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Food Dyes and Behavior

I’ve always hated red food dye because of the moustache it leaves on your upper lip when you drink stuff that has red food dye in it.  When we were working at the children’s home, there were a few kids who always had a red moustache and I’m sure it was embarassing!  The other day, the Captain was eating a “good for you” popsicle made with real fruit but alas, there was the red food dye so it made a HUGE mess.  I got to thinking….who really cares if the popsicle is not “pretty”?  The company just really “uglied” it up in my book because the dye stains so badly!

But then, a friend of mine was telling me that when her daughter has food dye or processed foods, her behavior gets worse.  I had heard other parents say this, but kinda shrugged it off.  But apparently, it’s pretty common.  There are food dyes in so many foods, candies, and drinks these days, as well as medicines, to make them look pretty.

According to this article:  “FDA Probes Link Between Food Dyes, Kids’ Behavior” by April Fulton, on NPR, experts are urging the FDA to ban foods containing food dyes, or at least require a warning label, because there have been many links to behavior issues after consuming food dyes.

The FDA has said that it has found no proof that food dyes cause hyperactivity in most kids, but suggests that some children with ADHD may be sensitive to them.  Fulton goes on to say that “European lawmakers now require a warning label on foods that contain artificial dyes.”  Also, “manufacturers overseas, instead of adding a warning label, have turned to natural food dyes.”  Read the article in it’s entirety to learn more.

Here are my thoughts, and take them for what they’re worth….but why do we even need food dyes?  They serve NO purpose and honestly, make my job as a parent harder because it makes messes messier and stains more difficult to get out.  Does my kid care if a fruity popsicle is bright red or  brown?  Maybe, but if I only buy him stuff without food dyes, how will he ever know the difference?  My opinion is that if it’s not a natural food dye made from beets or purple carrots, then it doesn’t need to be in my kids’ food.  And if there’s even a slight possibility that it could cause hyperactivity or behavior challenges, then really…what’s the point?  Why take the risk?  I’m going to avoid it when I can, for sure.

What are your thoughts on the controversial topic of food dyes and behavior?

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Rachel @ Rachel's Giveaways

Thursday 29th of March 2012

I have really been scrutinizing the ingredients in what I eat and drink lately and it's been very eye-opening.  I don't have kids yet so I can't say that I've observed a behavioral link with artificial dye, but agree that it's unnecessary.


Wednesday 28th of March 2012

Food dyes can really mess with all kinds of behavior in Autism, ADHD, etc. Another one is the brown coloring syrup in sodas. I have a friend who's daughter would get crazy if she drank milk so they had to switch her to soy or almond milk. I recently read a post somewhere on a blog (can't remember which one) that a mother's daughter would get crazy if she ate soy. I think all the "artificial" things we put in our body really mess with us! Especially our kiddos!


Wednesday 28th of March 2012

Why can't companies use natural food dyes? Do they have to be as bright as the unnatural ones? Love the info you provided  and your take on the matter.

Susie My SoCal Life

Wednesday 28th of March 2012

I also agree that we d o not need bright colorful foods or drinks.  If there's a chance it can change your kids behavior why risk it!

Kristi Marsh

Wednesday 28th of March 2012

I agree! Who needs neon sports drinks in order to rehydrate?  I have plenty of followers who know 100% that you give their child a particular food dye they it will change the childs behavoir - we certiainly know enough to choose wiser wherever we can.  I think you will enjoy this edgy eye opener blog, and and following ones.  I have fallen in love with this ex-food-industry-marketing-excec telling it like it is.  If you join his FB page tell him I sent you!   ( He doesnt see how my Little Changes will bring him new readers...but I believe it will! )  

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