Easter is fast approaching and with it the beloved tradition of dying easter eggs. Hollowing the easter eggs out and dying them after is one thing, but eating the Easter eggs after they have been dyed may not be the healthiest option.

We all remember growing up and using those common dyes we bought in the baking aisle at the grocery store; Red, Yellow, Blue, Green, Purple.

A recent article on food colors was published in the Clinical Pediatrics Journal1 and states that there is an alarming number of foods that are marketed to children with these artificial dyes in them. What side effects have these dyes been shown to have? Let’s start with the red dye 40. These are added to many different types of foods and drinks and according to an article in the Environmental Health Perspective the book the Food Dyes: A Rainbow of Risks, further concludes that the nine artificial dyes approved in the United States likely are carcinogenic (cancer causing), cause hypersensitivity reactions and behavioral problems, or are inadequately tested.2

Others have insisted that there is no link between hyperactivity and the artificial dyes. Web MD3 made an interesting observation stating that the children who are consuming these foods with artificial dyes also show that these foods being eaten are more likely to contain higher amounts of sugar which can cause children to be “hyperactive”.

Sugar is a known carcinogen. Therefore if one is eating foods with higher levels of dyes, and therefore higher levels of sugar, then one’s chances of getting cancer rise as well. Rethinking the amount of sugar in all the candies and sweets at Easter perhaps thinking about healthier alternatives instead that don’t involve artificial colors and dyes.


  1. Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2016 Oct;55(12):1113-9. doi: 10.1177/0009922816651621. Epub 2016 Jun 6.
  2. Environ Health Perspect. 2010 Oct; 118(10): A428.
  3. https://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/childhood-adhd/food-dye-adhd#1 Opens in new window