There is research on both sides of the color additive safety debate, with some research showing that even people who consume a high number of foods with color additives are not at risk of any adverse health effects. Other research points to the possibility that color additives may be carcinogenic or could cause hypersensitivity reactions or behavior problems.
A 2012 meta-analysis of 36 studies found that 8% of children with ADHD had improved behavior when they ate a diet that contained no color additives. FD&C Yellow No. 5 is used to color beverages, dessert powders, candy, ice cream, custards, and other foods. The FDA’s Committee on Hypersensitivity to Food Constituents concluded in 1986 that FD&C Yellow No. 5 might cause hives in fewer than one out of 10,000 people, and that there was no evidence the color additives in food provoke asthma attacks. The law now requires Yellow No. 5 to be identified on the ingredient list. By Lynn Grieger, RDN, CDE, CPT, CHWCOctober 2018 Newsletter