Friday, April 1, 2011

Does artificial food coloring cause hyperactivity?

Whole foods without additives and dyes are a good choice.
News stories this week mentioned the federal government is reassessing whether foods with bright artificial colors aggravate behavior problems like hyperactivity in some children.

Foods like Jell-O, Lucky Charms cereal and Minute Maid Lemonade were given as examples.

According to a story in The New York Times, Food and Drug Administration scientists suggested that problems linked to these additives could be similar to a peanut allergy, or “a unique intolerance to these substances and not to any inherent neurotoxic properties” of the dyes themselves. The F.D.A. already requires manufacturers to disclose on food labels the presence of artificial colorings, as it does for peanuts and other foods that can cause reactions.

“I think there has been an increase in food companies using artificial colors and additives for marketing appeal,” said Denice Taylor, registered dietitian at Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital. “When foods are colorful and brighter, kids want them and parents buy them.”

Denice says links between artificial colors and behavior problems have been discussed for a long time, but studies haven’t been conclusive.

“I think it’s good for families to be cautious of artificial coloring and dyes until we know more,” she said. “It’s safer to go with whole foods instead of products with a lot of additives.”

What do you think? Do you plan to avoid foods with artificial coloring?

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