Do you suspect food dyes are causing problems?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Sara PA, Jun 7, 2008.

  1. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    Here's an article about a group that wants to get 8 specific food dyes banned because they allegedly cause behavior problems is children. One side says the research supports the idea, other side says it doesn't. The reason I'm posting is because at the bottom are the names of the 8 dyes that are involved in the discussion. I thought it might be of value for anyone who wants to try to limit her childrens' exposure.

    Consumer Group Seeks Ban on Some Food Dyes

    By Kevin Freking
    Associated Press
    Wednesday, June 4, 2008;

    A consumer advocacy group called on the Food and Drug Administration yesterday to ban the use of eight artificial colorings in food, asserting that the additives may cause hyperactivity and behavior problems in some children.

    Controlled studies over three decades have shown that children's behavior can be worsened by some dyes, said the Center for Science in the Public Interest. The group noted that the British government had successfully pressured manufacturers to switch to safer colorings.

    Over the years, the FDA has consistently disputed the center's assertion. The agency's Web site says: "Although this hypothesis was popularized in the 1970s, well-controlled studies since then have produced no evidence that food additives cause hyperactivity or learning disabilities in children."

    Julie Zawisza, an FDA spokeswoman, said that color additives undergo safety reviews before approval and that samples of each artificial coloring are tested. She said the agency reviewed one of the studies that the center cites in calling for a ban.

    "[We] didn't find a reason to change our conclusions that the ingredients are safe for the general population," Zawisza said. "Also note that the European Food Safety Agency has a similar view as FDA's."

    Dyes are in countless foods, sometimes to simulate the color of fruits or vegetables. They are particularly prevalent in cereals, candies, sodas and snacks pitched to kids.

    "The purpose of these chemicals is often to mask the absence of real food, to increase the appeal of a low-nutrition product to children, or both," said the center's executive director, Michael F. Jacobson. "Who can tell the parents of kids with behavioral problems that this is truly worth the risk?"

    The petition asks the FDA to require a warning label on foods with artificial dyes while it considers the group's request to ban the dyes. The colorings the center seeks to ban are: Yellow 5, Red 40, Blue 1, Blue 2, Green 3, Orange B, Red 3, and Yellow 6.
  2. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    We've long held that red dyes in particular, and other colors cause issues in our son. Like the dental amalgrams, they cause problems for a subpopulation, but the fact is, over the long term, say, 70 yrs, chemicals add up and cause cancer in everyone. One pkg of M&Ms won't kill you ... today. But combine it with-the plastic particles released from bottled water, plastic wraps that go in the microwave, silver mercury fillings, preservatives in hot dogs, artificial hormones, etc., and you've made your body work more than overtime and increased your chances of cancer immensely.
    We also do not use MSG on our Chinese foods. I really don't care if the colors are bright. I'd rather go home with-o a roaring headache.
    There is SO much stuff out there that you really have to be your own advocate.
    Also, we are way behind other countries because, as capitalists, we are loathe to punish corporations by using the law; we prefer to publicize and let the public decide (buyer beware). But the public has a very short memory and time and again, we will stop buying something, only to forget a cpl mo's later and start buying it again as though nothing happened. So countries with-more hardline gov't approaches are more successful at banning thinkg with-o a huge public outcry.
  3. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    MSG is used in Asian cuisine not to enhance colors but to enhance flavor. MSG was an unidentified component in flavor enhancing substances used in traditional Asian cooking. When MSG was identified, it was produced and sold as a stand alone product.
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    This is exactly why we make many of our mixes from scratch.

    6 of htese food colorings give me migraines, as well as giving food a nasty chemical taste. My father and Wizard are the same way.

    Ya know those bright orange circus peanuts? the big soft peanut shaped candy?? I LOVE those things (heaven knows why!) but can't eat even 2 with-o a headache that is VERY severe. So I have 1 maybe every 10 years.

    I KNOW my kids are more hyper and more annoying when they have something with artif. coloring in it.

    For those of you who decorate cakes, you can do it with-a minimum of food coloring. Put a layer of plain, uncolored icing on the cake, then use a thinned out icing with a little food color and paint it on to make the design. You end up with MUCH less food color, esp if you use homemade icing.

  5. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Good idea, Susie.
    We don't even do frostings any more. :(
    One yr I did the Martha Stewart thing and colored Easter eggs "naturally," using beet juice, cranberry juice, and a host of other things I've since forgotten. They were, um, different. Earthy. LOL.
  6. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    We were always a chocolate icing family, so it was butter, powdered sugar, and Hershey's cocoa. I don't know what it is in particular that is so bad for the kids, but I am comfortable just saying "additives" are a problem. We never have been big on pre-packaged meals or going out to eat somewhere a family could afford. Most everything is from scratch at our house, and we do more organics now than we used to.

    My take on it is that soda pop is nothing more than poison, and diet soda is worse. I can't tell you how many people I know who put on 4 pounds and switched from regular to diet pop and gained 20. Children should not be eating McDonalds or what-have-you on a regular basis. That just plain is not real food. I know it's easy, but the problems it causes are not.

    As to whether it is dye or hormone injections in cows or pesticides, I can't say. But it's something.
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    It's important to realise that if your child has a problem with a food additive (or more than one) then banning it isn't necessarily the answer. What is still left available on the market may not cause any problems for a lot of people, but can still be an issue for you or your child.

    Our problems, interestingly, have been triggered through food colourings used in medications. I kept my kids as additive-free as possible, although I wasn't fanatic about it. But medications use artificial colourings not only to disguise their true appearance but also as identification- it should always be possible to take unknown pills to a pharmacist and have them identified through a combination of shape, markings and colourings. This means that while foods can be more restricted, drug companies are much freer to use additives. I guess the Powers That Be feel we ingest a lot more food than medicines, so we can get away with sneaking in more suspect chemicals to the drugs. Trouble is, if you have an allergic reaction it really doesn't take much to trigger it - for difficult child 3, it was one dose of cough mixture. For easy child, it was one dose of anti-thrush medicine as a baby. For me, it was one painkiller that I had been taking for years, prescribed by my specialist, to which I suddenly developed an allergy.

    We also must remember that a lot of chemical allergy and sensitivity triggers occur naturally. MSG is a case in point - although some Chinese restaurants put extra in their food (increasingly, restaurants are being responsible and not adding extra) a lot of foods naturally contain glutamate. Other natural chemicals causing problems are the amines and the salicylates. It turns out (sadly) that the most common natural triggers are the chemicals responsible for flavour.

    Some natural colours can also trigger reactions.

    There is no completely safe food. We can keep ourselves and our children as safe as possible by eating a wide variety of natural foods (in season) in our diet, prepared by ourselves and containing as little as possible manufactured ingredients, but it's still no guarantee.

    If you suspect a food allergy or sensitivity issue, there are steps you can take. But never forget that the problem trigger doesn't have to be artificial, even though it does increase the chances.

    Don't rule out ANYTHING.

  8. amazeofgrace

    amazeofgrace New Member

    I see a bigger reaction if difficult child II has a bowl of shredded wheat then is he eats a bag of skittles, I truthfully have banned shredded wheat from the house, it makes him so bad, I know a gluten free diet would be a good thing for him, but the exspense and aggravation factor have kept me from trying it
  9. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Marg, I'm glad you brought that up. I've seen some kids' liquid medications on the market that are color free. Excellent idea.

    Amazed, after having my son tested, I can only suggest you have yours tested too. Watch his reaction when he eats sandwiches and chicken nuggets too.