Wellness for the Family: Artificial vs. Natural Food Dyes

Purple peeps, fruity pebbles and Jell-O.  

There’s a reason these foods are so brightly colored.

Registered Dietician Grace Derocha, with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, says artificial food dyes can actually make you sick.

A rainbow of color makes many foods look good, but many are not good for you.

“You have to be careful because we have learned some people have adverse reactions from food dyes,” Derocha says. “They can get headaches, they can get flushed. They can have more dramatic and serious symptoms. Diarrhea. Hives. Rashes.”

But some processed food is made with natural dyes. Derocha used rainbow goldfish as an example.

“There are good options,” she says. “There are companies trying to do better. So these rainbow goldfish, you would think that they would have (artificial) food dye, but they don’t. They are using turmeric, beet juice, watermelon juice.”

Derocha says picking foods with natural dyes is better for you even if you aren’t someone who has adverse health reactions to food dyes.

“Obviously when we are talking about any additives, preservatives, or dyes, you could potentially not absorb nutrition as efficiently,” she says. “It’s bad for your gut health…So anything that is foreign to our body, could be a detriment to how we absorb nutrition.”

For more recipes and health and wellness tips, visit AHealthierMichigan.org.

Categories: the four, Wellness for the Family