Artifical food dyes and hyperactivity in children

I recently posted the following statement on my facebook page:

In Europe foods w artificial colorings must carry the warning: may have an adverse effect on activity& attention of children. Studies show that food dyes increase incidences of ADD& ADHD!

As I anticipated, it has caused quite a stir.

Here’s some more information on the topic…

In 2008 the Center for Science in the Public Interest group urged the FDA to ban artificial food dyes that have been linked to behavior problems in children. The main food dyes in dispute are: Yellow 5, Red 40, Blue 1, Blue 2, Green 3, Orange B, Red 3, and Yellow 6.

The CSPI’s request to the FDA was based on several scientific studies– dating as far back as 1970– showing the link between artificial food dyes and hyperactivity.

The most recent study was conducted in 2007 by a group of British scientists and psychologists from the University of Southampton. This group conducted the gold standard in scientific research: a randomised, double-blinded, placebo controlled study on food additives and hyperactivity. What they discovered from their research was:

Artificial colours or a sodium benzoate preservative (or both) in the diet result in increased hyperactivity in 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children in the general population.

Artificial food dyes have been present in our foods since the 1950’s, however according to the FDA, the amount of food dye certified for use was 12 milligrams per capita per day in 1955. In 2007, the FDA upped this number to 59 mg per capita per day. That’s nearly five times as much. Dyes are used in everything from breakfast cereals to fruit roll ups to sodas to mac and cheese to doritos to any kind of candy you can imagine, they are even used to accentuate the color of fruits, vegetables and certain fish (like ahi tuna and salmon)!

These dyes have shown–scientifically– that they pose behavioral problems for children, and I’m sure for adults and that is why in Europe they carry the warning I stated above.

Interesting factoid: in Britain, the color in McDonald’s strawberry sauce for sundaes actually comes from strawberries; in the U.S. it comes from Red 40. Ewwww! Yet another reason to avoid McD’s like the plague!

So what can we do? Shop at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods– everything in the store is free of these questionable food dyes.

One thought on “Artifical food dyes and hyperactivity in children

  1. Aimee, I wish more people would read this and understand how true it is! I went to a Williams Syndrome conference is CA and the families that have done this and have seen the difference is AMAZING! Thank you!

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