Skip to main content

Food Trends: Artificial Food Dyes- what’s the verdict?

How about all that chatter this week regarding artificial food dyes?  Not only was this in the news, blog posts, all over my facebook but it was also a big story on Good Morning America.  The FDA’s advisory panel was to finally attend a “colorthon” for two days this week to discuss a hypothesized correlation between food dyes and hyperactivity.

Some studies have linked food dyes to hyperactivity in children and even suggest it could predispose to different Cancers.  After reviewing this evidence, the British government mandated manufacturers to display government warnings on all foods containing food dyes.  Guess what happened?  Suddenly companies were substituting beet extract in place of the red dye #40.  Fooducate ™ alerted me to the fact that Kellogg’s changed the red dye #40 in their Nutrigrain Bars to beet extract in Britain but no changes have been made in the United States. 

Although the FDA labeled food dyes such as red dye #40 and yellow #5 as generally recommended as safe (GRAS) many parents and some clinician’s recommend to stay as far away from food dyes as possible.

I myself have some personal experience with sensitivity to dyes. My three year old displayed a delayed onset allergy to red dye #3 this winter.  The onset of hives and difficulty breathing were scary for me, as I have lived with severe allergies and asthma since I can remember.  I felt I was very lucky to be a dietitian as I believe I quickly found the culprit but there really is no certain way to know if this was the issue because there is no test for a specific dye allergy.

Either way, I decided to remove all red dye from my house the day my son was put on prednisone and have not looked back.  It is worth mentioning, however, how upset I was when the pharmacy handed me a generic form of prednisone that was red. Thankfully, I asked the pharmacist to check if this was natural.  Guess what? Yes, you guessed it red dye #40.  The very nice pharmacist switched this right out for me and since then we have been hive free in this household.

Thankfully I had always chosen dye free products for my children prior to this event, , but looking through everything else was a horrifying experience.  The toothpaste, bubble bath, most flavored yogurts, Jell-o, macaroni and cheese, Tylenols, Benadryl, and most vitamins. It was a big job!

So, what came about the “colorthon?”  Well, the LA Times just published that the meeting is over and the FDA is not convinced there is enough evidence to link food dyes to hyperactivity.  They suggest further studies. As far as Cancers and food allergies, they feel the same. We need more research.

In the meantime, with my Mom hat on, I say go with your gut.  Fresh foods are always your best bets.  When looking at ingredient lists avoid any of the food colorings listed as well as annatto and tartrazine (yellow dye) and carmine (red dye).  It’s also worth avoiding anything that’s honey flavored or lists artificial coloring.  Are your children sensitive to food colorings?  I’d love to hear your story.  Be well!

Comments

DanielsMom said…
sWhat are the chances of a delayed onset of a sensitivity to a food dye which causes uncontrollable fits of rage. Beyond a temper tantrum.
Ask Amy said…
Hi DanielsMom. There are thoughts that food dyes can attribute to hyperactivity. I also have experience with food intolerance reactions to dyes that are delayed. My recommendation is to always try an elimnation diet and then reassess symptoms etc. If you would like help with an elimination diet please feel free to email me at agoldsmith@kindrednutrition.com.

Popular posts from this blog

The Truth Behind Clean Eating

A quick trip to the grocery store or chain restaurant and you will likely be bombarded with the concept of “clean eating” foods that claim to be “organic”, “natural”, “non GMO”, and “gluten free”. There is also the laundry list of foods you should avoid such as high fructose corn syrup, processed foods, and various toxins or chemicals. As a consumer it can be very overwhelming and intimidating to choose which foods are best for you.
While clean eating is not a new sensation, it has become increasingly popular in part due to misinformation on social media. Fear mongering is the latest marketing strategy in which companies are deliberately arousing fear in consumers to help sell their product. For example, products claim to be non-GMO when in fact it is not produced as a GMO food in the first place. There are only 8 genetically modified crops commercially prepared in the U.S. Products that have never contained gluten have a “Gluten free” label on them. Then there is the irrational conce…

You are what you eat BUT it takes longer than a day!

Recent research by Cornell University published a week ago in the New England Journal of Medicine proves that holiday weight gain does happen and most of it is from October to about ten days after Christmas.  The study analyzed 3,000 individuals over a years time focusing on daily weights that were collected and analyzed by a wireless Withings Scale.

Although the average weight gain from October to November was only 1.3 pounds this may prove that holiday weight gain is not a myth. Of interest, the study also showed that fifty percent lost the weight shortly after the holiday season while it took the other fifty percent about five months to lose the excess weight, shortly after Easter.
Author Dr. Wansink advises “Instead of a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, have an October resolution not to gain too much weight in the first place. Then you won’t have to worry about five months of struggling."
At Kindred Nutrition we tend to agree with Dr. Wansink's advice.  Our society is s…

Make it Happen

Parents, I see you. I see you putting everyone else's needs in front of yours. I see your dark circles under your eyes, your gray hair, that your wasting away, or that you've collectively gained weight over the years. It's time to put yourselves first because if you don't take care of yourself you won't be around to keep taking care of everyone else.

So often friends, acquaintances, or clients say to me, "I don't know how you find the time to exercise." "How can you take the time away from everything else and get away to exercise?" "I wish I could actually focus on myself and exercise."

Exercise to me is self care. It produces endorphins faster than any other activity I engage in. It  reduces my stress, keeps me healthy, increases flexibility, and gives me more energy to be on point with my busy kids and my demanding job.

My exercise isn't extravagant and it doesn't take too much time. Here's my secret. I always work e…