Bread, pizza and even ice cream and spaghetti. It is the tendency that Instagram has dispossessed the multicolor rainbow mania! But is it true that choosing foods with activated charcoal is harmless and even healthy? Here we will discuss about black charcoal food trend …
Enough with rainbows, little hearts, glittering and colorful stars: the creativity on the theme of food shows its tasty “dark side”! From ice creams to sandwiches, from macaron to spaghetti, the new black charcoal food trend trend of Instagram now focuses on total black.
Filed the multicolor cloying, the use of vegetable activated charcoal as a food coloring to dye the most common foods unexpectedly black is becoming an increasingly widespread habit, both abroad and – more moderately – in Italy.
A choice that inevitably generates curiosity about the composition, use and related health implications. What is the origin of vegetable charcoal? Is it really harmless? Can it have healthy effects through the foods that contain it? Here are some official tips to clarify the ideas.
What is activated charcoal powder?
It is a substance derived from the slow steam combustion of raw materials of vegetable origin such as wood, peat or coconut shells, a process that makes the activated charcoal very porous and with a very high absorption capacity (it is able to bind and absorb hydrophobic toxins and smells from gas or liquids up to 1,000 times its weight!).
Historically, activated charcoal was used for medicinal purposes, in particular to help treat cases of poisoning or overdose of drugs. Also used in the cosmetic field for teeth whitening and to prepare purifying beauty masks, in the form of capsules it is currently marketed to prevent and limit intestinal gas.
How is it used in the food sector?
In the food sector, activated charcoal powder is commonly used as a dye. The legislation on additives, flavorings and enzymes allows it to be used in various foods, as well as direct sales for culinary and domestic use. For black charcoal food trend the specific legislation has recently been made public by the Ministry of Health to dispel doubts and perplexities regarding its specific use for bakery.
Can it be a harmful dye?
In fact, in black charcoal food trend the use of activated charcoal as a coloring agent does not present any criticality. It is free of toxicological substances and is considered safe. Not for nothing, the Ministry of Health signs its admission into a wide range of food supplements. According to what reported on the Ministry of Food Safety website, moreover: “the current legislation does not fix for this dye a maximum amount of use but it can be used at the “quantum sates” dose according to good manufacturing practices, in quantity not more than necessary to achieve the desired effect provided that consumers are not misled “. Can it bring health benefits through the foods that contain it? Among the benefits of activated charcoal is certainly the ability to absorb and eliminate intestinal gas. An advantage that can hardly be achieved through its low use in food as a vegetable dye! If the use of activated charcoal in food is motivated for its beneficial effect on health.
Activated charcoal contributes to the reduction of excessive post-prandial flatulence. This indication can be used only for a food containing 1 g of activated charcoal per quantified portion. The indication must be accompanied by information to the consumer that the beneficial effect is obtained with the intake of 1g at least 30 minutes before the meal and 1g immediately after the meal “. However, it should also be noted that, to date, the use of activated charcoal as an ingredient for “physiological” purposes is not allowed in foods other than food supplements, as it would require specific authorization.
Ultimately, the message is quite clear: Never neglect to read food composition and labels in general.