Are Food Dyes Harmful?

Are Food Dyes Harmful? Find Out!

Hello All!!!

The bright colours of baked goods, candy and packaged juices may seem to be tempting. But do you know that food manufacturers use artificial dyes for the sole purpose of making food attractive? These colours are found almost in all foods. In the last 50 years the consumption of artificial food dye has increased by 500%.

The topic ‘Are Food Dyes Harmful?’  is debatable and in this post I am going to discuss the same.

Food dyes – what are they?

Are food dyes harmful

Food dyes are chemicals that have been developed for the sole purpose of enhancing the appearance of food by imparting an artificial colour. They were made from coal tar a long while ago. These days they are made from petroleum.

Food manufacturers prefer using artificial food dyes rather than natural food colour like beet extract and beta carotene. The reason is clear, the colours of food dyes are more vibrant.

However, there exists a lot of controversy over fact whether artificial food dyes are safe or not! USFDA and EFSA have concluded that the dyes don’t pose major health risks. However, not everyone agrees with this conclusion. Some food dyes are rendered safe in one country but are banned in another. This makes their safety extremely confusing.

Currently used food dyes

The following dyes have been approved by EFSA and USFDA:

Red No. 3 (Erythrosine):  It is a cherry-red coloring used commonly in popsicles, candies and gels for decorating cakes.

Red No. 40 (Allura Red): It is a dark red dye used in cereals, candy, condiments and sports drinks.

Yellow No. 5 (Tartrazine): A lemon yellow coloured dye that is added to soft drinks, chips, cereals, candy and popcorn.

Yellow No. 6 (Sunset Yellow): It is an orangish-yellow dye that is used in candy, baked goods, sauces and preserved fruits.

Blue No. 1 (Brilliant Blue): It is a greenish-blue dye used in packaged soups, canned peas, popsicles, ice-cream and icings.

Blue No. 2 (Indigo Carmine): This one is a royal blue dye added to candy, ice cream, snacks and cereal.

The most popular ones in use are Red 40, Yellow 5 and Yellow 6.

Food dyes and hyperactivity in children

Studies reveal a small but considerable association between artificial food dyes and hyperactivity in kids. Some of the kids are more sensitive to food dyes than others. It is better to avoid introducing your children to foods with artificial food dyes from an early age.

Can food dyes cause cancer?

Studies have been carried out to find out the link between dyes and cancer. It has been found that  Blue 1, Red 40, Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 dyes don’t have cancer-causing effects. However, there are concerns over Blue 2 and Red 3. Dyes like Red 40, Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 are known to contain cancer-causing substances in them.

However, more research is needed in this regard. Apart from Red 3 there is no convincing evidence to prove that food dyes cause cancer. Another point to be noted is that these studies were conducted decades ago and since then the consumption of dyes has increased dramatically.

food-dye-health, Are food dyes harmful

Food dyes and allergies

Certain food dyes can cause allergies in sensitive individuals. The ones are Blue 1, Red 40, Yellow 5 and Yellow 6.

Take home message

It is better to turn to whole and real foods free of dyes. Artificial food dyes are just meant for enhancing the look of food, they do not add to the nutritional value of the food.

Hope this post ‘Are Food Dyes Harmful?’ has been useful!

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Indian Weight Loss Blog


Vegan Curry Soba Noodles With Crispy Tofu | Recipe


Curl up with a bowl of these savory curry soba noodles from Dietitian Debbie Dishes. Soba noodles are coated in a creamy coconut-curry sauce. Colorful veggies and crispy squares of tofu finish off this hearty, healthy dish.

Vegan Curry Soba Noodles With Crispy Tofu


  • 1 (14-ounce) package extra-firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 8 ounces soba noodles
  • 1 1/2 cups (about 3-ounces) chopped purple cabbage
  • 1 cup chopped cremini mushrooms
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into ribbons
  • 1-inch fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons panang/red curry paste (I used Maesri brand)
  • 1 (13.5-ounce) can light coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 of a 5-ounce bag baby spinach leaves
  • Sriracha, optional


For the tofu:

Drain tofu and slice in half vertically. Place both slabs on a plate lined with a paper towel. Top with a second towel and place something heavy on top. (I use a cast-iron skillet.) Press tofu for 15 minutes. After tofu is pressed, slice into 1 inch cubes.

Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large skillet for 1 minute. Add the tofu and cook on one side for 2-3 minutes or until brown, shaking the pan gently periodically to keep the tofu from sticking. Gently turn over each piece and cook on the next side for 23 minutes. Repeat until all sides are browned. Transfer to a bowl and toss with soy sauce and Sriracha to coat. Set aside.

