Op Ed: Attention Deficit, Hyperactivity and Colorful Things to Eat

Op Ed: Attention Deficit, Hyperactivity and Colorful Things to Eat post image
This is a new feature where I let off some steam about events related to health and nutrition in the media. This is where I let my inherent sarcasm rise to the surface and splinter the lunacy we call evidence based medicine. – See more at: http://realfoodforager.com/op-ed-oppositional-editorial-double-mastectomy/#sthash.imDGWhl1.dpuf
This is a new feature where I let off some steam about events related to health and nutrition in the media. This is where I let my inherent sarcasm rise to the surface and splinter the lunacy we call evidence based medicine. – See more at: http://realfoodforager.com/op-ed-oppositional-editorial-double-mastectomy/#sthash.imDGWhl1.dpuf

This is a new feature where I let off some steam about events related to health and nutrition. This is where I let my inherent sarcasm rise to the surface and splinter the lunacy we call evidence based medicine. I call it Oppositional Editorial because I usually think things should be exactly the opposite of what convention says.

Have you looked at the candy aisle lately — or looked at some of the new candy that is marketed to children ? I would NEVER allow that, and I just cringe when I see parents giving their children so much multicolored candy. I want to ask the mother why she lets her children eat that toxic junk. But I control myself, smile and walk away. When my son was little I never allowed him such things to the chagrin of some relatives. Am I a killjoy? I don’t think so.

Food Dyes linked to Attention Deficit and Behavior Problems in Children

This study of hyperactivity and food dyes included a meta-analysis of 15 double-blind clinical trials that evaluated artificial food coloring in children already considered to be hyperactive. The studies showed an increase in their hyperactive behavior and concluded that,

these data suggest that it is best to avoid exposing children to artificial food coloring.

Do we really need studies to know this? I guess so. We need studies so that concerned parents can go before congress and diligently show that “science” backs up their common sense and common knowledge. Then and only then can we ask that congress ban the use of these potentially carcinogenic and neurotoxic substances from food (or the junk they call food).

The European Parliment Requires a Warning Label

In 2009, the European Parliment required foods containing six tested dyes to carry a label warning that these products,

may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.

Isn’t that reminiscent of the warning on a pack of cigarettes? However, to avoid warning labels on their products in Europe, many foodmakers — including U.S.-based companies such as Kellogg and Mars International — replaced the six tested dyes with other dyes, including some natural ones made from fruits and vegetables.

Wouldn’t it make sense to use dyes made of all natural substances all the time? The problem with natural coloring is that is it not as vibrant as artificial and it fades after a while. In addition, and probably most importantly, it is more expensive to use natural colorings.

The FDA is Married to the Food Industry

It’s all in the hands of the powerful food corporations and the Food and Drug Administration.

That worries me.

But now, at least we have science on our side. In fact, this has been taken seriously and a Food and Drug Administration advisory committee has begun a review of the research on the behavioral effects of artificial dyes. This is significant because previously the FDA denied that dyes have any influence on children’s behavior. An FDA staff report concluded that synthetic food colorings do affect some children. Hallelujah!

The Issue Goes Back To 1906

As early as 1906, congress was considering whether or not artificial dyes were bad for us. More recently, in 1960, congress banned color additives that caused cancer in humans or animals. Red dye #3 was found to cause thyroid cancer in rats. However, lobbyists for the fruit cocktail producers were successful in keeping it in the food supply, and banned red #3 only in cosmetics and topical drugs. This is an example of how the FDA protects the public from harmful substances.

More Carcinogens Found in the 1990’s

Three of the most widely used dyes; red#49, yellow #5 and yellow #6 were found to harbor likely human carcinogens in the early 1990’s. However the synergistic carcinogenic potential of multiple dyes has never been tested. And there are many products that utilize more than one color, such as M & M’s and other many other candies and so called foods.

Recent Brohaha with Kraft’s Mac & Cheese

Recently there was a serious issue in the news concerning the colorings (yellow dyes #5 and #6 that are known carcinogens) that are in the US version of Kraft Mac & Cheese. Apparently Kraft saw fit to continue to use the toxic colorings in the US version of their product, but were forced to use a safe, natural coloring in Europe due to safely laws there.

