Viral TikTok trend of teens consuming food coloring to pee blue or green is not safe, say health experts
While food coloring in small doses is fine, consuming the same in large doses can be harmful as it has been linked to ADHD
The latest trend on TikTok involving teens drinking blue food coloring for prolonged periods of time in an attempt to turn their urine the same color has health experts worried.
The trend was first started by TikTok user @coltyy, who drank the blue-colored liquid for 10 days straight. “I’ll be drinking blue food coloring and only blue food coloring. From what I’ve read online, by the fifth day the color of my pee will be blue," he declared before he went on a 10-day binge.
The teen, who has 2.4 million followers on the app used mostly by Gen-Z users, documented his experiment as he guzzled cups and glasses of liquid tainted with blue food coloring. Soon enough his teeth were permanently stained a blue color. Gradually, even his pale skin started to display a slightly blue hue and some of the hair on his head too began to take on the color.
On the 10th day of the self-imposed challenge, the teen proudly declared: “Number one, my pee has turned blue. Number two, my poop has turned blue too. Number three, I’m turning blue. My skin’s blue guys and my hair is even turning blue. It’s getting wild.”
He added that since it was the most embarrassing thing he had done on TikTok, he would be uploading pictures of his urine on Instagram.
Seeing that Colty had found success with the seemingly-fun challenge, other teens soon followed suit, making it a trend on the app. One of his friends is even trying the same thing but with green food coloring.
Although the teen has claimed that the challenge is a "harmless" one, his videos now include the warning, “The action in this video could result in injury.”
Dietitian Julia Zumpano told Health Essentials that while food coloring in small doses is fine, consuming the same in large doses can be harmful as it has been linked to ADHD.
“Some studies show a link between dyes and increased ADHD or hyperactivity in children. An Australian study found 75% of parents noticed an improvement in behaviour and attention once the dyes were eliminated. Researchers also found tumor growth in animals that consumed high doses of food dyes, though it can be hard to translate what this means for kids," he said.