Friday, April 1, 2011

Food Dyes Trigger Hyperactivity?

Good Friday Morning - Dan Wells writing! I hope this note finds you well and in good spirits!

This morning, I'm writing about a new study out there which says there's substantial evidence showing food dyes trigger hyperactivity in kids. As a parent it's certainly a concerning idea, and one that had me looking for information and articles...below is some of what I found!

The Food and Drug Administration is meeting to examine whether artificial food dyes cause hyperactivity in children. Artificial food dyes are made from petroleum and approved for use by the FDA to enhance the color of processed foods. They've been around for decades and are found in everything from pudding to potato chips to soft drinks. But recent studies linking food coloring to hyperactivity in kids is causing some experts to call on the FDA ban foods containing them - or at least require a warning label.

"Food dyes are added simply for their color to make foods fun. They serve no health purpose whatsoever," says Michael Jacobson, director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

CSPI wants the FDA to ban eight artificial food dyes. He's particularly concerned with Red #40, Yellow #5 and Yellow #6, which make up 90 percent of the food dyes on the market. And their use has gone up fivefold in the last 50 years.

"That's a good indication of how much junk food we're consuming," Jacobson says. He says there's substantial evidence showing food dyes trigger hyperactivity in kids. Some of the studies are difficult or imperfect. But there is this body of literature that does suggest that food colorings are not as benign as people have been led to believe.

The FDA released its analysis of 35 years of scientific studies. It finds no conclusive proof that food dyes cause hyperactivity in most kids, although it suggests that some kids with ADHD may be particularly sensitive to them.

European Action On Food Dyes A 2007 British study known as the Southampton study has become something of a flashpoint in the current debate. In it, 3- and 8-year-olds were given two kinds of drinks that contained a mix of dyes. Afterwards, parents reported a significant increase in hyperactivity. But teachers and independent observers didn't, critics say. Also, since the dyes were mixed together, it's hard to tell which might be causing a problem.

"It gives you pause, but it's certainly not convincing evidence that there's a problem," says Julie Miller Jones, professor emeritus of nutrition at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minn.

Pediatricians say if parents are concerned, there's no harm in cutting out food dyes if they can manage it. Manufacturers overseas, instead of adding a warning label, have turned to natural dyes made from beets and tumeric. Some U.S.-based manufacturers are considering switching to natural dyes, but as the food industry points out, natural dyes are more expensive and less stable.

Information Source: NPR

I hope this shed a bit of light on the situation, trust me I'll be following what happens next and I'll keep you posted!

Have a great and safe weekend!

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