Vani Hari from Food Babe and Lisa Leake from 100 Days of Real Food lead a popular petition (over 270,000 signatures) to stop this nonsense. They even appeared on a Doctor Oz segment. They were truly awesome! You go girls!

It is simply outrageous that an American food company will choose to sell a product — one that is clearly marketed to children with fun characters and colors on the box — that is full of toxic dyes that make children sick physically and behaviorally. The product with the natural colors has a much more subdued box and is not targeted at kids.

Frankly, I don’t think Mac & Cheese in any version is a good food option.  When you are gluten or grain free and dairy free, Mac & Cheese is not on the menu. But, that’s me. The larger issue is the important part here.

I just don’t understand why we need food colorings at all. There are so many beautiful colors in natural foods — vegetables and fruits are vibrant with color. Teach your children to appreciate the vibrant colors in nature by presenting them with natural, real food. These colorful natural foods are what they need to eat without influence by greedy food companies.

I never allowed my son to eat candy. It just wasn’t an option. He brought home the candy his teachers gave out (!!) and traded it in for small toys or chocolate. I did allow chocolate. To this day he does not eat candy and does not crave sugar. That is a gift to give someone and I am so glad I stood my ground on that issue.

What about you? How do you keep toxic foods away from your children? Leave a comment and let me know!

Shared at: Small Footprint Friday

Photo Credit

Did you ever see little children walking around with multicolored faces after eating some ices or candy that stains their mouth? I just cringe when I see this. And I want to ask the mother why she lets her children eat that toxic junk. But I control myself, smile and walk away. I guess I am just different. When my son was little I never gave him such things. Am I a killjoy? I don’t think so.

As dangerous as these food additives and food dyes are chemically, it is much more dangerous in what it is teaching children. It teaches children to think that brightly, artificially colored foods are better for them, because it is attractive to them. These is how childhood obesity starts.

Two studies have been published in a British medical journal that concluded that food dyes can stimulate hyperactivity in children who had no known behavior problems before. Do we really need studies to know this? I guess so. We need studies so that concerned parents can go before congress and diligently show that “science” backs up their common sense and common knowledge. Then and only then can we ask that congress ban the use of these potentially carcinogenic and neurotoxic substances from food.

In 2009, the European Parliament required foods containing the six tested dyes to carry a label warning that products “may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.” Isn’t that reminisant of the warning on a pack of cigarettes? However, to avoid warning labels on their products in Europe, many foodmakers — including U.S.-based companies such as Kellogg and Mars International — replaced the six dyes with other dyes, including some natural ones made from fruits and vegetables. Wouldn’t it make sense to use dyes made of all natural substances all the time? The problem with natural coloring is that is it not as vibrant as artificial and it fades after a while. In addition it is more expensive to use natural colorings.

It’s all in the hands of the powerful food corporations and the Food and Drug Administration. That worries me. But now, at least we have science on our side. In fact, this has been taken seriously and a Food and Drug Administration advisory committee will begin a review of the research on the behavioral effects of artificial dyes. This is significant because previously the FDA denied that dyes have any influence on children’s behavior. An FDA staff report released last week concluded that synthetic food colorings do affect some children. Hallelujah!

As early as 1906, congress was considering whether or not artificial dyes were bad for us. More recently, in 1960, congress banned color additives that caused cancer in humans or animals. Red dye #3 was found to cause thyroid cancer in rats. However, lobbyists for the fruit cocktail producers were successful in keeping it in the food supply, and banned red #3 only in cosmetics and topical drugs. This is an example of how the FDA protects the public from harmful substances.

Three of the most widely used dyes; red#49, yellow #5 and yellow #6 were found to harbor likely human carcinogens in the early 1990′s. However the synergistic carcinogenic potential of multiple dyes has never been tested. And there are many products that utilize more than one color, for example M & M’s and other candy. I just don’t understand why we need food colorings at all. They sure look cool on Easter eggs, but why do we have to eat it? Teach your children to appreciate the vibrant colors in nature by presenting them with natural, real food.

