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Health Complications of Cinsumers Due to Synthetic Colourants

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Health complications of cinsumers due to synthetic colourants


Synthetic colourants are widely used in food to entice our senses however the bad press regarding these compounds are increasing with many highlighting the dangers it will cause to the consumers’ health. With all the negatives regarding the issue, what are the physiological changes caused by synthetic colourants to consumers? Oyelakin (2015) noted that their research have shown the colourants being tested induced cancer as well as allergic reactions. Furthermore, Mahfouz & Moussa (2015) found that rats have shown to cause organ failure after conducting tests using synthetic colourants. Synthetic colourants in food has shown that it can cause erratic behaviour after children were diagnosed with ADHD (Eagle 2014). Bell (2014) found that children are vulnerable to  toxicological effects due to the excessive consumption of synthetic colourants in food.  Carocho (2014) conducted a study that weighs the benefits and dangers of natural and synthetic food additives. The bibliography shall explore the physiological effects of synthetic colourants on people and experiments conducted on animals which might be life threatening.

Keywords: Cancer, ADHD, Allergic reactions, Organ Failure, Toxicological effects

Mahfouz ME, Moussa EA (2015) The Impact of Curcumin Administration on the Food Colouring Sunset Yellow-Induced Damage in Testes and Liver of Male Rat: Gene Expression and Ultrastructural Studies, The Egyptian Journal of Experimental Biology (Zoology) 11, 43-60

Synthetic colourants are used to maintain the texture and freshness of food but there have been news that this is endangering the health of children. The research carried out is to determine if there is any damage done to rats using sunset yellow. The rats were fed with sunset yellow and curcumin at different concentrations. The rats fed with sunset yellow showed slight damage to the testes and liver but significant damage to both organs at higher concentrations of colourants (Sunset Yellow-curcumin II) after showing significant difference of 0.04 (p< 0.05). The extent of damage to the testes is concentration dependent on sunset-yellow and curcumin and the colourants greatly affected the liver function of rats. The results have shown that the synthetic colourants does induce damage to the organs.

I find the article really interesting because the experiment was done extensively with statistical results which are reliable as well as figures with the condition of the liver that showed the extent of the damage so it was a interesting read. 4/5

Oyelakin O, Jaiteh L, Salisu MA, Adjivon A, (2015) An Investigation of the Health Hazards of Some of the Chemical Content of the Powdered Juice Sold in the Gambia, African Journal of Chemical Education 5, 2-12

Powdered juice is a popular beverage in Gambia, Africa because of its cheap price. However, these small packets contain high additives. Research was carried out to determine if these drinks will cause health problems to the people purchasing them. Researchers went around the urban area of Gambia (the Kombos) to list the powdered juices sold in shops. Ingredients for the juices were researched online based on negative side effects and toxicological effects of these chemical ingredients. Some of the synthetic colourings in the juices are banned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as well as in some countries. The results showed that sunset yellow can causes allergic reactions and reactions like urticarial (skin rashes) asthma and cancer. The research concluded that the juices cause asthma and cancer due to these banned synthetic colourants.

This article was unique considering the study was carried out by determining the types of juices sold which shows the results only apply for the people staying around the area because the supply of juices were only within their area. As well as the results was only based on research of the additives in the juices so an actual experiment was never really carried out therefore it is not as reliable considering their results are only based on claims. 2/5

Eagle K (2014) ADHD Impacted by sulfotransferase (SULTIA) inhibition from artificial food colors and plant based foods, Physiology & Behaviour 135, 174-179

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a disease that will cause behaviour problems and learning difficulties to children. A research was conducted to determine the relationship between ADHD and synthetic colors. Five reviews based on clinical studies about food colors and ADHD, from 2010 or later, were collected where two of the studies were rejected due to irrelevance on the variables. The results showed the erratic behaviour didn’t improve with the addition of food colors but the children showed more hyperactivity based on two-sample t-test which showed  the mean drop of 0.38 was significant (t = 2.96, p < 0.01), therefore implying that the placebo caused the children to be more hyperactive. SULT1A interact with the brain to change hormones levels thus effecting behaviour. Clearly, synthetic colourants will cause behaviour changes.

This article was based on studies conducted a few years before this study was conducted which shows the researchers were only using the results of these experiments but not carrying out their own tests to compare against the other experiments. Their results might have been different so I am not really putting faith in it considering there might have been cherry picking done to influence the final conclusion. 2/5

Bell CC (2013) A Comparison of Daily Consumption of Artificial Dye-containing Foods by American Children and Adults, doi=

Food colourants are widely used to attract consumers to buy products. The Food and Drug Administration rejected about 100 colour additives due to health concerns since the 1960s. The research was carried out to determine the maxmum daily intake of synthetic colours that won’t affect behaviour and brain function. The aim is to determine the exposures of synthetic coloured foods daily by children against adults.35 participants (21 adults & 14 children), without health disorders, were selected and they recorded their food consumption every 5 days for 2 to 4 weeks. Results show that children (2.43 ± 0.35) consume more dye than adults (0.76 ± 0.15) everyday. Children are more likely to have emotional and learning difficulties than adults. It was concluded that children might have a lack of nutrition and suffer toxicological effects.

It has been proven that synthetic colourants might affect the behaviour and leaning abilities of children but the article shows that children are consuming in excess which can endanger their health as well. The study was conducted thoroughly but a larger sample size would have made it more accurate just to confirm the feasibility of the results even though the subjects came from different families. 3/5

Carocho M, Barreiro MF, Morales P, Ferreira M (2014) Adding Molecules to Food, Pros and Cons: A Review on Synthetic and Natural Food Additives, Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety 13, 377-399



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