Saturday, January 7, 2012

Dye? WHY??

Most of the time dyes are pretty obvious when you seen them: 

Sour Patch Kids? check. 
Kraft mac n cheese? check. :(
Sunkist orange soda? check.
Red Vines? check.

All of these brightly beautiful colored items contain artificial dyes, you can tell just by looking at them. However, there are foods and products out there that you would never think contained dye and you have to do a little research. key word, "little", it's so easy, simply turn the packaging over and READ.

Here are the top 5 things I was surprised to find artificial dyes in:

1. Advil Liquid Gels

This actually just came to me yesterday when I realized I was all out (which I never thought would happen, I buy the costco pack). I did a little googling and I guess I'll have to shop elsewhere to find a more natural version since they contain FD&C Green No. 3 and pharmaceutical ink (which is titanium dioxide, propylene glycol, methyl alcohol, and isopropanol; mmm sounds healthy...)

Check all of your medicines and vitamins, especially children's that are commonly dyed to make them more appealing. Many name brand companies now offer "dye free" varieties.

2. EOS Shaving Cream

I literally just bought this a couple months ago in the vanilla scent. It looks like a somewhat natural product and states that its paraben free, I never even thought twice about needing to check the ingredients. While in the shower, the bottle was turned around and two dirty little words caught my eye: Red 40 and Yellow 6. The shaving cream does have a tan tinge to it, but it certainly doesn't look dyed. Even their sensitive skin/fragrance free version is dyed, rude!

3. Microwavable Popcorn
Now that I see it, it's pretty obvious that there's dye in there, but it was not always obvious to me. We're trained to think of butter as yellow, but we never really think why. Well, butter is yellow based on a carotene eaten in grass fed cows, this can vary based on the seasons or types of butter you buy (irish, sweet cream, etc). Natural butter may be yellow or white. If you are not shopping at a natural foods store, check the ingredients of your butter and microwavable popcorn for artificial dyes.

4. Oranges

Yep, good ole fashioned oranges. Just like Americans expect their butter to be yellow, they expect their oranges to be a perfectly bright uniform shade of orange. If you are not buying organic oranges or oranges from a natural foods store like Whole Foods or Trader Joe's, you could very well be buying oranges that have been injected with artificial coloring to make them more appealing to consumers. They do the same thing with cherries. Processed foods I get, but I never expected a whole food to be tampered with. I'm disgusted with what the FDA lets go on in this country.

5. Salad Dressing

With the start of the new year, I'm sure people have been chowing down on salads. Salads can generally be pretty healthy, except when you slather them with dyes! Brands to watch out for: Ken's, Lite House, Kraft, and Wishbone. Pay extra attention to colored dressings like thousand island, catalina, french, red wine vinaigrettes, raspberry vinaigrettes, etc. They all may contain Red 40.

I feel like I'm on a roll and want to do a list of ten!! But I'll spare you all, and just give you a short list of advice for shopping dye free:

  • Organic products will not contain artificial colors as well as other artificial ingredients
  • Stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe's are committed to selling items without artificial colors and flavors
  • Pay extra attention to canned goods (pickles, canned veggies & fruits) and frozen foods, they are generally very processed and cheaply made using dyes (...think blueberry Eggos)
  • Cutting dyes out of your life is a great way to start eating healthier as a whole because majority of foods that contain dyes are not the best for you and could also contain other artificial ingredients and high fructose corn syrup

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