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Artificial Food Dyes Linked to Hyperactivity?

Fruity Loops, Fruity Pebbles, and other technicolor cereals could be bad for kids, and not just because of the sugar high. Turns out, the food dyes used to create such candylicious treats could be contributing to childhood hyperactivity and other behavior issues.

Last week, the Center for Science in the Public Interest began urging the Food and Drug Administration to outlaw eight artificial food dyes, citing three decades' worth of studies that suggest the artificial dyes could exacerbate kids' behavioral problems. The FDA, meanwhile, disputes the claim. Here's more:

Over the years, the FDA has consistently disputed the center's assertion. . . Julie Zawisza, an FDA spokeswoman, said Tuesday that color additives undergo safety reviews prior to approval for marketing and that samples of each artificial coloring are tested. She said the agency reviewed one of the studies that the center cites in calling for a ban.

"(We) didn't find a reason to change our conclusions that the ingredients are safe for the general population," Zawisza said.

For more details on the debate and to see what I think,


In lieu of a full ban, the group is asking the FDA to add warning labels to foods that contain any of eight dyes: Yellow 5, Red 40, Blue 1, Blue 2, Green 3, Orange B, Red 3, and Yellow 6. With so many multicolored food products being marketed to kids, children are far more likely to consume these dyes than adults.

Considering that dyes are used primarily to make products more appealing to kids, it's no wonder that marketing-savvy companies want to keep using them. But since the unnatural ingredients add nothing to the food's nutritional value and may actually be harmful, I'm all for more regulation or at least warning labels, even if the connection to behavioral problem is up for debate. What do you think?


Join The Conversation
ellaandrobb ellaandrobb 8 years
I was skeptical 'till I took my 2 boys off the food coloring. They were little angels, until the waffles one morning. Screaming fits, throwing themselves off furniture, angry and hyperactive was what I got. FOOD DYES SHOULD BE BANNED, like they are in England. Our kids do not need drugs to calm them down, they need safe food. I urge anyone out there to try this. Nothing to loose but some evil version of your sweet child. :-)
Spectra Spectra 9 years
My mom had heard that Red 40 was really bad for kids back when we were little and she wouldn't let us eat anything with it in it...including red Jello, red KoolAid, red colored cereals, etc. My sister and brother both had ADD and it definitely helped with their symptoms to avoid artificial colors. I hope food manufacturers get on the bandwagon of using natural colors in their products. Beets, turmeric, plant extracts, etc., are all really safe sources of color and although they're a little more muted than the artificial ones, they're a whole lot safer.
bananapancake84 bananapancake84 9 years
When I was growing up my mother was extremely nutrition conscious when it came to feeding her family. The most exciting cereal we ever got was Kix or Life, and those only on special occasions. Usually we got total or shredded wheat, the kind without the frosting. I was allergic to peanut butter and lunch usually a sandwich of home-made yogurt cheese, apple butter and whole-wheat bread and a cup of milk. I can't thank her enough for instilling me with the healthy gene. I can't imagine what eating all sorts of chemicals can do to your body.
skatie07 skatie07 9 years
Why don't people use natural colorings (beet juice, etc.)? Sure the food won't be as bright, but it's way better for you. Fruity loops?!
hkmarks hkmarks 9 years
Well, as long as it's not the sugar. I'm happy with clear candy.
michlny michlny 9 years
lilv lilv 9 years
a friends child stopped eating the artifical sugar especially red dye and calmed down considerably
kiwitwist kiwitwist 9 years
Wow, crazy! I agree ban it. Use REAL food coloring if you need something dyed.
Francoisehardly Francoisehardly 9 years
If it doesn't offer us nutrition or do anything good for us, just get rid of it.
brookrene brookrene 9 years
get rid of it! i'm all for banning these.
Dana18 Dana18 9 years
This is why in my house I don't serve anything with artificial sweetener or colors to my kids. And I don't by them candy. They get to get candy at parties and halloween , that is good enough.
lana7128 lana7128 9 years
that's crazy! those colors are in just about every fruity candy on the market. ie, starburst, laffy taffy, jelly will everything be colorless now?
darkoblivion darkoblivion 9 years
My fiance had severe ADHD when he was a child and his mother refused to put him on drugs. The doc suggested to remove the red 40 from his diet and it could possibly help. She did that and it improved his hyperactivity and attention span drastically.
TidalWave TidalWave 9 years
artificial anything in food is not good for our bodies!
luxington luxington 9 years
About time. They're having the same conversation in Europe right now. Personally, brightly artificially colored foods make me shudder.
jdeprima jdeprima 9 years
They certainly took their time with this...back when my brother and I were little (er, a little more than 30 years ago) my mom came across the same information. Since brother was already exhibiting some behavior issues we got the full ban on artificial colors *and* flavors. I recall that being a very colorless era in my food history--Cheerios, Nilla Wafers, 7-Up, Wrigley's spearmint gum...
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