See Follow-up to this article here.

Resources:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/food-dyes-favor-fades-as-possible-links-to-hyperactivity-emerge/2011/03/24/AFmAhoYB_story.html?fb_ref=NetworkNewshttp

www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/fda-examines-links-between-food-dyes-and-hyperactivity-in-children/2011/03/30/AF1Q2f0B_story.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/food-dyes-favor-fades-as-possible-links-to-hyperactivity-emerge/2011/03/24/AFmAhoYB_story.html

– See more at: http://realfoodforager.com/the-dark-side-of-bright-food/#sthash.18fI0BU4.dpuf

Did you ever see little children walking around with multicolored faces after eating some ices or candy that stains their mouth? I just cringe when I see this. And I want to ask the mother why she lets her children eat that toxic junk. But I control myself, smile and walk away. I guess I am just different. When my son was little I never gave him such things. Am I a killjoy? I don’t think so.

As dangerous as these food additives and food dyes are chemically, it is much more dangerous in what it is teaching children. It teaches children to think that brightly, artificially colored foods are better for them, because it is attractive to them. These is how childhood obesity starts.

Two studies have been published in a British medical journal that concluded that food dyes can stimulate hyperactivity in children who had no known behavior problems before. Do we really need studies to know this? I guess so. We need studies so that concerned parents can go before congress and diligently show that “science” backs up their common sense and common knowledge. Then and only then can we ask that congress ban the use of these potentially carcinogenic and neurotoxic substances from food.

In 2009, the European Parliament required foods containing the six tested dyes to carry a label warning that products “may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.” Isn’t that reminisant of the warning on a pack of cigarettes? However, to avoid warning labels on their products in Europe, many foodmakers — including U.S.-based companies such as Kellogg and Mars International — replaced the six dyes with other dyes, including some natural ones made from fruits and vegetables. Wouldn’t it make sense to use dyes made of all natural substances all the time? The problem with natural coloring is that is it not as vibrant as artificial and it fades after a while. In addition it is more expensive to use natural colorings.

It’s all in the hands of the powerful food corporations and the Food and Drug Administration. That worries me. But now, at least we have science on our side. In fact, this has been taken seriously and a Food and Drug Administration advisory committee will begin a review of the research on the behavioral effects of artificial dyes. This is significant because previously the FDA denied that dyes have any influence on children’s behavior. An FDA staff report released last week concluded that synthetic food colorings do affect some children. Hallelujah!

As early as 1906, congress was considering whether or not artificial dyes were bad for us. More recently, in 1960, congress banned color additives that caused cancer in humans or animals. Red dye #3 was found to cause thyroid cancer in rats. However, lobbyists for the fruit cocktail producers were successful in keeping it in the food supply, and banned red #3 only in cosmetics and topical drugs. This is an example of how the FDA protects the public from harmful substances.

Three of the most widely used dyes; red#49, yellow #5 and yellow #6 were found to harbor likely human carcinogens in the early 1990′s. However the synergistic carcinogenic potential of multiple dyes has never been tested. And there are many products that utilize more than one color, for example M & M’s and other candy. I just don’t understand why we need food colorings at all. They sure look cool on Easter eggs, but why do we have to eat it? Teach your children to appreciate the vibrant colors in nature by presenting them with natural, real food.

See Follow-up to this article here.

Resources:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/food-dyes-favor-fades-as-possible-links-to-hyperactivity-emerge/2011/03/24/AFmAhoYB_story.html?fb_ref=NetworkNewshttp

www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/fda-examines-links-between-food-dyes-and-hyperactivity-in-children/2011/03/30/AF1Q2f0B_story.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/food-dyes-favor-fades-as-possible-links-to-hyperactivity-emerge/2011/03/24/AFmAhoYB_story.html

– See more at: http://realfoodforager.com/the-dark-side-of-bright-food/#sthash.18fI0BU4.dpuf

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  • Tessa@TessaTheDomesticDiva June 14, 2013, 8:38 am

