Adverse Effects of Artificial Food Coloring (Plus Natural Alternatives)

By Naturally Savvy

Bill Sabo, founder and CEO of Nature’s Flavors, joined Andrea Donsky and Lisa Davis on Naturally Savvy Radio to discuss the adverse effects of artificial food coloring plus natural alternatives. [The following transcript has been edited for print.] 

Listen to the full radio interview here

Participants:
Lisa Davis, MPH
Andrea Donsky, RHN

Participants:
Lisa Davis, MPH
Andrea Donsky, RHN
Bill Sabo, AKA The Flavor Guy

Introduction:
Your organic search is over here’s Naturally Savvy with health experts, Andrea Donsky and Lisa Davis.

Lisa Davis:    
I have to say, trying to keep my daughter away from artificial colors and artificial flavors and preservatives is very challenging. I’ll tell you Andrea, this morning my daughter says to me, “Mommy on Halloween I want you to let me buy lunch because they have some kind of red Jell-O that’s supposed to be like bloody. I don’t want something like that. Then she says to me, “Oh after we go to the dentist,” which is supposed to be healthy, “I want you to get me that bubblegum flavored toothpaste. Then we stop at the bank and they hand her a green lollipop. I’m like, “Enough, enough. I’ve had it.” So thank goodness, because I need help, we have Bill Sabo with us. He is AKA The Flavor Guy. He’s the founder and CEO of Nature’s Flavors. Hi Bill. Help us.

Bill Sabo:     
Good morning, how are you?

Lisa Davis:
We’re great. It’s so great to have you on. So I’ve got this kid who I feed a whole foods diet as much as I can, but she’s out in the world and she wants all the artificial – I’m going to say it –crap. So let’s jump right in. Tell us about how we can avoid these and all the bad negative effects that comes from eating these dyes.

Bill Sabo:
Well, avoiding them is getting easier, that’s for sure. I think that the awareness by the consumer about the negative effects of artificial colors has really driven the R & D and companies like ours to go out and search for things that will replace those artificial colors and things that are naturally good for you. So, that momentum seems to be holding strong. Certainly it’s the support of the consumer that keeps us going and keeps us doing the research and searching for more and stronger and more reliable natural food pigments.

Andrea Donsky:
Bill, this is Andrea. I think what would be important is tell consumers what you do at Nature’s Flavors and you have a line of natural colors and what they’re made for, just to give people a bit of a background.

Bill Sabo:
Well what we do at Nature’s Flavors is week seek out ingredients from plants all over the world. Everything from flavoring ingredients to of course colors. I really got into this more heavily when my wife and I first starting having children and we weren’t aware of the effects of artificial colors, but we did see behavioral changes in our first born son. We used to give him Gatorade and we did a lot of after school sports with him and we noticed that parent’s gave their kids Gatorade. It’s common here in Southern California when you play baseball all year long, parents drop their kids off with a bottle of Gatorade. As a coach, I started seeing those changes right before my eyes and then I noticed it in my son. That really bothered me, knowing that here I am raising children and I was supporting that industry. So I started looking within our own company of how I could replace those colors. That really started in earnest in the early 90s. Since we’ve now had four kids total and on the latter two kids didn’t feed them any artificial colors and really noticed the changes and the changes in the way they grew up and the comparisons that we had. So we just made it a real focus here at Nature’s flavors to go out and find those natural pigments and other natural ingredients to augment the color of the food.

Lisa Davis:
So Bill tell us a little bit about how you get the colors. When we think of an artificial red, what are you using to make that natural color from and just some other examples because I know you are, when it comes to herbs or it comes to fruits and vegetables, I know that’s what you’re always looking for different things. But I know you have some interesting things that you use to make colors as well, so if you could share that that’d be awesome.  

Read about major food brands that are finally ditching artificial colors

Bill Sabo:
Well the early colors that we started out with or the early plant materials that we started out with to replace Red 40 were things like cherry juice concentrate and black currents and even cranberry when we can use it in a high acid condition. But what we found is those didn’t survive the heat processes. And again, to get consumers to pick these types of products up they also want reliability, they want the product to look as good as that artificial color and of course be good for them. We kept working and working and we migrated from juices to things like beets and then hibiscus flowers and then in the last few years we’ve been focused heavily on red radishes. Red radishes are probably one of the most promising except for the fact that is has high sulfur or vegetable kind of odor to it, so we’re working to remove that odor. But that particular red is very heat stable, it works well in high acid and low acid conditions and survives UV lightings. So it almost mimics the artificial color perfectly. Again, if we can get rid of that odor we’ll have a perfect replacement. And cost-wise it’s almost at parity.  



