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Small Change of the Day: Eliminate Artificial Colors from Your Diet

Artificial Color and Artificial DyesSmall changes really add up to make a big difference in one’s health and well-being. Every week I provide one of my favorite small changes for you to incorporate into your life.

Today’s change: Eliminate Artificial Colors from Your Diet

As I stood in the grocery store check-out line this past weekend, I was tempted by a bag of peanut M&Ms. Although this is not a normal indulgence for me, I am chalking it up to my current “condition” of pregnancy. I picked up the package and started reading the ingredients. Not far after “milk chocolate” – yellow 6 lake, yellow 5 lake, blue 2, blue 1, red 40, yellow 6, yellow 5, blue 1 lake, blue 2 lake and red 40 lake, stared back at me. I put the Peanut M&Ms back, paid, and left without any artificial colors making their way into my grocery bags.

Peanut M&Ms might seem to be an obvious contender for artificial coloring, but many of our foods have them. Although there are many products that seem like obvious culprits, such as candy, sport drinks and soda, artificial colors are often found in less obvious foods as well, including:

  • Cheese
  • Jarred Cherries
  • Fruit Cocktail
  • Fruit Drinks
  • Meat products

Why should this be one of your small changes? Artificial colors, in short, are synthetic dyes and chemical compounds made from coal-tar derivatives to enhance the color of food. Read: they are man-made and unnatural to the food. Why is this bad? Well, for starters, they are linked to allergic reactions, fatigue, asthma, skin rashes, hyperactivity, and headaches. And, if you’re a parent, you might want to know that they can cause or contribute to hyperactivity, ADHD, ADD, visual and learning disorders, and nerve damage in children. And if that isn’t enough to steer you clear, they are also suspected of being toxic or carcinogenic, and linked with cancer.

To make this change, read ingredient lists on any and all packaged foods. If the food contains any “color” ingredients, such as some of the ones listed above, don’t buy it or eat it.

52 Small ChangesWant more small changes to live healthier and happier? 52 Small Changes: One Year to a Happier, Healthier You, is an easy to follow, week-by-week guide to healthy change. Get it now at

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Posted in Brett's Blog, Family Health, Nutrition, Small Changes Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,