How to be a (artificial) colour expert!

19 Jan How to be a (artificial) colour expert!

As parents, we can be quick to blame sugar for fuelling a child’s bad behaviour. But there could be another culprit, one that’s widely overlooked. Artificial colours have been linked to behavioural changes in some people, especially children, as well as allergic reactions and a host of other undesirable effects. Reports suggest that red and blue artificial colours most commonly cause adverse reactions, but are not limited to only these dyes, nor do reactions occur for everyone.

Synthetic colouring can be quite ubiquitous and are even found in foods considered “healthy” such as yogurt and fibre-rich breakfast cereals, as well as some nutritional supplements and pharmaceutical drugs. So it can be quite difficult logistically to remove them all from your diet.


If someone in your family is experiencing hypersensitivity symptoms that have been linked to artificial colours, it might be beneficial to run elimination testing for all and/or individual additives. We have compiled a list to help you make an informed decision on what comes into your household. The following have been associated with adverse effects; you may want to limit or avoid these altogether:


  • 102 Tartrazine
  • 104 Quinoline Yellow
  • 110 Sunset Yellow
  • 122 Azorubine, Carmoisine
  • 123 Amaranth
  • 124 Ponceau, Brilliant Scarlet
  • 127 Erythrosine
  • 129 Allura Red
  • 132 Indigotine
  • 133 Brilliant Blue
  • 142 Green S
  • 143 Fast Green FCF
  • 151 Brilliant Black
  • 155 Brown HT


Natural dye use in foods and beverages has been skyrocketing in recent times, thanks, in part, to consumer concern over artificial colours. Look for products that contain these natural dyes:


  • Beet juice
  • Beta-carotene
  • Grape skin extract
  • Paprika oleoresin
  • Fruit and vegetable juices
  • Saffron
  • Turmeric


Generally, it’s a good idea to monitor your family’s artificial additive intake and watch out for any possible reactions to these substances. Elimination testing can help to pinpoint the suspected additive to the symptoms, so you know which colour additives to avoid. As a rule, it doesn’t hurt to replace as many artificial colour additives with as many natural ones as you can.



You may find more useful information regarding artificial colours and food additives at the following websites:



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