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Food Dye and Kids Health: What You Need to Know


Image: Evan-Amos

Food dye and it’s affect on children’s behavior has come under scrutiny lately, and it has many of us wondering, what’s the link? Shy on hard facts and big on hypotheses, the debate rages with relatively little evidence. Here’s what we do know: studies do seem to confirm that certain children have a sensitivity to food dyes that may affect their behavior.

Though the FDA long ago ruled out a link between food dyes and behavior or health problems, they are asking experts to review the evidence once more. An all-out ban is highly unlikely, though the review may lead to warning labels alerting parents that dyes may have adverse effects on certain children.

So, how should concerned parents react? If you do have a child with behavioral problems, and hyperactivity in particular, you may want to try an elimination diet to see if dyes may be an exacerbating factor.

The fact is, food dyes are unnecessary and and may be having ill effects, so even if your child does not have behavioral problems you may want to consider limiting their exposure, especially in foods they’re consuming daily. It sounds easy enough, but synthetic food dye lurks in everything from fruit loops, to lemonade, to macaroni and cheese, and even salmon. If you are concerned, do your research, check labels, and just do your best.

What’s your experience with food dye? Have you noticed effects on your child?

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