For the noodles:

Meanwhile, bring a medium saucepan full of water to a boil. Add the soba noodles and cook for 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a deep skillet, add 1 tablespoon of canola oil with the cabbage and mushrooms. Sauté for 68 minutes or until cabbage starts to soften. Stir in the carrots, ginger, garlic and green onion. Sauté for 1 minute.

Stir in the curry paste, coconut milk, vegetable broth and soy sauce until combined. Bring to a simmer for 12 minutes.

Add the cooked soba noodles to the pan and stir well to coat in sauce. Stir in the spinach leaves and cook another 12 minutes, stirring frequently, until spinach is wilted.

To serve, dish noodles into bowls and top with tofu. Drizzle with Sriracha and sprinkle with chopped cilantro.

Note: Not all curry paste is vegetarian/vegan so double check the ingredients.

Nutrition Information

Serves: 4 |  Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe

Per serving: Calories: 428; Total Fat: 18g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 5g; Cholesterol: 1mg; Sodium: 340mg; Carbohydrate: 51g; Dietary Fiber: 6g; Sugar: 5g; Protein: 17g

Nutrition Bonus: Potassium: 583mg; Iron: 27%; Vitamin A: 225%; Vitamin C: 44%; Calcium: 33%

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12 Surprising Sources of Plant Protein

Run of the mill, plant-based sources of protein such as tofu and other soy-based products, legumes, nuts and whole grains are officially trending, and for good reason. Eating fewer animal products and loading up on powerful plant proteins can help prevent and reverse chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Do your body a favor by swapping the steak n’ eggs for one or more of these surprising sources of plant protein. No protein powder required!


In addition to promoting hydration, chia seeds aren’t too shabby in the protein department. A 2-tablespoon serving packs 4 grams of protein plus a whopping 11 grams of fiber. Enjoy a bowl of creamy chia pudding with fresh fruit as a snack or add to oatmeal to spruce up your morning routine.


We’re not talking snow or snap peas, here. The good ol’ frozen or canned variety (fresh if you can find them!) offers 8 grams of protein for just over 100 calories per cup. Add them to your favorite veggie lasagna or spring salad.



Three tablespoons of these super seeds packs 10 grams of plant protein plus a hefty dose of heart-healthy fats. Once blended, they add luxurious creaminess to any dish. Swap hemp seeds for pine nuts in pesto, add a spoonful to smoothies or sprinkle on salads.


Famed for their vitamin and mineral content, leafy greens are secretly an awesome source of protein, too. A cup of cooked spinach or collard greens adds 5 grams of protein to your daily tally. Add a big handful to smoothies, omelets and soup.


Affectionately known as “nooch,” this new-to-many ingredient is a favorite among vegans for it’s cheesey flavor and top-notch protein profile. Sprinkle it on popcorn, pasta or add to veggie burgers for 9 grams of protein per 2 tablespoon serving. You’ll also get 3 grams of fiber and a boatload of vitamin B12. #winning


The nutty outer casing of the oat grain is brimming with 6 grams of fiber and protein to boot. Boost the nutrient content of muffins by adding oat bran for up to a quarter of the flour. It can also be stirred into yogurt, stews, pasta dishes or casseroles for extra texture and flavor!


Also known as pepitas, these are no ordinary seed; they are nutrition powerhouses boasting 7 grams of protein and 13 grams of heart-healthy fats per serving. Try toasting a cup of pumpkin seeds in the oven at 350°F for about 10 minutes and enjoy as a simple snack with dried fruit. They also add great crunch to salads, oatmeal and yogurt.



Quinoa is a rare breed in the plant world because it’s a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids. It boasts 8 grams of protein per cup and cooks in just under 15 minutes. Try it as an a.m. oatmeal stand-in, as the base of a veggie-packed lunch salad or in place of rice at dinner time. For a flavor boost, boil it in vegetable broth rather than water.


Spirulina is a blue-green algae that has more protein per gram than … beef — 4 grams per tablespoon, to be exact. Plus, it’s loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants. Spirulina has a mild fishy flavor that’s undetectable in smoothies. Add a teaspoon to your next blend for the ultimate superfood cocktail.


Also known as sesame seed butter, tahini is a deliciously nutty Mediterranean stand-in for almond or peanut butter. It clocks in at just under 100 calories and 3 grams of protein per tablespoon. In addition to being one of the star ingredients in homemade hummus, we also love the creaminess it adds to salad dressing. Drizzle it over warm, roasted veggies for extra flair.


