Did you know that the color of food actually influences the way we taste and look at food? We taste with our eyes. No wonder why my kids and me, for that matter, go straight to the yummy looking cupcake or cookie on the counter.
Food manufacturers and people add color to the food they make to increase their appeal and protect food flavors. Many food items you find in supermarket are made with added food coloring, mainly Caramel color.
What is Caramel Color anyway?
Simply put, Caramel Color is an artificial coloring made by reacting sugars (from corn, wheat) with ammonia and sulfites under high pressure and temperatures.
It is most commonly found in beer, bread, pancakes, cola soft drinks, rum, brandy, whiskey, cookies, baked goods, gravy, ice cream, sauces, dressings, vinegar, soy sauce, wine, chocolate, jam, candy, butterscotch, root beer, ginger ale
What is the big deal with Caramel Coloring?
Studies have found that caramels produced with ammonia could inhibit the metabolism of B6, reduce white blood cell count, or soften feces-conducted. Additional Government studies have indicated that the chemical reactions from sugar, ammonia and sulfites caused lung, liver, or thyroid cancer or leukemia in laboratory mice or rats. Chemicals that cause cancer in animals are considered to pose cancer threats to humans.
Should carcinogenic colorings be in our food supply, specially considering that their only function is a cosmetic one? I don’t believe so!
Road to Better Health
Ted Nixon, D.D. Williamson Chairman and CEO said, “If food does not taste good, people will not try it again. If food doesn’t look good, people may not try it all.” Although this statement is probably close to the truth, it is not necessary to add artificial coloring to food in order for it to taste good. There are many other natural ingredients, such as honey, sugar from fruit that can make food taste better. As far as the appearance, you can get dye from natural resources as well from fruits, vegetables, herbs, etc.
When cooking, look for healthier food flavorings without caramel coloring in them. There are BBQ sauces, vinegars, dressings, cookies, ice cream, etc that are cleaner and better for your health and your family. Read the ingredient label list! Avoid the ones with caramel color and these non-food items as much as you can. Better yet when you have some time, bake yourself and get your family involved.
Once you and your family get in a habit of eating more whole and real food, a cookie or ice cream, when eating in moderation, should be OK. It is all about balance and sticking to a healthier lifestyle.
Additional info on Caramel Coloring: