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Artificial Food Dye: To Dye For?

Have you ever caught yourself strolling down the produce aisle and being blinded by the brightest and juiciest looking oranges? Chances are, you are looking at artificial dye.

By: Emma Wolman

Artificial dye is used in many food items such as cheese-flavored chips, soda, yogurt, cereal, and even the coating of fruits and vegetables. Those seemingly healthy pickles that you think are just pickled cucumbers probably contain Yellow 5. The most common food dyes are Red 40, Blue 1, and Yellow 5. They are specifically used to catch customers' attention by making products look fresh.

Though appealing to the eye, these artificial colors are best kept outside the body. Synthetic dyes are linked to cancer, inflammation, and neurobehavioral disorders like ADHD. In addition, since the molecules of artificial colorants are tiny and can bond to body proteins, the immune system has trouble protecting the body from them. For these reasons, countries like Britain have banned these colorants and utilized plant-based colors. For instance, pumpkin and carrot extracts replace Red 40 and Yellow 6, respectively.

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