Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What are the effects of food dyes?

Many people wonder what food dyes really do. How can they be detrimental if they are allowed to be in so many children's foods? Well, I'd like to lay it out there from 2 perspectives: 1. the research 2. my experience as a Mom.

Research has been showing food dyes to cause hyperactivity and irritability in "normal" kids, not just ADHD kids. Our FDA does not want to acknowledge the recent research, but it was enough for Britain to ban dyes from their foods. Hmmm, total denial, verses total action to protect children. Seeing any trends with out FDA? Check links to the side for articles about the recent studies.

Here are a few new ones I found:

Do food dyes affect kids' behavior? --LA Times

The truth about food dyes -Couric and Co CBS

Chemical food additive exposure during pregnancy

This last one is disturbing. In case you didn't read it all the way through, here's the conclusion:

Regarding the observations of hyperactivity after exposure to food dyes, there was enough evidence for the researchers to conclude,
"Our results provide additional support for the belief that administration of food colorings may exert significant effects in the developing organism. Thus, it is apparent that food dyes affect activity levels during the first month of postnatal life."
Dr. Bennett A. ShaywitzPediatric Neurology, Yale University School of MedicineNeurobehavioral Toxicology, Vol. 1:41-47

I wish I knew why this stuff has not been better studied and publicised, but it seems that it is still not common knowledge to many families. My hope is that my blog will help with that. I just wish there was a better way to shout to our country, "Wake up and look at your children! This is not how children are supposed to be. People were not made to eat petroleum by-products!"

As a mom I have seen even more dramatic effects. I have 2 children who become irritable, defiant and difficult to be around. The screaming, shouting, fighting, it all goes off the charts. It's not continual. It's more like it spikes without warning over the course of 3 days. One even spits, hits, sticks the tongue out a lot, but only within 3 days of food dyes. The behavior does not otherwise occur. I also see hyperactivity mixed in with the angry stuff on the same two. It's like the brakes short circuit and they jump, bounce and dash about much more than normal.

That leaves my other child, the "hyperactive times 100 when on food dyes" child. I don't see as much of the angry responses out of that one, but more of the crazy, "devil may care" attitude that revs from sun up to sun down with no break. It's like he's on drugs! And then I sat there thinking he needed to be one. Thank God I figured out the food dye connection and never had to go down that path. He didn't need Ritalin or any other drug. He needed healthy food. Again, the behavior stays under control unless there is an exposure to food dye. I've tried it out hundreds of times over 3 years. When the food dyes are not consumed, I have calm, considerate, polite children who do their chores and homework without incident, practice their musical instruments, and maintain a reasonable level of peace. It's honestly just that simple.


Sandi said...

I have happened upon you blog in my research and look forward to reading more.

My son recently was diagnosised with ADHD and ODD.

I started reading "The ADHD and Autism Diet" and starting this week am cleaning the dyes, additives and perservatives out of my house. The crazy part is we eat pretty natural already, from scratch for the most part. But I am still finding it in some of the products we buy.

Anyway thanks for making the research process easier.

Casey said...

I know this is an older post but I'm so glad to have found your blog. I'm late to the game but am just now discovering that my son has food dye sensitivities.

My son is almost three year and had never had candy until recently so we'd never noticed a huge issue. He doesn't drink juice and we just thought that his periodic behavior problems were because of his age. Over the month of October, we attended several Halloween festivals plus trick or treating so both of my kids had their fair share of candy. My normal sweet kid has been replaced with someone more resembling Linda Blair. I found your blog a few links into my research and I'll be delving into your archives.

Thanks for making everything available!


kwstan said...

Thank you for talking about this.I have a 7 year old son who is adopted and we have been going through sensory issues and behavioral issues.I have tied some of his behavioral issues to the dyes(we have a pretty clean diet)but after reading about the food dyes I started to look closely at labels and was able to connect some behavior to the dyes.My issue now at the holidays is finding dye free decorations for doing the christmas cookies,one of our traditions.I feel like I have to say no so often I don't want to take this away.Do you know of any places I can find these products?Again I'm so glad to find people talking about this issue.Thank you Kathy