Many foods and beverages contain additives that enhance shelf life, taste, color and appearance.
Some food additives have been shown to disrupt intestinal health in animal models, leading to colitis (a type of intestinal inflammation).
Temptation Red is a synthetic red food coloring that is used in some breakfast cereals, beverages, and preserves.
A recent study in Nature Communications shows that long-term ingestion of the common food coloring Allura Red AC causes mild intestinal inflammation in mice and increases susceptibility to inflammation in experimental models of inflammatory bowel disease.
The researchers found that long-term ingestion (14 weeks) of a diet containing the food coloring lure red – a pigment content comparable to that of some human foods – caused mild intestinal inflammation in mice.
Ingestion of temptation red raises serotonin levels, leading to intestinal inflammation.
However, mice that intermittently consumed a diet containing temptation red for 12 weeks did not develop intestinal inflammation or colitis.
The researchers noted that the diets used in the study contained a fixed amount of Lurex each day and were maintained for a long period of time.
This is not representative of a population that occasionally consumes foods or beverages containing Lurex.
Therefore, further studies are needed to clarify the effects of other food colorings on intestinal inflammation and whether similar effects exist in humans.