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Celebration Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-03-08 06:29 PM
Original message
The Truth About Food Dye

Food dyes are synthetic chemicals and you've seen them on many an ingredient list. They've got names like "Red 40" and "Blue 2." Without them, your cheesy macaroni might not be yellow and your fruit punch might not be red. Thousands of grocery store items contain artificial food dyes. We even spotted a package of "100% Real" potato au gratin today that gets its golden hue from 100 percent real "Yellow 5 Lake" and "Yellow 6 Lake."

There have been a lot of studies on the effects of artificial food dyes on children, dating back to the 1970s. Some showed that food dyes could cause behavioral problems in children, and others didn't. But a few years ago, an analysis of 21 of the most conclusive studies found compelling evidence that, indeed, artificial dyes could contribute to hyperactivity, restlessness, and attention problems in some children particularly those with ADHD. What's more, the studies suggested that removing dyes from those children's diet was a quarter to half as effective in reducing those symptoms as giving the kids Ritalin or other stimulants. In other words, certain kids with ADHD might not need drugs if the artificial dyes were removed from their diets.

Kids like color; thus artificial dyes are most prevalent in products that appeal to children such as snack foods and cereals. Parents who want to avoid artificial dyes can find it's a complicated process requiring careful examination of each ingredient label. One brand of tortilla chip may contain two dyes while the brand sitting right next to it contains none. Just because a food item is white or pale-colored is no guarantee is does not contain dyes. Trader Joe's and Whole Foods claim the products they sell contain no artificial dyes, but not every shopper has access to those chains. And of course, restaurants don't post ingredient lists on their menus!

The FDA continues to maintain that artificial dyes are safe, citing numerous studies that found no ill effects. But today the Center for Science in the Public Interest called on the FDA to ban eight of the most common artificial dyes, or at least affix a warning label to products that contain them: "Warning: The artificial coloring in this food causes hyperactivity and behavioral problems in some children."

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KT2000 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-03-08 06:35 PM
Response to Original message
1. Saw a study recently
that found when two colors were combined in the stomach, it created a very potent neurotoxin.
Still searching for the study and will post if I find it.
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-03-08 06:40 PM
Response to Original message
2. Food colorings are synthetic chemicals. Unless they aren't.
The food colorants cochineal and carmine are made from ground bugs

I'd like to see the studies related in the OP article. CSPI doesn't exactly have a great track record:
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Celebration Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-03-08 07:50 PM
Response to Reply #2
7. the studies are linked off the CSPI website

The 2004 meta-analysis and two recent studies funded by the British government are linked in full, if you are interested. I haven't read them.

I'm not exactly a huge CSPI fan. Whether this particular proposal is a good idea, I don't know. However, it seems really, really easy not to put dye into foods, and if it could keep some kids off ritalin, I think they should probably be banned, or at least warnings should be put on the foods.
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depakid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-03-08 06:41 PM
Response to Original message
3. No reason whatsoever to purchase products with dyes in them
Pickles, for example. Some manufacturers use yellow dye when they could easily use tumeric- or none at all.

It's pretty much common sense to avoid unnecessary crap like that.
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-03-08 06:43 PM
Response to Original message
4. I always tell parents two things.
First, get the kid evaluated by a competent professional, not just the school.

Second, try a natural foods diet for a couple of weeks. See what happens. It'll take that long to get an appointment to get the kid tested. It's worth a try.

If the diet doesn't work and ADHD is confirmed, the drugs can be miracle workers.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-03-08 07:00 PM
Response to Original message
5. Some dyes are ridiculously overused.
Like when juice is sold inside an opaque container like a juice box or a Capri Sun pouch. The consumer never even sees the liquid - why does it need to be colored?

But the opposite extreme has issues, too. Everybody wants a "smoking gun" for something that makes their kid "not normal," whatever normal means. It's the vaccines! No, idiot, it's the food dyes! No, you're both stupid, it's pasteurized milk! And each person has a browser full of bookmarks "proving" their point and the others wrong.
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watrwefitinfor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-03-08 07:04 PM
Response to Original message
6. I remember studies showing some of the coloring agents were carcinogenic.
Whatever happened to that data?

Also, OTC meds for kids are absolutely brimming over with these coloring agents - reds especially. Give a kid a little cough syrup and next thing you have a sick kid bouncing off walls.

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WildClarySage Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-04-08 06:37 AM
Response to Reply #6
8. And when that kid throws up, look out,
your comforter has a red spot that never ever goes away.

trust me on this one... :-(
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BridgeTheGap Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-06-08 06:54 AM
Response to Original message
9. I've known a number of parents who got their kids off these dyes
and saw a marked turn around in the behavior of their children. They may not have same effect on everyone, but if you know some one who has a "problem child," eliminating these dyes is a good place to start!
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