This aquatic grass seed brings 6 grams of protein to every serving along with a distinctive nutty flavor and toothsome texture. The easiest way to cook it is like pasta, in plenty of salted boiling water until tender and then drain. Mix up your morning routine with some wild rice cooked until very tender and treat it like oatmeal, topped with dried fruits and/or nuts.


Whole-grain pasta is less processed and therefore higher in fiber and micronutrients than refined, white-flour pasta. A one-cup serving of whole-grain pasta clocks in at just under 8 grams of protein and 25% of the daily value of fiber. Use in place of regular pasta, knowing it matches best with stronger-flavored toppings.

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Rhubarb 3 Ways (Beyond Pie)


If you thumb through one of your grandmother’s old cookbooks, you may come across a recipe for pie that refers to rhubarb as the “pie plant.” While tangy, grassy, bold rhubarb makes an exceptional springtime pie, it’s also a remarkable ingredient to weave into other meals to make them fresh, healthy and flavorful.

If you have a bumper crop of rhubarb on your hands, pluck the stems, trim away and discard the leaves. Then get chopping, shaving, roasting, stewing and baking these blush-colored stalks into all sorts of dishes where a little tang, zip or bold flavor and texture is desirable — starting with these three unexpected recipes.

Keep in mind that raw, fresh rhubarb has a much different texture than frozen and thawed rhubarb. We recommend using raw, fresh rhubarb for the salad and salsa recipes below. For the lemonade, because the rhubarb will be cooked to soften, it would be suitable to use frozen, thawed rhubarb instead.

Chicken Salad with Rhubarb



  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 12 ounces cooked chicken, chopped
  • 1 cup rhubarb stalks, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves
  • 1/4 cup toasted almonds, chopped
  • Butter lettuce leaves, to serve


In a medium-sized bowl, combine the chopped chicken with the mayonnaise, mustard, salt, pepper, celery, rhubarb, tarragon leaves and almonds. Mix until the chicken is coated and the ingredients are combined. Cover the bowl and chill the salad, roughly 45 minutes. Serve on toasted bread with slices of butter lettuce or on top of a green salad.

Recipe makes 6 servings at 1/2 cup per serving.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 170; Total Fat: 13g; Saturated Fat: 4g; Monounsaturated Fat: 4g; Cholesterol: 4mg; Sodium: 188mg; Carbohydrate: 2g; Dietary Fiber: 1g; Sugar: 0g; Protein: 12g

Rhubarb and Pineapple Salsa



  • 2 cups (8 ounces by weight) fresh rhubarb, finely diced
  • 1 cup pineapple, finely diced fresh
  • 1/2 cup red onion, finely diced
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lime
  • Juice of two limes, roughly 1/4 cup
  • 1 serrano pepper, seeds removed and very finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 1/4 cup quince jam
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped


In a medium bowl, combine the rhubarb, pineapple, onion, serrano pepper and lime zest. In a small bowl, combine the quince jam and salt with lime juice to thin the jam. Pour the lime juice mixture over the rhubarb mixture and toss to coat, stirring to incorporate. Drizzle the olive oil over the salsa, top with cilantro and add to tacos, eat with tortilla chips or enjoy as a chunky, bright salad topping!

Recipe makes 6 servings at 1/2 cup per serving.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 74; Total Fat: 2g; Saturated Fat: 0g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 196mg; Carbohydrate: 13g; Dietary Fiber: 1g; Sugar: 10g; Protein: 1g

Rhubarb Lemonade



  • 5 cups (roughly 1 1/4 pounds) fresh rhubarb, chopped
  • 1 cup unrefined sugar such as turbinado
  • Zest of one lemon, cut into wide strips with a vegetable peeler
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh herb leaves such as mint, basil and lemon verbena
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
  • 2 cups sparkling water
  • Sprigs of mint, basil and lemon verbena, for garnish
  • Lemon slices, for garnish


In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine 4 cups of water with the rhubarb and sugar and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat and simmer 20 minutes. Remove pan from the heat and stir in the lemon zest and herb leaves. Cover and let stand until cool (roughly 1 hour). Strain the liquid into a large glass jar or pitcher and discard the solids.

Stir the lemon juice and sparkling water into the rhubarb mixture, then cover and refrigerate until chilled. Serve the lemonade over ice, garnished with herb sprigs and lemon slices.

Recipe makes 8 servings at 1/2 cup per serving.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 113; Total Fat: 0g; Saturated Fat: 0g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 5mg; Carbohydrate: 30g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 26g; Protein: 1g

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