    This is a majot hot button issue for me too Jill! I feel like I could have written half of your words! When I tried to change it up at my kid;s school where Smarties are handed out as a reward for positive behavior, I was flat out denied by the principal (Wasn’t interested in altering a popular program…as if Smarties were the only reward they could hand oUT!!! And you’ll love this, he even said that his father was a dentist and that there was more sugar in toothpaste than in a roll of smarties…) The parent club was excruciatingly silent when I went to them to see if anyone else was interested in changing the type of reward they handed out……Since I have been labeled as a health nut and I am sure there are some eye rolls when I come in with some of ones so set in their ways. But these same people are the ones pounding sodas and candy too….
    We have labeled it food paint in our home and have had LOTS of discussions about why they are not a good food choice and now my kids point it out on their own. “Oh we don’t want that mommy, it has bright colors! Those are not good for your body and make your brain crazy) I know they really DO want those things though, so I continue to hold out and insist they thing they have at the very least do not have the food dyes. I have a child with ADD and know these things will only make a challenging situation even worse. Why our consumers can’t demand the same as Europe’s is bey9ond me.

    Reply
    • Jill June 14, 2013, 12:55 pm

      Hi Tessa,
      Thanks for sharing your comments. When my son was in elementary school, there was a child with juvenile diabetes. Her mother was not particularly a “health nut” but of course she was concerned when teachers insisted on handing out pure sugar candy for rewards. I remember her telling me she went to the administrators and they too denied her request to limit the types of candy handed out. Truly pathetic.

      Reply
  • Beth June 14, 2013, 2:36 pm

    There are plenty of school accomodations that are required by law if a child has a specific disability such as diabetes.

    My son has an ADHD diag nosis, as well as a pragmatic communication impairment and we have asked the school not to allow him anything with dyes or added sugar. I pack his lunches. They have a program (sponsored by Dole brands) that distributes fresh produce snack twice a week, which is well intentioned and where I live, probably the only fruit or vegetable some kids get. But they hand out conventional produce handled who-knows-how (washed? did the handler wash hands?), packed in toxic plastic packaging and provided with a packet of Kraft fat free MSG, er, ranch dip……grrrrr……..so I do not allow himi to have that either. I, too, am labeled the health nut.

    Reply
    • Jill June 14, 2013, 3:25 pm

      Hi Beth,
      Sadly, well intentioned as it is, there is so much most people do not know about the food they eat.

      At after school gatherings for kids there would ALWAYS be a snack that the moms would bring. I was the only one bringing little mandarins or some other fruit. I realized that what I brought cost the most — but many kids choose the fruit over the cookies.

      Reply
  • Katie @ countercultureliving.com June 22, 2013, 11:27 am

    Thank you so much for this post!! I totally agree. The mom you spoke of probably had no clue what she was giving her child, and I am excited to be finishing my program in holistic nutrition so that I can help educate the public. I have shared your post on both my blog page and personal Facebook page. Keep relaying the truth!

    Reply
  • Jenny June 27, 2013, 7:51 pm

    Whats even more sad and anger producing is when grandparents will not follow the parents decisions on food, going so far as to make fun of them or sneaking the child the food behind the parent’s backs. This child is my granddaughter who is 15 months old. She CANNOT speak for herself and is going to take whatever is given to her. My daughter and son-in-law are trying very, very hard in this messed up world to limit what junk, poison, cancer-producing, chemically laden food, whatever or all of the above, they can from their daughter’s diet. I seriously want to smack the other grandparents and I do mean exactly that, hit very hard. And by the way, until last year I worked in a school cafeteria. That was beyond depressing and anger producing. The year I quit the lunch program changed to letting jelly and margarine on the line for biscuits, but God forbid they have butter. One of only many changes I could not take. Thanks for letting ME rant.

    Reply
    • Jill June 28, 2013, 7:09 am

      Hi Jenny,
      I hear you. I get worked up about these things too and family seems to be the most difficult aspect of getting people on board. Some family members are just totally uncooperative. I hear you…

      Reply