A RED food dye product used in popular children’s snacks and beverages has been linked to a concerning body erosion.
Allura Red AC, a food coloring used in sweets and soft drinks like Doritos, Skittles, Pepsi and Gatorade, can trigger inflammation of the large intestine if eaten regularly, according to a new research.
The latest study by McMaster University, published in Nature Communications, showed when the products containing the dye are consumed daily, the test subjects increased the risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
IBD, or colitis and Crohn’s disease, is a chronic condition that causes abdominal pain, cramps, or swelling, recurring or bloody diarrhea, weight loss, and extreme tiredness.
There is no cure for the conditions, which can vary in severity.
Researchers say the study, which was conducted on mice, reflects the diets of Western countries.
Four of the most popular azo dyes used as food colorings were chosen for the study – Allura Red AC (also known as FD&C Red 40 or E129), Brilliant Blue FCF, Sunset Yellow FCF, and Tartrazine Yellow.
However, Allura Red turned out to have the most pronounced effect on serotonin secretion.
One group of mice was fed a regular diet, while the other was given a diet supplemented with Allura Red for 12 weeks.
After 12 weeks, the mice chronically exposed to Allura Red had developed mild colitis.
Gut levels of serotonin were also elevated, indicating this mechanism is likely the driving force behind the increased inflammation.
Allura Red is typically found in sweets, soft drinks, dairy products, and cereals centered around children.
Lead researcher Professor Waliul Khan called the findings “a significant advancement in public health.”
“This study demonstrates significant harmful effects of Allura Red on gut health and identifies gut serotonin as a critical factor mediating these effects,” Khan wrote.
“These findings have important implication in the prevention and management of gut inflammation.
“What we have found is striking and alarming, as this common synthetic food dye is a possible dietary trigger for IBDs.
“This research is a significant advance in alerting the public on the potential harms of food dyes that we consume daily.