Artificial colors do not occur in nature. Many are made from coal tar and can contain up to ten parts per million of arsenic and lead and still be approved by the FDA. Still they make food attractive. Babies and kids like brightly colored foods and it is easy for them to want these foods more than things that are healthier for them because they tend to be motivated to put things in their mouth that have visual appeal.
Still foods with artificial colors are terrible to feed any member of your family. They can cause allergic reactions, hyperactivity and ADD in children, may contribute to visual and learning disorders or cause nerve damage. The use of coloring in products normally indicates that other natural ingredients that may contain the color, like oranges, have not been used.
Here is a list of the worst coloring agents –
Blue #1, found in baked goods, candy, and soft drinks, has been shown to damage the chromosomes in a cell's nucleus and cause retardation in both kids and adults. Stay away from giving your kids those popsicles or Freezies that have this blue coloring. Jell-O brand products also contain it.
Blue #2, which is found in candy, may cause brain tumors.
Citrus Red #1 is sprayed on green oranges to make them look ripe so even if you are making juice or puree for your baby you could be giving him or her poisonous chemical additive that causes cancer. Wash and peel the skin off citrus fruit to be safe.
Citrus Red #2, used to color the skins of some Florida oranges, can cause cancer if the peel is eaten.
Red #3 is often added to canned cherry pie filling, maraschino cherries, baked goods and ice cream. Studies have linked this dye to nerve damage and to thyroid cancer.
Red #40 is found in soda, candy, gelatin desserts, pastry, pet food, and sausage, and is a suspected carcinogen. Be careful when serving Baby Jello.
Yellow #5 is the second most widely used colorant, and it contributes to behavioral disturbances in children, and can cause allergic reactions. It is found in gelatin desserts and baked goods.
Yellow #6 can cause tumors in the adrenal glands and kidneys. It is found in beverages, sausage, baked goods, candy, and gelatin.
If you want healthy kids, with good memories and attention spans that are happy and disease free then make sure you are reading labels.