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Food coloring is a pigment or any substance that can color the food we eat or the drinks we drink, it can be in many forms like liquid, powder, paste and even gel. They’re used to make the orange color of oranges brighter and more consistent. And added to marshmallows to make them whiter in color.
Why do people add color to food? There could be many reasons for that:
There are many foods that contain its natural color and can make a variety of difference in food. Some of the most common natural food dyes are carotenoids, chlorophyll, anthocyanin, and turmeric:
Carotenoids have a red, yellow or orange color and the most well-known carotenoid is beta-carotene which gives sweet potatoes and pumpkins their color. Beta-carotene is often added to margarine and cheese to give it a more delicious color. Chlorophyll is a natural pigment found in all green plants. Mint- and lime-flavored foods like candy and ice cream are often colored using chlorophyll Anthocyanin’s give grapes, blueberries their deep purple, and blue colors, and they are often used to color water-based products like soft drinks and jelly. Turmeric is not only used as a spice but also as a pigment to turn foods an enjoyable deep yellow color as in mustard and other foods.
And there are many other food colors or specialized derivatives of these groups included:
Blue colors are especially rare but they can be found in spirulina.
In ancient times, natural ingredients like plant and herb extracts, and vegetable and fruit peelings were used to add rich color to foods for examples they were using carrots for orange color spinach for green color tomato for red color and more. The addition of stains to foods is thought to have occurred in Egyptian cities as early as 1500 BC when candy makers added natural extracts and wine to improve the products’ appearance.
With the onset of the industrial revolution, people became dependent on foods produced by others. Many synthesized dyes were easier and less costly to produce and were more in coloring properties when compared to naturally derived replacements. Lots of coloring agents were produced in the industries without confirming the harmfulness of those products which affect the life of the people eating these products in their foods. During the Industrial Age, the colorings of sweets with poisonous chemicals were particularly common so that the sweets would look more attractive to children. Until the middle of the nineteenth century, the colors used in cosmetics, textiles, drugs, and foods (whether poisonous or not) were of natural origin from animals, plants and minerals. In 1856, the first synthetic color, mauveine, was discovered accidentally by Sir William Henry Perkin, who was trying to form an anti-malaria drug. A new color industry was born and rose-pink, violet, as well as a range of blue and green colors quickly followed. These colors were used in many other industries, particularly the textile industry. For the growing food industry, the colors showed very popular and quickly found their way into a wide variety of foods. Several problems occurred from the over-excited use of colors by the new food industry. Artificial colors were not only being used to cover poor quality but allowed for fake foods to be sold as the real thing eventually confusing the purchaser.
Synthetic Food Colors, also known as Artificial Food Colors and are manufactured chemically and most commonly used stains in food. A color is likely natural if its origin is a plant, microbiological, animal or mineral. Whereas artificial colors were created in labs and sometimes unintentionally by chemists. This is because when natural food colors became too costly because of the cost of get-together and processing the materials used to make them synthetic dyes could be produced at little charge.
Artificial food coloring makes your foods more fascinating and desirable. While the safety of these dyes has been called into the issue. The disadvantages of using artificial food coloring seem to be greater than the advantages. The disadvantages may vary from the colors causing simple allergies to some heavy metallic colors that can be carcinogenic or cancer-causing. And more often than not even the safe food colors are used in extreme amounts to giving the food a nice color which may be harmful. Some of the artificial colors can even destroy the nutrients in the food because of their chemical composition. They can also cause many others like:
A small nervousness
Impaired concentration: worsening of an individual’s judgment and decreasing in his or her’s physical ability
Sudden mood swings: change in your mood
Hyperactive behavior: refers to the constant activity being easily distracted, inability to concentrate, aggressiveness and constant moving
Estrogen Enhancers: Sunset yellow (Yellow 6) and tartrazine (Yellow 5) have been shown to behave like estrogen in the human body. High level of estrogen in the body increases chances of breast cancer.
Contributes to ADHD Risk: Numerous investigations have established a significant link between artificial food dyes and hyperactivity in children. An Australian study examining food dyes effects on 200 children found that 75% of parents noticed an upgrading in behavior and attention once dyes were removed from their child’s diet.
Created From Petroleum: Originally made from coal tar food dyes now come from the whole fuel source. Many popular sports drinks, sodas, powdered mixes, and energy drinks contain petroleum resulting food colorings
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