Are Food Dyes Bad For Us?

Green is the Theme

So, I decided to enter a contest at by collecting and sharing naturally green recipes and in the course of doing that over the past week or so it kind of snowballed. I became curious about food dyes in general. Are they safe? Why are they added to foods? Who approves what dyes can be added to foods? You see where I’m going with this.

As you can imagine, googling food dyes in a variety of ways leaves you with millions of articles and reports. The nutrition nerd in me found it all fascinating and not in a good way and as someone that eats and is a parent I found it mind boggling that food dyes are approved at all.

I didn’t necessarily research in-depth everything. I go to resources I trust for information and when it comes down to it, if there is that much doubt and questioning about the safety of something we’re eating why risk it unnecessarily? If even a fraction of what I read is true then dyes should not be approved to be added to foods.

Just a glimpse of what I read:

Artificial food dyes are man-made in a lab with chemicals derived from petroleum (a crude oil product, which also happens to be used in gasoline, diesel fuel, asphalt, and tar).

Artificial food dyes require a warning label in other countries outside the US. <====== no typos in that statement

Artificial food dyes have been banned in countries like Norway and Austria (and are being phased out in the UK).

Artificial food dyes yellow 5 and Yellow 6 are contaminated with known carcinogens (a.k.a. an agent directly involved in causing cancer).

Artificial food dyes cause an increase in hyperactivity in children.

Artificial food dyes have a negative impact on children’s ability to learn.

Artificial food dyes have been linked to long-term health problems such as asthma, skin rashes, and migraines.

Artificial food dyes add absolutely no nutritional value to the foods we are eating and are solely used for aesthetic purposes only.

For more information on dyes that are added to our foods: Center For Science In the Public Interest Says Food Dyes Pose a Rainbow of Risks,  Finding and Avoiding Artificial Food Dyes and 7 Reasons I Hate Artificial Food Dyes

Naturally Green Recipes

The contest at was to create a #naturallygreen collection of recipes. Check out my collection…


And a few of my own naturally green recipes:
Chopped Green Salad. Nutritional Powerhouse in a Bowl.
Asian Broccoli Slaw
Nutrient Dense Green Monster Smoothie

And an all natural option for adding green color and nutrients, Benefits of Spirulina

Greens Collage

And for a little more green information ======> Health Benefits of Adding Green To Your Plate

On the Menu


Veggie Stir Fry with Quinoa
Herbilicious Quinoa
Raw Sprouted Salad
Stuffed Sweet Potato
Comfort Soup with Kale Croutons
Roasted Veggies with Quinoa
Taco Night

Carrot Salad
Heaven In A Bowl
Apple Crisp Salad
Homemade Granola with Blueberries


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  1. Thanks so much for posting this! My bf and I had a discussion about this the other day. I had to explain to him why dyes are not good for you. He didn’t believe me. Can’t wait to send him this link 😉

  2. So happy someone is clearing up all the confusion behind artificial dyes. Moral of the story, don’t use them! Plus nature gave us such beautiful green foods, why do we need to make artificial ones??

    thanks so much for linking up!

  3. This is scary stuff! It is so hard for me to understand why in our country food labeling is overly complicated and regulation is almost impossible. I wish we could get back to the basics…

    1. Me too Megan. I think we could if the almighty $$ wasn’t considered worth the risk. But, then again, companies wouldn’t produce it if people didn’t buy it. Ugh!

    1. Me too Samantha! And, if it’s included in a list of a million ingredients. No thank you!

  4. I cannot even begin to think of the number of things filled with dye from when I was a kid … even so-called ‘healthy’ foods. I am glad that we are slowly starting to see more and more things in their natural colors.

    Anyone remember red dyed pistachios? An entire gag from the Naked Gun movie would make no sense today. And that is a good thing!

    1. OMG…I remember them Michael! Red finger tips and all! Why dye them? Ugh! Can you tell I feel strongly about this 🙂

  5. I just have to shake my head. As a mom of little ones this frustrates me to no end. I find people are aware to some extent of the issues with food dyes as well as HFCS and Partially Hydrogenated oils but they still use them and give them to their kids. I am always baffled when someone asks if my kids can have Kool Aid, Capri Sun or HiC.

    1. Me too tara!! Why when there are so many great tasting healthier (and safer) alternatives. ugh!

    1. It is scary! And mind boggling how lenient american standards are with this kind of thing.

  6. I remember years ago (I was only about 8 so 36 years ago), my mom had a bad reaction after drinking some red KoolAid and it ended up being linked to the red dye. That has stuck with me even all these years and we try to limit or avoid dyes as much as possible.

  7. Funny, I just posted that I was going to make some “green” with food dye. *gasp* I know it’s terrible but I can’t help myself.

  8. As the mother of a son with epilepsy, we do not do food dyes if they are not natural. It is mind numbing to see what our food is doing to our brain and bodies. Your right, green is such an easy one to make with natural products, no reason to use the fake stuff.

  9. Green is the easiest color to get naturally. Maybe I’ll ad some spinach puree in my beer tomorrow… and pretend it’s healthy. Or maybe not 😛

  10. Great post! We used so many food dyes growing up, and I never thought about it until a few years ago! Now I’m into natural dyes – putting beets in things like cookies to make them “red velvet,” using spinach/ spirulina/ chlorella to make smoothies/ mashed cauliflower/ etc. green, and more! So fun to experiment!

    1. Love the color when I add a beet LOL I get excited about natural bright colors in a recipe! #nuritionnerd 🙂

  11. I hope we soon catch up! It’s frustrating that most of us have no idea that food dyes can have so many negative side effects. We avoid them, too!

    1. It’s insane that we need to have such a hope. So many companies know but weigh the risk against profits. Profits will win every time. Too cynical?

  12. Interesting topic Jill, and something I had not thought about before. I do not use food dyes often….but I guess i never really thought about it, and I am pretty snobby about products that put nasty chemicals into my body.

    It is almost impossible to find food dyes at home in England, and Nestle (I think) were actually forced to take out blue smarties (like m&ms) for years as they were thought to be dangerous to children. I am not sure how they eventually came back, but they had a really funny commercial about it, thats all I remember.

    I definitely will be more aware of this from now on!

    1. Hi Tina, the US went through the same thing but somehow it comes back. Profits must have dropped. I think it all comes down to the mighty $. Too cynical?

  13. do you care if i link this tomorrow? totally sharing good green recipes and love your food dye article!

  14. I was surprised when I was in Germany a few weeks ago and saw menu items marked if they had dyes or preservatives. I’ll take my green in lettuce, broccoli and avocado!

  15. We’ve got the same thing on the brain today! I definitely steer clear of food dyes. Yuck! If other countries require a warning label, why don’t they in the U.S.? No thanks!

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