Food Dyes and Hyperactivity in Children: Some News, A Guest Blog Post and a Book Giveaway

by Bettina Elias Siegel on March 30, 2011

For decades, some scientists and consumer advocates have believed there’s a possible link between the consumption of artificial food dyes and hyperactivity, at least in some children.  If that’s true, there’s serious cause for concern:  as recounted in a recent Washington Post op-ed on the subject, there’s been a five-fold increase in the per-capita production of food dyes over the past 50 years.

Finally, after a long history of affirming the safety of artificial dyes, the Food and Drug Administration has agreed to hold hearings on the subject, which begin today.   (You can read more about the hearings in today’s New York Times, here.)

Whatever you think of the validity of these concerns, one thing is clear. American manufacturers already know how to make colorful food products without reliance on petroleum-based dyes.  And how do we know this?  Because they’re already doing so in European countries where the regulation of food dyes is far stricter than in the United States.

A little later today I’ll share a guest blog post from Robyn McCord O’Brien on this subject, and I’ll also be giving away to Lunch Tray readers three free copies of Robyn’s thought-provoking book, The Unhealthy Truth.

Stay tuned!

 

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Christina @ Spoonfed March 30, 2011 at 7:17 am

Of all the chemical food additives, food dyes infuriate me the most, since there’s absolutely no legitimate reason to use them. I’ve written a lot about this subject (and I know you’ve kindly linked to some of that work in the past). But I’ve catalogued the posts here: http://spoonfedblog.net/2011/03/27/food-dye-news-every-skeptic-should-read/ Hope that’s helpful for people.

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Bettina Elias Siegel March 30, 2011 at 8:07 am

Christina – thanks for sharing the link. I know you’ve been on this issue for a long time and I’m glad TLT readers can easily find your posts.

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Central Restaurant Products March 30, 2011 at 7:40 am

Items like this always make me question why we don’t take more nutrition cues from other countries. So many items are more regulated elsewhere, they have set the examples, we have the ability to change it, yet we continue on. I can’t help but wonder how long it will be before more people (especially parents) are fighting for us to not try to reinvent the wheel, but first look at other working models and draw from them.

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Bettina Elias Siegel March 30, 2011 at 8:06 am

CRP- I know. Depressing. The whole EU model is that safety must be proven first, whereas in the US, there is often a presumption of safety (or just inadequate oversight) and then we work backwards to remove substances proven unsafe. I don’t know a lot about the regulatory process in the UK but my guess is that the influence of corporate lobbyists must be far more curtailed than it is in the US.

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Bri March 30, 2011 at 9:14 am

All I could think as I watched the brief news coverage of this story this morning was: Thank goodness — now all the people who have been on my case about why I’m making “such a big deal about nothing” may have a little jolt of reality. It’s not “nothing.” It’s “something.” The problem is that, as with all the nasties in our food supply that we “wacky” advocates for change have been shouting about, the fact that our government has committed such a large sin of omission in its management of what we are allowed to consume has caused us to believe that there is no reason to be alarmed. Now maybe some people will think twice…

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Bettina Elias Siegel March 30, 2011 at 11:12 am

It’s funny – I personally hadn’t been very plugged into this issue since my kids don’t consume a lot of this stuff and we don’t have issues with ADHD. But even from my distant perch, it’s been interesting to watch this topic go from the “health kook” category to something suitable for the network news. I’m sure there are many out there who feel very vindicated.

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Bri March 30, 2011 at 12:24 pm

I have to say, I didn’t think I was particularly plugged in either — since, like you, I haven’t found that my kids seem to have a marked response of any kind to food dyes, and since they don’t consume many of them because we tend to eat mainly scratch-made foods. But when I did my recent post about trying to make naturally colored icing for my little one’s birthday cake, I took some ribbing for it from acquaintances and was really surprised at how dismissive people were of the concern. I can only imagine how good today’s events must feel to parents whose kids are really affected adversely by these ingredients, since I’m feeling somewhat smugly satisfied myself!

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Buffalo Chiropractor May 4, 2011 at 3:45 pm

http://www.GardenofHealthBuffalo.com

Great Article! Every time I think about a child (person) with a learning disability I ask the question: Is drugging the child a vitalistic approach? Will that drug raise that child’s health so that he / she can be more, do more and achieve a greater impact on fellow human beings. The research is out – and the answer is NO. You must understand that a child that cannot learn will not be any brighter while being drugged. Interestingly, MD’s in the US prescribe five times the quantity of stimulants for children as MD’s in other countries. Many parents worry about drugging their children for multiple reasons. Their thoughts “Is there another way?” Absolutely! Chiropractic offers a child the ability to be at their best without drugs. As a parent I urge you to get your child’s spine evaluated to see if chiropractic can help your child. When as humanitarians are we going to stop lowering self achievement and start to deal with the cause of the problem? Healthier people for a healthier planet.

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Aaron Schloemer March 30, 2012 at 5:58 am

The reason food dyes and gmos, and pesticides are in our food and in our childrens food is…..ta da MONEY….Monsanto and health care industry are like boyfriend and girlfriend…the government and monsanto poison us, then we get sick and go to hospital…

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