They may be known for severe health hazards, but food dyes indeed have a positive side- protection against cancer, says a new study.
The study was conducted over trout, a species of freshwater fish, which were given carcinogens dibenzopyrene (DBP) or aflatoxin in their feed either with or without food dyes Red 40 or Blue 2, for one month.
The findings revealed that after nine months, trout fed with any of the dyes in combination with aflatoxin showed 50 per cent fewer liver tumours compared to one fed with aflatoxin only.
Moreover, fish given DBP, in combination with Red 40 showed 50 per cent lower incidence of stomach cancer and 40 per cent lower incidence of liver cancer.
"The public perception is that food dyes are bad, but some of them may have good points as well," New Scientist quoted Gayle Orner at Oregon State University, as saying.
She also said that further studies have to be conducted to understand the mechanism by which these food dyes apply their anti-cancer effect.
The study was presented at the American Association for Cancer Research in San Diego, California, last week.