Many years ago, I came across an article written by a mother whose child was struggling with severe behavioral problems both at home and at school. The mother went through years of struggle trying to figure out what was wrong with her daughter. She didn’t have the behavioral outbursts all of the time but when she did it was alarming. What were her triggers? Why was she struggling at times and other times she was perfectly fine? These were questions that sent the mother on a quest to find answers.
Surprisingly, after many behavior interventions and psychologist visits, the answer came from a visit to a new pediatrician. This pediatrician gave her a perspective that totally dumbfounded her! Her daughter had a hypersensitivity to certain foods and they were triggering something in her brain that would then cause her daughter’s extreme behaviors. The triggers were foods with certain food dyes: Red 40 & 3, Yellow 5 & 6, Citrus Red 2, Blue 1 & 2. After removing those dyes from her daughter’s diet and product use, she stopped having the behavior problems entirely!
After reading that article, it really led me to start reading more about the effects of food dyes and coloring. I was equally as astonished as that mom once I started to discover what food dyes can do to the brain and the body, especially in a person or child that has a sensitivity or unknown allergy to them. During my reading, I also discovered that European countries have banned many of the food dyes that food companies in the United States are allowed to place in foods. The dyes that they do permit use of must be labeled with the numerous health risks, such as hyperactivity, cancer, tumors, asthma and allergies, just to name a few.
Now you may be saying, “my parents didn’t pay attention to the foods I ate and I was fine.” That may be the case, but fast forward 20 to 30 years later and the synthetic dyes and additives that are put in foods, shampoos, drinks, etc. have changed and increased in the amount, toxicity and frequency of use. The boxed mac and cheese that we used to eat when we were young is not the same boxed mac and cheese that kids are eating today.
Some of the dangerous dyes are found in products and foods that we consume and use everyday such as cosmetics, soaps, shampoo, yogurt, ice cream, cereal, oatmeal, granola bars, fruit snacks, cookies, chips, cheese crackers, mac & cheese, lemonade, cake, children’s pain medicine, cake & cake icing, colored candy, lip balms toothpastes, body wash, gelatin, sodas, cereal bars, sunscreen, baked goods, gelatin, sugary drinks, fruit juices, condiments and cheeses to name a few. The research is mind-blowing and worthy to be looked into if you are concerned about the health and long-term well being of your family.
Although I don’t want to promote or cite a specific resource, I will say there is so much research available online and elsewhere. I encourage parents to start doing your own research and consult your doctor and your child’s pediatrician for additional resources and facts on the effects of food dyes and additives on the well being of your family’s health and wellness.
Application: Start reading all of the nutritional and ingredient labels on the products and foods you purchase and do your research on the possible short-term and long-term effects of the ingredients you see. Especially pay attention to food dyes, additives, artificial flavors, preservatives and ingredients you can’t pronounce. If you are concerned that a certain product or ingredient may be affecting someone in your family in some way, start a food diary or product journal to document what you are experiencing or seeing. It will help your doctor narrow down possibilities. It’s important to note that even if you can’t see any outward effects of the above-mentioned things, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t having inward effects and damage to the body that you can’t see! Do your research!