only a few of them are still in use which is non-toxic and are not a threat to human health.

Testing of Food Dyes

Many food industries have set their priorities for artificial food dyes, rather than natural colorings, namely, beet extract, and beta cone, as they have the tendency to create more dazzling and stimulating tones of colors.

As discussed before there are some controversies regarding artificial food dyes, taking the safety of human health into account. But out of many people literally, some of them are aware that when a food dye is manufactured it goes through a proper testing procedure to check the intensity of toxicity in the dyes, in animal studies.

Well, the researches are not completed yet, and for those that have been reached a conclusion, it does not satisfy everyone out there, as some of the food dyes that have been researched are barred in one country and allowed for consumption in another. This thing leaves people in confusion.

Should You Avoid Food Dyes?

The most threatening rumor that is traveling around ages is that food dyes cause cancer. But rumors don’t have a piece of evidence in general, unfortunately here too, to support this rumor the pieces of evidence are quite fragile. The researches that are conducted for this specific reason is not providing people with a conclusion stating that food dyes cause cancer.

Some of the food dyes have components that may cause allergic reactions for some people because of their sensitivity issues. If you are allergic to some chemical components then you really should not consume them, otherwise, there is no reason you would eliminate them from your diet.

The strongest claim that has ever been brought up concerning food dyes is that they cause hyperactivity in, sensitive or I might say abnormal children, mostly. Numerous researches have stated that food colorings enhance restlessness in both ADHD and non-ADHD kids, however, some kids tend to be more susceptible than many others.

Hyper activeness and restlessness are factors that should be taken into account, if you come across any situation where you encounter these factors in your child, eliminating food dyes from their diet can be helpful to you.

As far as nutritional benefits are concerned there are no such nutrition found in food dyes that may be helpful for your health, in any way. Their sole purpose is to enhance the brightness of the food colors and make them more vibrant.

Why Consume Artificial Dyes?

The FDA has approved seven synthetic food colorings for widespread use in food. These dyes can be produced using different kinds of chemical compounds. There is no barriers to the range of colors that can be produced in laboratories. The List is mentioned below:





Molecular Formula


Blue No. 1

Brilliant Blue FCF




Blue No. 2





Green No. 3

Fast Green FCF




Red No. 3





Red No. 40

Allura Red AC




Yellow No. 5





Yellow No. 6

Sunset Yellow FCF



Types of Food Colorings

Initially, there are two types of food dyes:

1. Natural food colorings

Natural food colorings can be difficult to find, but an online search is all it takes to order them quickly. The different colors come from plant sources, and you won’t find any glycerin or corn syrup in them. They are great for those with an allergy to synthetic dyes.

2. Powdered dye

These kind of food dyes are manufactured with the help of synthetic coloring, corn syrup, and glycerin, with no hints of water. They come in various packaging, considerably jars, in the form of powder. You can effectively use it in your meals.

Difference between Natural Food Colorings and Artificial Food Dyes


Natural Food Colorings

Artificial Food Dyes


Natural Food Dyes are made using plants, minerals, vegetable extractions, and animals too.

Artificial Food Dyes are human made and are composed of different chemical substances.


They are often expensive, and can also affect the taste of the food you are including it in.

They are not very expensive and do not affect the taste of the food, you are including it in.


They do not require any kind of certification from institutes like, FDA.

Artificial food dyes need certification before their supply to the market, by FDA.


They do not possess any kind of side effects

They might affect children, with hyperactivity and restlessness.


They can be readily added to foods.

They cannot be added to foods, before sample testing by FDA.


The easiest way to minimize an adverse sensitivity is to prevent any meals containing the allergens. However, complete prevention is simpler than it sounds. Colors can lurk in meals you wouldn’t think to find in. They may even be present in some medications and vitamins.

You will have to become a tag researcher, attentively checking the list of ingredients on every item you purchase. If you are unsure whether a particular product or medication includes the color, ask the supplier or completely skip it.

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