Artificial colors are added to processed food because the end result of the product usually looks gross. Artificial flavors, nutrients, preservatives, and other additives are also put into these processed foods to make these fake food concoctions actually appetizing.
Artificial dyes are put into cereals, candy, soft drinks, and other processed foods to give them bright rainbow colors that are appealing to children especially. In other cases, they are simply added to mask the gross or boring color of the processed food like cheese puffs and other snacks.
Dangers of artificial colors
These artificial colors are not safe for your health as evidenced by many studies. In fact, many food dyes have already been banned in the past such as Orange #1(children got sick after eating Halloween candy), Red #2(suspected of being carcinogenic), and Yellow #1, 2, 3, and 4.
That does not mean currently used artificial colors are any safer, especially when you consider their history. A report called Food Dyes: A Rainbow of Risks was done showing that many artificial colors cause various types of cancer(i.e. brain tumors) as well as hyperactivity in children.
If your food looks like a wild color not found in nature, it’s a good idea to avoid it. The best way to be safe is to check the ingredients for artificial food dyes.