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How Food Coloring Affects The Body

841 words - 4 pages

Exposure to food colorants occurs during a majority of the meals that people consume every day, and these colorants can have certain effects on the human body. Many consumers do not show signs of being affected by food colorants; however, some specific diseases and disorders, such as ADHD, can be aggravated by colorants in addition to general ailments such as nausea, headaches, and irritability (Walford, 1984). Both natural and synthetic colorants can cause reactions, and approximately fifty years ago strict regulations on color additives and their certification were implemented due to different studies on colorants and several cases of severe allergic reactions (Vargas & Lopez, 2003). ...view middle of the document...

In fact, a decrease in the activity of mutagens has been observed due to a natural carotenoid called canthaxanthin (orange/pink), demonstrating that there are some colorants that have beneficial effects in the body (Vargas & Lopez, 2003).
A specific type of reaction to food colorants that has captured the attention of scientists is hyperactivity, or the exacerbation of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, commonly referred to as ADHD (Eigenmann & Haenggeli, 2004). Ten percent of children are diagnosed with ADHD, and multiple studies of the effect of food additives on hyperactivity have been conducted but report differing results (Eigenmann & Haenggeli, 2004). For example, an experiment conducted by Belinda Bateman demonstrated that hyperactivity in children decreases when they consume a diet void of food colorants; however, Eigenmann & Haenggeli (2004) found that these results were not significant enough to merit a change in diet because the risk of additional health problems increases. Another study focusing on the effects of a colorant called tartrazine (lemon yellow) was performed by Rowe & Rowe (1994), determining that tartrazine influences hyperactive behavior in children. Symptoms such as restlessness, irritability, and sleep depravity were some of the effects of tartrazine ingestion, yet because the sample size of the experiment was small, extrapolation of the data to the entire population was not appropriate (Rowe & Rowe, 1994). Therefore, even though there is evidence of food colorants aggravating ADHD symptoms, there is controversy as to whether or not this evidence is significant enough to be acted upon.
In the end, food colorants can cause both...

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