Are Food Dyes Cancer Causing?

Is food dye, a product that is in a large amount of our food and beverages, harmful enough that we should start taking action? For years now my parents have been telling me to stop drinking sports drinks such as Gatorade and PowerAde. I usually dismiss their comments because all you here about those products are helpful and beneficial they are for hydrating after exercising. In fact, Gatorade is known to have a large amount of sugar and electrolytes. This makes Gatorade possibly better for hydrating after exercise, as these are all things our body loses when we partake in strenuous physical activity. However, time and time again my parents, mostly my father, mention another article that he has read explaining the dangerous of food dyes. One of the things he mentions to me the most about the dye is that it is possibly cancer causing. Our parents only want what’s best for us after all, so it seemed worth it to see if food coloring is actually harmful, at least when taken in large amounts.

Image result for classic gatorade bottle

The facts

Food dye is in a vast amount of food that we consume every day, especially for young adults and children. Examples of food that contains dye are sports drinks, soda, most cereal, and just about almost all candy products and processed food just to name a food. Obviously most of these food or beverage items are already deemed unhealthy to consume on a regular basis. However, many people do consume these foods on a regular basis, so if there is an underlying issue with food dye, then it would be important for these people to realize the dangers. Of the mentioned food and beverages above most of them contain yellow 5, yellow 3, yellow 6, blue 1, blue 2, green 3, orange B, red 3, and red 40 coloring dyes. Due to recent studies, almost all of these coloring dyes have been linked with serious health concerns. Now while it is still not proven that these dyes are a direct causation of certain health issues, it is important to know that it is a likely possibility that they could be related. The most common food dye in our country, red 40 is linked to allergic reactions and in some case hyperactivity, usually in children. Yellow 6 have been known to have been found with carcinogens in it, a substance found in cigarettes that can cause cancer. Also, yellow 6 has been linked to kidney tumors but only in animal testing trials. Blue 2 has also had reports of causing brain tumors in mice during testing. Green 3 has also been linked to bladder cancer. These statistics are very alarming, and while there has not been a direct link between food dye and cancer in humans, the evidence is there that is very possible.


I absolutely love Gatorade, it is one of my favorite drinks and I consume it every day. The thought of giving it up seems heartbreaking to me, but what if we don’t have to give it up? If you think about it what does food dye do for better the taste of a product? The answer is absolutely nothing. Dye is just for making the food or beverage more appealing to customers. A simple and short-term solution would be to get rid of food dye altogether. I’m sure with some research in the lab that our scientists could develop a new, healthy way to dye our foods. I mean come on, with all of the things that we as humans have discovered, there’s no way we couldn’t find a safer, healthier food dye.

2 thoughts on “Are Food Dyes Cancer Causing?

  1. Audra Wren Laskey

    I have to relate with you and say my parents told me the same thing (the health freaks they are). I never though a food dye could be harmful because I would just think about making frosting with food dye, and that would be fine. I wasn’t until 8th grade where I met this girl who was actually allergic to red food dye. no not yellow, nor blue, just red. I thought it was so strange and it made me think about what was really in my food. here is an article more about this allergy

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