Advertisement
Icon WebMD Expert Blogs

Healthy Begins Here

with Healthy Child Healthy World

Important:

The opinions expressed in WebMD User-generated content areas like communities, review, ratings, or blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have... Expand

The opinions expressed in WebMD User-generated content areas like communities, reviews, ratings, or blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. User-generated content areas are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatments or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.

Do not consider WebMD User-generated content as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.

Hide

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Do Food Dyes Warrant A Warning Label?

By Margie Kelly

Red Dye

Food dyes are everywhere.

Derived from petroleum, more than 15 million pounds of dyes are added to food to make something colorful. The use of artificial dyes has gone up fivefold in the past 50 years, according to the Center for Science and the Public Interest (CSPI). Candies, frostings, macaroni and cheese, pickles, sodas, chips, fruit snacks and more are all colored by artificial dyes.

While sugar is usually identified as the culprit in hyperactive children, some studies link the consumption of food dyes to behavioral problems in kids.

Last month, a U.S. FDA advisory committee met to discuss whether to recommend a ban or warning label on food containing artificial dyes because they may make kids hyperactive.

CNN reported that one mother told the FDA panel that there was a “huge change” in her toddler’s behavior after she removed dyes from his diet. “Two weeks later he felt different, much happier, and six weeks later, he was a new child,” she said.

Kellie King told a CBS reporter in Chicago that her toddler daughter was on medication for ADHD but within weeks of taking dyes out of her diet, she was able to discontinue using the medication.

But the FDA says the science is too weak to issue a ban on artificial dyes. In a review of the last 35 years’ worth of studies about artificial dyes, an FDA advisory panel found insufficient evidence food dyes are responsible for hyperactivity in kids, though it was suggested some kids with ADHD may be especially sensitive to dyes in food. The panel did recommend that more research is necessary to understand the impact of food dyes on children.

Despite the FDA’s decision to delay action, current European regulations require a warning label on foods made with artificial food dyes, forcing European companies to substitute natural colors for dyes.

Those regulations are the reason Nestle recently announced it would no longer use artificial colors in its candies made in the UK. Will Nestle sell those candies in the U.S.? No.

Until we can get food manufacturers to use natural colors in the U.S., here are some tips to avoid food dyes:

1.     Shop organic – Organic foods are the only food category free of artificial dyes.

2.     Read labels and avoid foods that have colors with numbers (like Blue #1) as an ingredient

3.     If you still need some junk food every now and then, check out the book Unjunk Your Junk Food – Healthy Alternatives to Conventional Snacks, co-authored by Andrea Donsky

Photo: iStockphoto

Posted by: WebMD Blogs at 7:25 am

Comments

Leave a comment

Subscribe & Stay Informed

Parenting and Children's Health

Get the Parenting & Children's Health newsletter and get useful parenting tips and health news you need to keep your little ones happy & healthy.

Archives

WebMD Health News