My brother-in-law and I share an affinity for Oreo cookies, double stuf at minimum, mega stuf whenever possible. As a vegan, I have a special appreciation for America’s best selling cookie; after all, they may not be organic or free of high fructose corn syrup, but they are made from fairly minimal ingredients and have always been vegan and free of artificial colors.
As summer winds down this Labor Day weekend, Halloween stock is hitting the shelves of supermarkets everywhere. Dave, my brother-in-law, was pretty excited to tell me about the “Halloween edition” Oreos he had just purchased. My immediate response: “Are they orange?”
Now, I hate to be a downer amongst those of you who enjoy seeing your favorite treats decked out for the holidays; pastel sugar dough at Easter, red and green frosting at Christmastime, bright orange Oreo creme at Halloween but here’s the thing… those dyes being used to color what was once white are made from chemicals!
The most commonly used dyes in foods in the US are yellow 5, yellow 6, and red 40. They’re in everything from Doritos and Cheetos to Fruit Loops to Dannon Fruit Blend Yogurt to Gatorade. These dyes have been linked to allergies, hyperactivity in children, rashes, and more. The Halloween Oreos I just mentioned contain yellow 5 and yellow 6 lake. Yellow 6 lake is comprised of Benzenesulphonic acid (does anyone even know what that is??) that has been treated with hydrochloric acid and sodium nitrate. It has been banned in Austria, Norway, and Finland. “But they have fun bat shapes on them,” Dave said….
I realize I can be a bit fanatical about what I eat (and don’t eat.) I have a bit of an obsession with buying foods that are organic and/or from local, sustainable farms. I do read more labels than the average person and I have been known to (frequently) google anything unfamiliar on the spot, whether it be on a menu or a food label. I certainly do not expect anyone to change their lifestyle (unless it was already in their plans), but if given the choice of two identical products – one WITH yellow 6 or red 40 and one WITHOUT, I would like to think that maybe some (most?) of you will consider trading fun for health.
And as Halloween edges closer, consider reading a label or two and buy the candy without the chemical coloring. An article in the Huff Post last year mentioned the same 3 dyes I just listed and their link to ADHD in children. Elimination diets showed such major improvements in children’s overall health and behavior that Change.org launched a national campaign urging M&M/Mars to switch to natural food color sources for their M&M candies (By the way, the European versions made by M&M/Mars contain mostly natural ingredients!!) You can read the article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-f-jacobson/mms-artificial-dyes_b_4116130.html
Well, that’s it. Thanks for the inspiration Dave…. How about if you throw away the rest of your orange Oreos and I’ll send you a box of Mega Stuf as compensation?
» » Look Dave! These are fun Oreos and no artificial colors!