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Old 05-03-2003, 04:00 PM
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Tantrums & food dyes

My mom sent me this article, thought it was interesting... maybe if your children are misbehaving try cutting out food/drink with dyes.

I know the boy next door is always drinking red kool-aid and he throws a lot of tantrums....

Toddler Tantrums by Jane Hersey

When 3-year-olds in Great Britain were given food dyes and a
preservative something unexpected happened.

The researchers found that a modest amount of food additives had
a profound effect on the children's behavior. 277 preschool age
children on the Isle of Wight who participated in the study were
youngsters who behaved normally; none of them were considered to
be hyperactive, ADD, ADHD, PDD, etc. Yet during the test period
when they consumed drinks with food dyes and the preservative
sodium benzoate, nearly one child in four clearly showed
disturbed behavior.

For two weeks the children drank fruit juice that did not
contain additives, and then during the other two weeks their
juice looked the same, but contained a blend of four food dyes
and the preservative sodium benzoate. The parents were not aware
of when the children received the plain juice and when their
juice was laced with additives. During the "challenge period"
(when the children consumed the chemicals) parents reported
these reactions: disturbing others, difficulty settling down to
sleep, poor concentration and temper tantrums.

The amount of dye used, 20 milligrams, is very small,
considering the number of brightly colored foods children
typically consume today, particularly in the United States.

To give you an idea of what twenty mg. of dye equals, it's about
the amount you would find in two teaspoons of colored frosting,
not even enough to cover a cupcake. If such a small dose could
trigger problems for one fourth of the children, what would be
the effect of using a more typical dose? Ten times the amount
used in the British study would be more representative of what
an American child ingests in a day. And the child attending a
birthday party, consuming dyes in the cake, ice cream, drink and
candy can easily reach 600 milligrams. Even when a family
limits the sweets, children are exposed to growing amounts of
petroleum-based dyes in their toothpaste, vitamins, cereals,
"fruit" juices, and medicines.

This study demonstrates what parents have been reporting for
decades: their children behave badly after they eat certain
foods. Now it has been documented that food additives affect the
behavior of children who have no history of behavior problems.
The study suggests that the more a child consumes, the greater
his chance of being affected.

As a result of this study, the British Food Commission, an
independent watchdog, is demanding that those additives be
removed from food and drinks designed for children. They
estimate that the elimination of the troublesome additives would
significantly reduce the number of children who are diagnosed as

There's an ugly side to those pretty colors

Most of the food dyes found in products marketed to children are
made from petroleum (crude oil), just like gasoline.

Food additives, including dyes, are not required to be tested to
determine if they can affect behavior. But studies have shown
that they are responsible both for behavior problems and for an
assortment of serious health problems.

Red dyes were found to cause DNA damage, physical toxicity,
possible breast cancer and damage to the reproductive systems of
test animals.

Yellow dyes led to migraine headaches, suppression of the immune
system, abdominal pain, asthma, eczema and cancer.

When the American Academy of Pediatrics studied the damaging
effects of "inactive" ingredients - the dyes used in drugs and
thought to have no effect - they found that the additives are
far from inactive. Most of them triggered various respiratory
problems. Considering the epidemic of childhood asthma, that
health professionals are at a loss to explain, a good place to
look for clues would be right under our noses…or more
specificallly, under the noses of the children who routinely
ingest phony fruit drinks, green ketchup, blue applesauce,
purple vitamins, pink antibiotics and fluorescent cereals.

For more information on dyes and their effects, see:

Jane Hersey is the National Director of the Feingold Association
and the author of the book, "Why Can't My Child Behave?"
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