Friday, February 27, 2009

why should you eat dye-free?

I find myself explaining this to other people all the time. Despite the research on food dyes that show they can be harmful or even toxic to children, our food industry continues to add inexpensive chemicals to many foods, especially those targeted to children. It boils down to money. It's cheaper to add petroleum based chemicals (that's what red #40, yellow #5, and the other numbered dyes are). It costs more to use real fruit and natural colors. The sad result is neurotoxins for our children's brains.

The FDA has not acknowledged the research indicating a link between hyperactivity and food dyes. Why not? Think about it. Who stands to loose if the food dye problem becomes common knowledge and gets addressed? Well, our large food industry will not be happy to see their profits decrease if they are forced to use more expensive ingredients in foods. They will claim jobs will be at risk, and nobody wants anything to do with jobs being lost. But the drug industry also stands to loose big time. Pharmaceuticals treating ADHD behaviors have become a highly profitable business. If you take away one of the driving forces contributing to the need for those medications, you also risk profits and jobs. So there are 2 major industries that benefit from not getting the word out about the research. These industries have powerful lobbying power in our government. They don't want the American public to truly understand this problem.

However, the same research prompted the British Food Standards Agency to ban artificial dyes from foods in Britain. Because of the ban, companies such as McDonald's and Kraft Foods manufacture dye free versions of their products for Britain but keep the artificially colored products flowing here in the US.

So what happens when you eat foods with dyes? Research shows hyperactivity in normal children who are not otherwise hyperactive. Parents commenting on my blog have reported everything from migraines, worsening of asthma and breathing problems, aggression, defiance, mood swings, impulsivity, rashes, and sensory oversensitivity. In my own children I see a real variety of hyperactivity, anger, defiance, and impulsive behavior. The best way to sum it us is that my children seem to loose the ability to have good self control when food dyes are in their system. It is amazing that these same behaviors just go away when my children do not consume any food dyes. I have tested this repeated for 2 years. It is always the same. On the rare times that the behaviors flare up, I can always find a food trigger. The more careful we are about the diet, the less problems we have.

I also want to mention that food dyes stay in the system for up to 3 days. That's another part of the problem. Most parents never connect the red frosting on Saturday's cake with the difficulties on Monday. Since it is so difficult to avoid food dyes 100%, most parents never get to see how much better their children can behave off the dyes.

I plan to follow up with a post about what you can do about this problem.

1 comment:

Mom4Change said...

That's so true! My son ate something that he shouldn't have (Red or Yellow dye - at school) and it seemed to last for three days! Today is another day for concern for me since the class is involved in an international activity with parents bringing in snacks. I should be there, but I am watching my three year old. I am concerned about how the day is going to go.