Lisa Davis:
Now I’m curious Bill, do you sell the different colors and the things that you come up with to different companies that utilize these in natural products? Do you have your own line of natural products? Fill us in on this.

Bill Sabo:
We do try to market the products to other companies. Initially, when we tried to do that, in those earlier years, we encountered a lot of push back from some very large companies, including the one I mentioned earlier and I don’t really want to get into mentioning company names. My frustration is that before I tried to market them myself under our brand, that we hadn’t even created yet, I went to those big companies and they just had no interest in it. In fact, sometimes they would make some comments that marketing hadn’t pushed for that or consumer demand hadn’t reached the point where they felt it was necessary to change. It didn’t matter that we told them about the harmful effects that just went in one ear and out the other, as they say. So, we decided okay and we’ll go ahead and create a brand and we’ll put those products first into health food and then ultimately on naturesflavors.com.

Andrea Donsky:
For those of you who are listening, I’ve known you for a while now Bill and I love your passion. I mean you are the Flavor Guy for a reason and I’d love you to tell everyone just a little bit about the fact, where you learned, where it came from your passion. I think it was your uncle or grandfather where you learned all this from. Maybe just share a little bit about that so people can understand why it’s so important to you and so close to you.

Bill Sabo:
I had an interesting upbringing, I grew in the 60s, I was born in 1960 and I came through parents that had a German decent and a real strong personality. My father wasn’t very inclined to having kids at all, and my sister, my mom and I endured a lot of pain. It was a very trying time. But I had this neat uncle, he was my dad’s uncle, that would have been my great-uncle and he began teaching me flavor and perfumery when I was 4 years old. Now he was focused on natural flavors back then. It was easy because he was retired when we started learning. He had a lot of fruit trees on his property and we would actually extract things right from those fruit trees, some tangerine trees. I remember my first thing was taking the oils from tangerine peel and then ultimately we made a root beer and some other really neat flavors.

Lisa Davis:
Nice.

Bill Sabo:
He passed away when I was twelve. He left me a lot of information and books and things. When I was seventeen years old, I decided that was the time and I went back to those roots and started my first flavor company.

Andrea Donsky:
That’s amazing. Bill, when people think about natural colors, now we only have about under a minute left, when people think about natural colors and they might be thinking well does it –you had mentioned before – does it look or taste the same as conventional colors, as the brightly colored food coloring that’s out there. Really quickly, can you give people just a bit of an insight if they were going to bake with or they were going to use it themselves and they use your colors, how would they do so?



Bill Sabo:
Well baking or heating the flavors has been the biggest challenge and then second would be UV survival or UV light. But, they for the most part, don’t give off any flavor anymore. Red radish is one, as I said earlier that still has some areas to clean up. We’re working on an extracted Dragon fruit. So, in the years to come and only in about a year or so those problems will be addressed and taken care of. But for the most part, most of the colors do really well, have no off flavors and bake well.

Lisa Davis:
I love it Bill. If you want to learn more about Bill’s company, I highly recommend you go onto naturesflavors.com and you can also follow them on Twitter @natures_flavors.

Andrea Donsky:
I’m a huge fan of all of Bill’s products and I recommend please go to their website to learn more. I’m Andrea Donsky along with Lisa Davis. This is Naturally Savvy Radio on RadioMD. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @yourradiomd. Thanks for listening and stay well.

Listen to the full radio interview here.

[Editor's Note: If you want to eliminate artificial coloring and other unhealthy ingredients from your diet for good, click here to sign up for a Naturally Savvy Get Healthy Challenge.] 





By Naturally Savvy| January 21, 2016
Categories:  Eat

About the Author

Naturally Savvy

Naturally Savvy

Add A Comment

Comment

Allowed HTML: <b>, <i>, <u>

Comments


What's Fresh

FacebookTwitterGplusPinterestYoutubeRss




 

RSS

In the Spotlight

  • Bio-K +

    Recommended by health professionals & trusted by consumers looking for real results. There are 50 billion live & active reasons inside Bio-K+. Guaranteed potent & fresh, Bio-K+ delivers.


  • Goddess Garden

    With Goddess Garden, you can trust their mineral-based sunscreen for the whole family. And with their recently released Sun Repair line, you can fix the sun damage from the past.


  • Nordic Naturals

    Committed to delivering the world's safest, most effective Omega Oils for over 20 years. With products, the whole family can benefit from, even pets.





Copyright © Agility Inc. 2017
    
Popup Image