The first time I discovered I was allergic to Yellow #5 was when I was in school to become an aesthetician. Part of the reason I had decided this career path was because I had battled with my skin for years. Here I was in my early 20’s and always had breakouts on my chin. I should specify that this type of breakout was unusual. Sure it looked like acne but it itched terribly and was extremely painful. This should have tipped me off that this was a typical allergic reaction. I met several people in school who had this same problem and by word of mouth one of us had heard of Yellow Dye #5 allergies. One of the girls swore that once she removed it from her diet her chin cleared up immediately. I decided that night to try to take it out of my diet. I had no idea how daunting this task would be. IT WAS IN EVERYTHING! Sure, I expected colored candies, chips and sodas but I had no idea how many regular items it was in. I quickly learned that just because something wasn’t “yellow” didn’t mean this dye wasn’t in it. White cakes mixes, vanilla canned frosting, pancake mixes, refrigerated biscuits and croissants. It seems Yellow #5 is used to create that off white color.
As tough as it was, I soon found a lot of alternatives. Surprisingly name brand items tend to be more likely to have it then a store brand. Within a week or two, I noticed an immediate difference. I was clear skinned for a month until I started breaking out again. I thought the project was a bust until I discovered the sneaky dye had made its way into my new toothpaste. Most green toothpaste has this color additive. Crisis adverted. Ditched the toothpaste and clear skin came back. I was fascinated by this and started sharing this information with every person I met. I started really researching and was amazed at all the side effects listed for Yellow #5. Just check out the Wikipedia write up on it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tartrazine
Irritability, sleep disturbances, hyperactivity, anxiety, blurred vision, migraines…even possibilities of lower sperm count! It made me wonder if the reason my migraines finally went away was because I removed this from my diet. It might seem silly to think that something so small could cause all these problems. However, I urge you to read the back of your food items and see how many things have Yellow Dye. Yellow #5 is one of the most used dyes in food. The more research I have done the more I realize I want to remove all unnatural dyes from my diet. We are stuck using them because apparently if food doesn’t have color than it is less appetizing to us. It’s a natural desire to have colorful foods. However, I think this is wired in us because we should want to eat colorful fruits and vegetables. There are lots of alternatives to artificial dyes. Turmeric is wonderful fill in for yellow dye. This is what gives mustard its bright yellow color. It’s natural and imparts no flavor. I promise you won’t miss out on anything special by removing these items from your diet. You might just discover some added health benefits!
Today’s guest blogger is Patience Wallace and is on twitter at @pwallacetn