Food Dyes and ADHD: Should Food Dyes Be Banned?
Food Dyes and ADHD. Should there be a food coloring ban? Health authorities in Australia think so. After new research revealed the potential dangers of food coloring, Australian authorities areconsidering banning food color and dyes in processed foods such as cereals and candy – particularly foods marketed to children. Should other countries follow suit?
The Dangers of Food Coloring and Artificial Food Dyes
Australian food authorities are concerned about the association between artificial food dyes and health problems such as cancer and hyperactivity in children. They point out that three dyes, yellow dye #6, yellow dye #5, and red dye #40, all contain ingredients that cause cancer in animals.
What about ADHD? A study carried out in Great Britain and published in the medical journal Lancet showed a link between artificial food dyes and hyperactivity in kids. This doesn’t necessarily mean that food dyes cause ADHD, but suggests that there’s an association. Sadly, foods marketed to children have some of the greatest amounts of food coloring and dyes.
The Dangers of Food Coloring: Artificial Food Dyes are Ubiquitous
It’s hard to completely avoid food coloring and food dyes. Cereals and candy marketed to children are one of the biggest sources, but even non-packaged foods such as cheese and salmon are often enhanced with food coloring to make them more visually appealing. Ever see a piece of salmon with a pretty pink or orange color? It may be the product of artificial chemicals and colors. Farm raised salmon are frequently fed synthetic chemicals that color the fish, making them more marketable. Unfortunately, salmon farmers aren’t required to disclose this practice to the public.
Food coloring and dyes make foods more appealing to look at – and more likely that a product will sell. People gravitate towards colors – especially children. Kids are more likely to want the box of brightly colored breakfast cereal than the all-natural, plainly colored version.
What Can Consumers Do to Avoid the Dangers of Food Coloring?
Read labels carefully and know what’s in every packaged food – before you buy it. Avoid taking kids grocery shopping, since they’ll almost always want the cereal and candy containing the most artificial food dyes. Shop at natural food markets that offer products that don’t contain synthetic food coloring and dyes. Inspect salmon and cheese carefully before purchasing them to look for signs that they’ve been artificially enhanced. Lastly, be suspicious of any product that looks too colorful. It pays to be a detective when shopping at the grocery store. It could save your health – or your life.