Meal Plan for Azo Free Diet

Azo dyes are colourings derived from coal tar which are added to foods to make them look brighter, more presentable and to compensate for colour lost in processing. They are commonly known as azo dyes, although chemically not all of them have a chemical group in their structure. Artificial colours have been implicated in some symptoms of food sensitivity including urticaria and hyperactivity in children; indeed many countries are more restrictive then the UK with their permitted usage.

Check ingredient lists for the following and their common uses in foods are listed underneath:

  • E102 - Tartrazine or FD & C Yellow No 5 / Acid Yellow 23 (yellow)
    Smoked fish
  • E104 – Quinoline Yellow (yellow)
    Smoked fish, Scotch eggs
  • E107 – Yellow 2G (yellow)
  • E110 - Sunset Yellow FCF / Orange Yellow 5 / FD & C Yellow No6 / Food Yellow 3 (yellow)
    Fruit cordials
  • E122 - Carmosine / Azorubine (red)
  • E123 - Amaranth / FDC & C Red No 2 / Acid Red 27 / Red Dye No2 / Azorubins (red)
    Blackcurrant products
  • E124 - Ponceau 4R / Cochineal Red A (red)
    Tinned fruits
  • E127 – Erythrosine (red)
    Glacé cherries
  • E128 - Red 2G (red)
    Sausages and cooked meats
  • E129 - Allura Red AC / FD & C Red No 40 / Food Red 17 / NT Red (red)
    Sausages and cooked meats
  • E131 – Patent Blue V (blue)
    Tinned vegetables
  • E132 – Indigo Carmine (blue)
    Savoury food mixes
  • E133 – Brilliant Blue (blue)
  • E142 – Green S (green)
    Tinned peas, mint jelly, mint sauce
  • E151 - Black PN / Brilliant Black PN (black)
    Brown sauce and blackcurrant products
  • E154 - Brown FK (brown)
    Kippers and smoked fish
  • E155 - Brown HT (brown)
    Chocolate flavoured products
  • E180 - Pigment Rubine / Rubine / Litholrubine BK

as well as the above, the following foods commonly containing sources of azo dyes should be checked:

  • Smoked fish
  • Fruit squash and fizzy drinks
  • Cakes, dessert mixes and biscuits
  • Ice lollies
  • Packet jelly mixes and trifles
  • Jam and preserves
  • Fruit pie fillings
  • Sauces, soups and casserole mixes
  • Pre-cooked meat and meat products
  • Tinned fruit and vegetables
  • Confectionery

Not all of the above will contain azo dyes, but definitely check these foods; indeed, due to consumer pressure, they are being used less. Look for products that state that they are free from artificial colours, and if in doubt, avoid.

Adhering to a healthy diet, avoiding processed and manufactured foods is the simplest way to avoid azo dyes. The following example meal plan has been designed to eliminate azo dyes and other artificial colours from their diet. It's based on an average weight individual with a sedentary job for weight maintenance. Use this to give you an idea of what are healthy nutritious foods to include, but don't forget to vary your food choices and to drink plenty of water through the day.

High fibre cereal (like Weetabix, bran flakes, Shreddies, muesli, porridge, etc) + 200ml skimmed milk + 1 tsp sugar
200ml fresh apple juice
2 oatcakes
Drink water
Sandwich: 2 slices granary bread + butter + slice off bone chicken or ham
Mixed salad inc tbsp sunflower seeds
Low fat natural yoghurt + fruit
Drink water
Handful cashew nuts
Drink water
Evening Meal
Large chicken breast or fillet white fish or lean red meat
Basmati rice or pasta or potatoes / sweet potatoes
Loads of veg or large salad
Drink water
2-3 oatcakes or rye crispbread with low fat soft cheese
Item fruit
Drink water
Plans for people with illness or medical conditions in no way should override advice provided specifically for you by your doctor, clinical dietitian or other clinician. We advise that you seek the advice of a suitably qualified physician before commencing any exercise regime, following any dietary or nutritional regimen or beginning the use of any dietary supplements, legal or otherwise. The information provided on the Website is intended as information only and does not constitute advice. Therefore, it must not be relied on to assist in making or refraining from making a decision, or to assist in deciding on a course of action.