Foods To Dye For

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Healthy Food Information On Food Dyes

Okay, I have to admit it, on the whole I think we as Americans think we’re smarter than the rest of the world. But if that’s so, why are we so often lagging behind “food reform” in comparison with European countries for instance?

And this particular instance is dyes. As in, all the dyes in our food. As in, did you know that Americans consume FIVE TIMES as much dye as we did just 30 years ago?

While the European Parliament approved a warning last summer for packages of foods that contain any one of six synthetic food dyes, “May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children,” the FDA is still insisting there is no evidence that dyes impair children’s behavior.

That begs the question of whether the FDA just has it’s head stuck in the proverbial sand, or if perhaps too many pockets are being lined from big companies who want to keep the dye in their food products.

Why Dye?

Of course the next question is, “Why is there dye in our food in the first place?”

The answer is, “To make the food look good!” Or at least, that’s what the companies using it think. And in some cases, they have a point. How many people would like margarine, for example, if it came in its’ whitish colored original state as opposed to being dyed yellow so it looks like butter? If it didn’t look like butter, who’d want to eat it? Nobody accused the food companies of being stupid. Unethical perhaps, but not stupid.

And Americans are ingesting dyes in all sorts of foods like Frito-Lay Hint Of Lime Tostitos, McDonald’s strawberry sundaes, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, and yes, even Yoplait yogurt. I mean, really, isn’t yogurt supposed to be a health food?

It Gets Worse

But hang on, here’s the real kicker. The British arms of several food companies from here in the states, such as General Mills, Kellogg, Kraft, Mars, and McDonald’s, use few or NO dyes in the foods they sell there.

Why? Because Europeans don’t like synthetic ingredients. (They don’t like genetically modified ingredients either, but that’s another story.)

So while we’ve got foods to dye for, they’re coloring their foods with natural stuff like beet juice in their Yoplait Light Red Raspberry yogurt. And a McDonald’s strawberry sundae in Britain has gasp! REAL strawberries as opposed to the red food dye we get in the US.

Hope For More Natural Food

Fortunately, the trend may be changing even here. For instance, Yoplait does have a raspberry yogurt without the dye here, that being Yoplait Original Red Raspberry. And though I wouldn’t exactly call this a health food, Kraft has an Organic Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese that is free of the yellow dyes used in their “regular” boxes of Macaroni & Cheese.

What we need is more food and less chemicals.


  1. Smarter than the rest of the world…

    hahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaa hhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaahahahahahaha

    Ahem. Ok. Regaining my composure.

    I frequent a food board. Last week someone said, “…what the US has done to us.” Done to us? If consumers stop buying all of this artificially degraded (the industry uses the word enhanced but that’s a lie) food there wouldn’t be a call for it and it would stop being produced. It’s time to put our collective feet down HARD and demand real, whole, nutritious food.

  2. The closest that could come to being accurate is to say “what the government has done to us” with allowing sneaky labeling, etc. However, you nailed it on the head. The bottom line is if people didn’t buy the stuff, they’d quit making it. The more I research stuff for this blog, the more it’s painfully apparent that the food industry is messing with our health BIG time, and we’re allowing it in large part because we’re so accustomed to instant food out of cans and boxes, instead of “real” food.

  3. Janet Wilson says:

    Really great quality in this post on health food information.
    I am so sick of poorly written sites and am glad I found your article today.

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