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Coloring is for art…not for food!

Have you ever noticed a difference in your child’s behavior after eating some unnaturally colorful treats?  Pay attention the next time and chances are good, you will see a difference, and not a positive one.

Now I love colors as much as the next person, but to eat it…I don’t think so.  I’m not sure if it’s the chemicals and what they do to our kids, or the actual foods the kids must be eating to get these dyes into their little bodies that I don’t love.  Regardless, here are just a few of the problems associated with consumptions of these food dyes:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Inability to Concentrate
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Insomnia (which contributes to poor behavior)
  • Aggressive Behavior
  • Irritability
  • Tantrums/Meltdowns
  • Frequent Crying Spells
  • Asthma
  • Eczema
According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, food coloring such as blue no. 1, red no. 40, yellow no. 5 and yellow no. 6 cause allergic reactions. reports that allergies to food coloring are more like food intolerances than allergies. Yellow food dye no. 5 has triggered asthma episodes in children and other dyes, such as red no. 40, cause skin conditions such as eczema.

Red dye #40 has been most commonly associated with aggressive and impulsive behavior in children.  Tantrums, hitting, kicking and swearing are common reactions in children sensitive to this dye. According to research, “parents whose children consumed any food with this dye experienced a sudden and violent change in personality. When the dye was removed, the behavioral problems disappeared.”  Wow, that’s powerful stuff. How can our kids be the best they can be, when they aren’t even able to be themselves?

In the early 1990s, FDA and Canadian scientists found that Red 40, Yellow 5 and Yellow 6, the three most widely used dyes, were contaminated with likely human carcinogens. And, red 3, is recognized by the Food and Drug Administration as a carcinogen.  I’m sorry, but WHAT!?! How has this not been banned? Here’s more info on the cancer causing effects of food dyes.
At least the FDA is actually is considering putting labels with warnings on the foods with dyes.  You know, kind of like the warning label on cigarette packs.
Here are some additional articles on food dyes for those interested:
I would love to hear your thoughts or experience with your kids and food dyes.  And as always, thanks for reading!
  • Jen @ TheUnProcessed Kitchen - It’s a HUGE game changer for us! Eliminating food dyes made a big difference in my son’s behavior, especially yellow!!ReplyCancel

    • landriav - Thanks for sharing that Jen! I think every personal account helps our case and makes people even more aware. Thank you for posting!!ReplyCancel

  • Markey - Thank you for sharing this information. Dyes and other additives create all sorts of learning and behavioral problems as well as some other health concerns. Back in 1976, a group of parents formed a support group to help each other avoid them and to share what they learned with others in their communities. It’s called the Feingold Associaion and it is still doing that today. It’s website is http://www.feingold.orgReplyCancel

  • Cheryl Mosley - Hey there! Do you have alternatives? I know that seems naive, but what about for frosting, etc. It’s so hard when your kids are inundated with “bright pretty” snacks and foods. Help!!!ReplyCancel

    • landriav - Hey Cheryl!
      Unfortunately, there aren’t many alternatives. You could always use say beet juice if you need a red or pink. But for the blues, greens, and yellows, I’m afraid we’ll just have to educated our kids, cross our fingers, and hope for the best. I did find this (click here), but unfortunately, the reviews were pretty in the middle. Thanks for asking though. Good question, and maybe someone out there has a better answer for us!ReplyCancel

  • Rebecca - I love seeing more and more attention on this issue from bloggers like yourself all over the web. I write about our own food dye sensitivities at “Die, Food Dye!” and I collect guest bloggers’ personal stories too. I learned that Mommy and Daddy can also have reactions to *petroleum* dyes! We even have reactions after consuming natural annatto color, found in loads of cheesy crackers, sauces, and baked goods. I encourage parents to post any questions on the DFD Facebook page, as our growing community of experienced moms are there to help! Markey’s link to Feingold is super helpful too. Loads of research there! Thanks for writing about this.ReplyCancel

    • landriav - Thanks so much for posting Rebecca! Very interesting and good for you for making a difference. Good luck in your quest and thank you for doing what you’re doing!ReplyCancel

  • Markey - Another good link is It is a Yahoo group for Feingolders and those wishing to learn more about avoiding dyes and other nasty additives.ReplyCancel

  • Alex - I can ALWAYS tell when one of my girls has eaten something technicolor. It is almost like a Jekyll/Hyde situation! We have completely eliminated food dyes from our diet at home. But, they are pervasive, and outside our house, the kids are constantly being offered brightly colored treats–school, play dates, birthday parties. I feel so strongly that these petrochemicals are dangerous. My 7 year old gets it and picks alternatives when she can, but usually there aren’t non-colored choices.ReplyCancel

    • landriav - Thanks for posting this Alex! I love hearing how you’ve noticed the difference, and changed things. It’s not only inspiring, but it helps others to hear the difference you’ve discovered as well. It’s a constant battle, especially out of the home, isn’t it? Maybe the FDA will actually help us with this one, at some point, and then more people will take this nasty chemical our kids consume a bit more seriously.ReplyCancel

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