Previous research has linked artificial food dyes to problematic behavior in children, but new research indicates that children are ingesting far higher quantities of unnatural coloring agents than experts ever expected.
Researchers at Purdue University estimated a daily intake per person of 62 mg of artificial food dyes in 2010. In 1950, the average daily intake was 12 mg per person. Critically, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest(CSPI), these levels of artificial food coloring “are higher than the levels demonstrated in some clinical trials to impair some children’s behavior.”
The issue may be even larger than a fraction of children being affected by the significant increase in artificial food dye consumption.
One of the authors of the Purdue study said, according to a report on Lexology:
“In the 1970s and 1980s, many studies were conducted giving children 26 mg of a mixture of dyes. Only a few children seemed to react to the dyes, so many doctors concluded that a dye-free diet was pointless. Later studies using larger doses showed that a much larger percentage of children reacted. But some researchers considered those doses unrealistically high. It is now clear that even the larger amounts may not have been high enough. The time is long past due for the FDA to get dyes out of the food supply or for companies to do so voluntarily and promptly.”
The Purdue study, which was published in the journal Clinical Pediatrics, explained that in the studies where at least 50 mg of artificial food coloring agents were given to children, there was a stronger effect on children’s behavior than in the studies where less are used. The consequences of this are that it is very possible, according to the authors, that more children’s behavior is being altered by the consumption of typical American children’s food than ever expected.
According to psychologist Dr.Randi Fredricks, the area of behavior affected is primarily related to attention disorders.
“Some studies have labeled these substances ‘neurotoxic chemicals’ and point to them as agents aggravating mental health problems, most notably attention disorders. Research found academic performance increased and disciplinary problems decreased in student populations with attention disorders when artificial ingredients, including AFCs, were eliminated from school food programs.”
Tuesday, Inquisitr reported that upwards of ten thousand U.S. toddlers are taking pharmaceutical medications for ADHD-like behavior.
Estimated daily intake (EDI) per capita for FDA approved colorants in 2011 was approximately 45 mg per day according to the FDA advisory board. The highest acceptable daily intake (ADI) for a 66-pound child was set at a cumulative 1058 mg when all of the colors were added together. The average male child does not reach 66 pounds until they exceed nine-years-old, according to growth charts.
“A lot of people try ‘elimination diets’ to address their kids’ behavior, and many say they work. The diet idea dates back to the 1970s, when pediatrician Benjamin Feingold first claimed that there was a link between behavior and food dyes.”
According to the FDA these artificial food dyes are derived mostly from petroleum. The agency stated in meeting notes for the advisory committee, “Although certifiable color additives have been called coal-tar colors because of their traditional origins, today they are synthesized mainly from raw materials obtained from petroleum.”
The average consumer is unaware of how many milligrams of artificial food dye is actually in common children’s foods. One serving of Trix cereal would start a child’s day off with a whopping 36.4 mg of petroleum-based food colorants. Cap’n Crunch’s All Berries ranks higher at 41 mg of the chemical food dyes. Add a juice box or strawberry milk, and a child would exceed the estimated daily intake expected by the FDA before ever leaving for school.
One serving (about twenty pieces) of M&Ms candies won’t melt in a child’s hand, but will deliver 29.5 mg of artificial food coloring into a child’s system. Keebler Cheese & Peanut Butter Crackers seem like a good choice in snacks for a child on the go, but a serving contains 14.4 mg of artificial dyes. Many parents choose Kool-Aid as an alternative to soda, but they may not be aware that a serving of Kool-Aid Burst Cherry packed into a lunch box will deliver 52.3 mg of food coloring to their child. That serving of the beverage would exceed amounts demonstrated to affect behavior in ADHD studies.
Today, the LA Weekly reported that even products that appear free of dyes, such as white cakes, cheese, pickles, white marshmallows and muffin mixes, usually contain artificial food dyes.
Parents, do you find that your children’s behavior is affected negatively by artificial food dyes?