For centuries, manufacturers have used food coloring and dyes to make their products more appealing to the eye. One of the most commonly used food dyes is the synthetic red food dye. It is used to color a variety of products from soft drinks to candy to packaged foods.
While artificial food dyes are generally considered safe for consumption in small amounts, overconsumption of common red food dyes may lead to serious health complications like Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).
IBD incidences are rising rapidly in the United States, Canada, and in developing countries due to a dramatic “westernization” of lifestyle. This western diet involves high intake of food additives, fats, red meats, and sugar, and low intake of fibers, triggering chronic intestinal inflammation diseases like IBD, says a recent study.
What is Inflammatory Bowel Disease?
IBD is a chronic condition in which the digestive tract is inflamed and irritated. Symptoms for inflammatory bowel disease are
- Abdominal pain
- Weight loss
- Intestinal obstruction (life-threatening)
- Perforation (life-threatening)
What are the risk factors for IBD?
Inflammatory Bowel Disease is complex with many possible causes, including genetics, environmental factors, and lifestyle choices. Recent research has found that overconsumption of common red food dye may be a risk factor for IBD.
A study from McMaster University examined the link between common red food dye and IBD. Researchers used mice to test it and found that the mice that were given red food dye experienced increased inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, suggesting that red food dye may worsen IBD symptoms.
How to reduce your risk of IBD?
If you are concerned about the potential risks of overconsumption of common red food dye, there are some steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing IBD.
- First, try to limit your consumption of processed foods aka the Inflammatory Bowel Disease diet. Opt for fresh, whole foods whenever possible.
- Second, pay attention to the ingredients list on food labels. Many products contain red food dye, so it’s important to read the labels and avoid products that contain it.
- Choose a food dye that is naturally or organically created.
- Finally, if you are already suffering from IBD, it’s important to speak to your doctor about your dietary choices. Your doctor may be able to recommend dietary changes that can help reduce your risk of IBD.
A lot of common foods contain red dye and overconsumption of it may be linked to an increased risk of IBD. Be cautious of the symptoms and monitor yourself if you feel any abdominal pain, weight loss, diarrhea, or fatigue. Don’t ignore it until you get a life-threatening intestinal obstruction.
If you are concerned about the potential risks, it’s important to limit your consumption of processed foods and be aware of the ingredients listed on food labels. Additionally, if you are already suffering from IBD, it’s important to speak to your doctor about your dietary choices. Making these small changes can help reduce your risk of developing IBD.