A recent study reported in the journal Prescrire International found that artificial food dyes are linked to an increased incidence of hyperactivity in children. Scientists studied 297 children who were representative of the general population to conclude that food colors increase hyperactivity in children, not just children who are sensitive to them.
The scientists also found that children who suffered from hyperactivity saw a worsening of their hyperactivity symptoms when they ingested food colors. In addition to their placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover study, they also conducted an analysis of other existing research prior to concluding “it is best to avoid exposing children to artificial food coloring.”
In another study published in the Journal of Pediatrics, the dye tartrazine was linked to behavioural disturbances in normal children. Still more research from doctors at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom found that food dyes have a significant impact on the behaviour of normal children and boost the levels of hyperactivity. These doctors also recommended that these additives be removed from children’s diets.
FDA Stalling Tactics
While numerous independent studies link artificial food colors to hyperactivity in normal, non-sensitive, children, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to claim that there is no proven relationship between food dyes and hyperactivity in children. Beginning yesterday (Wednesday), an FDA advisory committee will attempt to determine whether available research links the dyes and the disorder. Somehow the experts have known this information for years yet the FDA doesn’t have a clue.
Read on to learn how dyes cross the blood-brain barrier…
The FDA meeting is in response to a 2008 petition from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, requesting that yellow 5, red 40, and six other dyes be banned. It is bad enough that the FDA took three years just to initiate a response, but no one knows what the response will be. It is likely that the FDA will continue to allow these harmful substances to be used in food. After all, they’ve allowed them for three decades. Don’t our children deserve better than this?
More Harmful Health Effects Linked to Food Colors
And, what about the many other symptoms linked to food colors? Doesn’t the FDA think they warrant consideration? In numerous studies, one particular dye–the yellow color, annatto, has been linked to skin rashes, huge blood-sugar rises and damage to the energy-production sites in the liver and pancreas. In a case study in the journal Annals of Allergy, severe low blood pressure was linked to a cereal containing this ingredient.
Food Dyes Cross the Blood-Brain Barrier
Further research cited by Jacqueline Krohn, MD, in her book Natural Detoxification, showed that artificial food colors cross the blood-brain barrier. The blood-brain barrier is a bit of a misnomer because it works more on a lock-and-key-type of mechanism, allowing some substances access to the brain while preventing others access. However, many harmful chemicals, food colors included, cross this delicate mechanism, where they can cause damage to the brain. This is of particular concern for children whose brains are in the developmental stage and at a higher risk of damage from toxic substances.
Keep reading to discover how many pounds of food additives the average person eats…You’ll be shocked!
The Food Additives Pile Up
Currently, the average person eats over 124 pounds of food additives, including artificial colors, EVERY YEAR! There is no testing on the cumulative effects of combining food colors with all these chemicals, not to mention the myriad other chemicals to which we are exposed in our air and water, like pesticides, for example.
Additionally, many toxic substances in our food supply show delayed responses. In other words, you might eat food additives in your diet today but you may experience the effects years from now. So, these responses are also possible from food dyes.
There is substantial evidence to ban food colors, particularly from the diets of children. It’s time the FDA stepped up its efforts to ensure that we, and our children, are not unknowingly harmed by toxic ingredients that should never have been added to food in the first place.
Adapted from Total Body Detox: The Safe, Easy, and Natural Way to Detoxify Your Body, Balance Your Weight, and Feel Great by Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, PhD, RNCP, ROHP.
Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, PhD, RNCP, ROHP