Dr. Thomas Dwan - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Thomas Dwan

Is Yellow 5 Bad For You?

Also Known As: Tartrazine, FD&C Yellow 5, Acid Yellow 23, Food Yellow 4, E number E102


Grade

F


Short answer

With so many risks and few - if any - benefits, yellow 5 is best avoided. It has been linked to many serious health complications including an increased risk for cancer and worsened asthma in children.

Grade

F


Long answer

Despite being the (mostly) innocent victim of a vicious rumor, Yellow 5 still provides no health benefits and may be harmful to some people's health. In the 1990s, there was a widespread rumor that drinking too much Mountain Dew would cause penis size to shrink and sperm count to lower. This happened due to the dye used to give the drink its yellowish color - tartrazine, better known as Yellow 5. While research has clearly shown the relation to penis size is a pure fallacy, some studies do indicate that there may be a link between Yellow 5 and a slight decrease in sperm count.

The real problem with Yellow 5 has to do with children. Multiple studies have shown that children who are asthmatic or prone to hyperactivity are negatively affected by products containing Yellow 5. One study from 2006 also showed that Yellow 5 added to psychotropic medication had an adverse affect on some of the test subjects. In rare cases, Yellow 5 has been linked to fatigue, migraines, blurred vision, and anxiety. It is also possible that Yellow 5 causes chromosomal damage, but more studies need to be done before anything conclusive can be said.

Also, like other food dyes, Yellow 5 has been found to have carcinogenic chemicals. While Yellow 5 will most likely not be a problem for the vast majority of people, the risks are real. Norway and Austria have banned the substance outright. They have been phased out of many products in the UK and the EU requires a warning be attached to the label of any product containing Yellow 5. However, the US requires no such warning and indeed Yellow 5 may not even show up except as "dye" on the ingredient label. With no benefits to balance the risks, it'd be best to try avoiding Yellow 5 as much as possible.


Possible short-term side effects

  • worsened asthma in children
  • hyperactivity in children
  • fatigue
  • migraines
  • blurred vision
  • anxiety

Possible long-term side effects

  • cancer
  • lowered sperm count

Commonly found in

  • soft drinks (such as mountain dew)
  • juices
  • chips and crackers
  • puddings and sweets
  • prepared pasta / burger mixes
  • cheese-flavored snacks



Written by Jeff Volling | 01-02-2016 | Was this article unhelpful?

01-02-2016
Written by Jeff Volling
Was this article unhelpful?



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