Dr. Oz recently ran a feature about the dangers of food dye, especially for children, on his popular TV show. This is a topic that has received a lot of attention over the years as the prevalence of children diagnosed with ADHD and ADD has spiked dramatically. While the main focus has been on eliminating sugar from the diets of these children, there is solid evidence that consumption of artificial food colors contributes to attention and behavioral problems, too.
From his website www.droz.com we read: “British researchers designed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to test the effects of food colorings on hyperactivity in children. Hyperactivity is one of the signs of ADHD. The children consumed foods and drinks free of six coloring agents and sodium benzoate, a common preservative. Every two weeks, the children were given a special drink that contained enough dye found in two bags of candy.
The researchers and their parents found a significant increase in hyperactivity in the children during the weeks that they consumed the drink with the artificial colors. This research correlates with an analysis of different studies done at Columbia University and Harvard University. The analysis affirmed that removing foods and products that contain artificial food coloring can help relieve the symptoms of children already diagnosed with ADHD.”
In addition to contributing to behavioral problems, there is growing evidence that some of these dyes may be toxic as well, and possibly contribute to cancer. Recently major food companies have worked to reduce or eliminate artificial colors, substituting them with natural colors, or letting the food go “naked.” As always, parents and consumers are advised to read the labels on all foods and, where possible, to choose the most natural product.
Photo credit: wholefoodsmagazine.com