Science & Technology

Colorful sweets look delicious, but synthetic dyes can pose health risks such as DNA damage and cancer.


The incidence of early-onset colorectal cancer has increased since the 1990s.

The incidence of early-onset colorectal cancer in adolescents defined as adolescents under the age of 50 Global rise Since the early 1990s. Incidence of colon and rectal cancer 90% and 124% increaseBy 2030, respectively.

One of the suspicious reasons behind this trend is Increased global consumption of Westernized diet It consists of lean and processed meats, sugar additives and refined grains. 60 percent of the standard American dietAlso known as “SAD,” it is made up of super-processed foods such as industrial baked goods, soft drinks, and processed meats. SAD is associated with Increased risk of colorectal cancer..

One aspect of super-processed foods that I’m worried about is how colorful they are. This feature is fully manifested in the many delicious foods and treats that exist during the New Year holidays. However, many of the colors that make up candy canes, sugar cookies, and even cranberry sauce and roasted ham are synthetic. And there is some evidence that these artificial food dyes can trigger carcinogenic processes in the body.

Candy gum drop

Artificial colorants may look good, but potential health risks need further investigation.

As Director, Colorectal Cancer Research Center The University of South Carolina has been studying the effects of these food colorings on the development of colorectal cancer. Research into the potential cancer risks of food coloring is still in its infancy, but think twice before arriving at its colorful treats this holiday season.

What are Synthetic Food Colors?

The food industry uses synthetic dyes to improve the appearance of food.The first food coloring Created from coal tar In the late 1800s. Today, they are often synthesized from petroleum-derived chemicals called naphthalene, Azo dye..

Food manufacturers prefer synthetic dyes to natural dyes such as beet extract. Cheaper, brighter and longer lasting.. Manufacturers have developed hundreds of synthetic food dyes over the past century, Most of them are toxic..Only nine are approved for use in food in the United States Food and Drug Administration Policy, and even fewer paths European Union Rule.

US food manufacturers have begun using synthetic dyes as a marketing strategy to standardize product colors.

What Causes Colorectal Cancer?

DNA damage It is the main cause of colorectal cancer.when DNA Damage to the cancer driver gene can result in mutations that direct cells to divide uncontrollably and become cancerous.

Another driver for colorectal cancer inflammation.. Inflammation occurs when the immune system pumps out inflammatory cells to begin healing the injury or capture the pathogen that causes the disease. If this inflammation persists over time, it can harm healthy cells by releasing molecules such as: Free radicals It can damage the DNA.Another kind of molecule called Cytokine In the absence of healing damage, it can prolong inflammation and promote cell division and the development of cancer in the intestines.

A long-term poor diet Mild inflammation boiled on a simmer It does not cause noticeable symptoms, even while the inflammatory molecule continues to damage otherwise healthy cells.

Synthetic food coloring and cancer

None of the FDA-approved synthetic food colorants are classified as carcinogens, but currently available studies point to potential health risks. others Find out about.

For example, bacteria in the intestines Decomposes synthetic dyes To molecules known to cause cancer.How Microbial flora Interacts with synthetic food coloring and potential cancer risk.

Studies show that artificial food coloring Binds to DNA When protein In the cell.There is also some evidence that synthetic dyes can be made Stimulates the body’s inflammatory mechanism.. Both of these mechanisms can cause problems with colon and rectal health.

Synthetic food coloring Damages rodent DNA.. This is because Allura Red (Red 40) and Tartrazine (Yellow 5) can cause DNA damage to colon cancer cells by increasing in vitro doses and exposure times in a controlled lab environment. Supported by unpublished data from my research team showing. However, before it can be said that these dyes directly caused DNA damage, the results must be reproduced in animal and human models.

DNA damage synthetic food coloringDNA Damage Synthetic Food Color ChartFinally, artificial colors may be of particular concern to children.Children More vulnerable to environmental toxins Because their bodies are still developing.I and others have this concern Synthetic food coloringEspecially considering the prevalence of food for children. A 2016 survey We found that more than 40% of foods sold to children in a major North Carolina supermarket contain artificial colors. Further research is needed to investigate how repeated exposure to artificial food dyes affects children.

Kids eating donuts

Many foods sold to children contain synthetic food colorings.

Reduces the risk of colorectal cancer

Some treats during the holidays do not cause colorectal cancer. However, the long-term diet of processed foods may be. Further research is needed on the link between food coloring and cancer, but evidence-based procedures can be performed. Reduce the risk of colorectal cancer..

One way is to be screened for colon cancer. The other is to increase your physical activity.Finally, you can eat energy diet With more whole grains and products and less alcohol, red and processed meats. This means eating less of the colorful super-processed foods that may be abundant during the holidays, but in the long run your gut will thank you.

Written by Lorne J. Hofseth, Professor and Dean of Research, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of South Carolina.

This article was first published conversation..conversation

Colorful sweets look delicious, but synthetic dyes can pose health risks such as DNA damage and cancer. Colorful sweets look delicious, but synthetic dyes can pose health risks such as DNA damage and cancer.

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