NEWS BRIEF: Common, “colorful” foods TRIGGER bowel diseases?

Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs)—like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis—affect millions of people around the world. And their incidence is on the rise, especially in so-called “developed countries” in the western world, such as the United States and Canada.

Plus, unlike irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)—which typically involves uncomfortable symptoms that come and go, such as constipation, diarrhea, and bloating—IBDs are actual diseases.

They cause lasting structural damage—such as inflammation, ulcers, and sores—to your gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

Of course, until now, no one could really pinpoint exact causes behind IBDs.

Sure, we knew they’re somehow related to the immune system. In fact, when it comes to mainstream treatment options, IBDs often get lumped in with autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and multiple sclerosis (MS).

But a new study made an eye-opening discovery: Some very commonplace and “colorful” foods may actually TRIGGER these debilitating diseases…1

AVOID these “colorful” foods

For this investigation, researchers fed lab mice a normal diet—or a diet that included something called Allura Red AC (FD&C Red 40 or E129).

As you might have guessed, Allura Red AC is one of the most widely used food dyes in the world. But did you know that it derives from coal tar?2 And, in the United States, you commonly find it in breakfast cereals, soft drinks, dairy products, candies, and even vitamins!

Well, after just 12 weeks, it caused some serious problems in the lab mice…

Specifically, it caused new inflammation in their GI tracts. It also disrupted the gut barrier (which is there to prevent harmful bacterial invasions).

It even increased serotonin production in the gut, which, in turn, increases susceptibility to IBDs. In fact, the researchers said there’s enough evidence to suggest Allura Red AC may “trigger” IBD in otherwise healthy subjects!

Of course, this research on mice is just a start. But these results offer a serious warning about the potential dangers of food dyes in our diet.

Perhaps worst of all is the fact that we’ve known about the problems with Allura Red FC for almost 50 years! And one of the most long-standing concerns involves its effect on behavior in children—which is why many countries in Europe (including France, Germany, and Switzerland) banned it years ago.

Now, since you’ll find Allura Red FC in countless products in the United States, it’s up to YOU to keep it out of your diet. Luckily, that’s easier than you think… just stick to whole, unprocessed foods as part of the healthy Mediterranean-style diet! (Especially if you already suffer from GI disruptions.)

Also, make sure to load up on natural foods that contain natural prebiotics, which “feed” the healthy bacteria in your gut. Examples include: berries, garlic, onions, flaxseed, leeks, spinach, kale, chard, arugula, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, lentils, chickpeas, and black beans.

You should also add a high-quality, daily probiotic to your regimen to provide some extra GI support. Again, look for one that features different strains of friendly flora—along with prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics.


  1. “Chronic exposure to synthetic food colorant Allura Red AC promotes susceptibility to experimental colitis via intestinal serotonin in mice.”Nature Communications, 2022; 13 (1).
  2. “Allura Red AC.” Chem Europe, accessed 1/29/23. (