Health

Mitzi Dulan: Do Food Dyes Cause Hyperactive Behavior in Kids?

| by Mitzi Dulan

The presence of dyes in our food supply has become a hot topic of late. Food dyes were first questioned in the 1970s by a pediatrician who claimed to link their consumption with hyperactive behavior. Since then, we seem to have more questions than answers.  

For some background, food dyes are added for aesthetic purposes and contain no nutritional value. Therefore, foods targeted towards children are more likely to contain food dyes than those aimed for adults. It’s much easier to get an adult to eat an all-natural whole grain cereal (sometimes!) than a child.

Are you consuming food dyes? Check the ingredients list of the foods you eat.  Any time you spot Red #40, Yellow #5 or any color and number combination, that’s a food dye.  Below is a snap shot of the ingredients in Fruit Loops cereal which contains a mixture of red, blue, and yellow dyes.

So where does the issue stand today? This past March, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) revisited the topic and found insufficient evidence that food dyes are responsible for causing hyperactive behavior in the normal population.  

However, the FDA does acknowledge that some research shows limiting consumption in children with attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) improves behavior. To read more about the FDAs stance of food dyes, click here.

Choosing natural foods is always a great nutritional motto to have. Plus…they don’t contain food dyes!  While avoiding food dyes completely may be extreme measure, limiting processed foods in your diet is a healthy goal to work towards. So check the facts, check the label, check the food dyes at the door!

Research assistance provided by Jessica Bennett