ADHD and Food Dye

There may be a link between food dye and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) in children. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently studying this concern. Although there is no conclusive evidence that food dye causes ADHD, some research has demonstrated that food dye aggravates existing conditions of ADHD. Concerned parents and health advocates have been trying for years to get artificial food dye and other unnecessary chemicals removed from foods.

The U.S. FDA believes that artificial food dye does not cause ADHD; however, the committee will discuss the possibility of putting warning labels on foods that contain dyes pending additional research. Warning labels have already been placed on foods containing artificial dye throughout Europe indicating their concern about a possible link between food dye and ADHD in children.

The Food Standards Agency of the United Kingdom conducted a study in 2007 to determine the relationship between food dye and ADHD. The results of their study indicated that “the consumption of foods containing dyes could increase hyperactive behavior in children” (WebMd).

It is a scientific and medical fact that the foods we eat affect our health. We know that certain substances such as caffeine and sugar seems to give us a quick rush of energy, or possibly make us hyper. Artificial food dyes are bound to have some affect on the body. Even if the dyes do not cause ADHD, how do we know that they do not contribute to other chemical imbalances and diseases? Why take the risk if there is a possibility of harm?

Food dyes may or may not contribute to ADHD. Never-the-less, they have no nutritional value. Food dye is simply used to fool consumers – to make food appear more attractive and fresh looking. For example, red dye is often added to Salmon to give it that fresh, red appearance because consumers seem to prefer red colored salmon over the gray colored salmon. Food dyes are also used in most food products marketed to children. Children are attracted to bright colors – fruit loops, fruit roll-ups, candy, and kids’ beverages contain food dyes representing all the colors of the rainbow.

Parents concerned about a link between ADHD and food dye could conduct their own unofficial studies. If your children suffer from hyperactivity, try putting them on a diet free of food dyes for a couple of weeks and see for yourself if there is a difference in their behavior. It may increase the grocery bill by a few dollars, but the health of children is priceless.

Resources:
1. http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/guide/food-dye-adhd
2. http://pediatrics.about.com/od/nutrition/a/0608_food_clrng.htm