How Food Dyes Effect Child Behaviour and How to Manage It?
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How Food Dyes Effect Child Behaviour and How to Manage It?

Do you know that food color or dyes are resposible for hyperactivity, ADD/ADHD and related behavioural problems? These dyes—petrochemicals, mostly—are often used to simulate the presence of healthy, colorful fruits and vegetables. Artificial colors or food dyes make the presentation attractive but these presevatives or food colours are not safe for children. Our children are addicted to chocolates, candies and similar stuff which may cause fuelling disruptive behaviour, restlessness and lack of concentration. Children with ADHD often have strong sugar cravings, and this has contributed to the belief that sugar and candy consumption can cause hyperactive behavior. Ingredients in nonchocolate candy (sugar, artificial food colors), components in chocolate candy (sugar, artificial food colors in coatings, caffeine), and chocolate itself have been investigated for any adverse effects on behavior.

Do you know that food color or dyes are resposible for hyperactivity, ADD/ADHD and related behavioural problems? These dyes—petrochemicals, mostly—are often used to simulate the presence of healthy, colorful fruits and vegetables. Artificial colors or food dyes make the presentation attractive but these presevatives or food colours are not safe for children. Our children are addicted to chocolates, candies and similar stuff which may cause fuelling disruptive behaviour, restlessness and lack of concentration.

Children with (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder )ADHD often have strong sugar cravings, and this has contributed to the belief that sugar and candy consumption can cause hyperactive behavior. Ingredients in nonchocolate candy (sugar, artificial food colors), components in chocolate candy (sugar, artificial food colors in coatings, caffeine), and chocolate itself have been investigated for any adverse effects on behavior.

New research has shown that commonly used food dyes, such as Yellow 5, Red 40, and six others, are linked to hyperactivity, impulsivity, learning difficulties, and Attention Deficity Hyperactivity Disorder in many children. The Center for Science in the Public Interest has petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to ban the use of these dyes, many of which are already being phased out in Europe.

Hyperactivity is a general term used to describe behavioural difficulties affecting learning, memory, movement, language, emotional responses and sleep patterns. ADHD is more than just hyperactive behaviour. Research funded by the FSA has suggested that consumption of mixes of certain artificial food colours and the preservative sodium benzoate could be linked to increased hyperactivity in some children.

How to manage it?

If your child shows signs of hyperactivity, or if on the basis of this information you have concerns, you might choose to avoid giving your child food and drinks containing the following artificial colours:

sunset yellow FCF (E110)                                                                      

quinoline yellow (E104)

carmoisine (E122)

allura red (E129)

tartrazine (E102)

ponceau 4R (E124)

These colours are used in a wide range of foods that tend to be brightly coloured, including some soft drinks, sweets, cakes and ice cream. Parents may wish to check the labels of brightly coloured foods if they want to avoid certain colours.

For details: FSA advice to parents on food colours and hyperactivity

Useful links:

* Download FREE 20 page PDF report:  "A Parent's Guide to Diet,ADHD & Behaviour"

* Food colours are linked with hyperactivity of your child

* Foods containing artificial food dyes must have warning label in Europe

* Hyperactivity: The Food Additives Argument

* Food Manufacturers Ban Food Dyes in Europe to Protect Kids, but Not in the U.S.

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Comments (7)

very good informtion for parents as well as to kids.

Very good article, I believe this is true and it would be better to handle ADHD by diet than by drugs.

Great article. Very nice one. Thanks for sharing.

Eye opening article, great information.

You have provided a nice summary of some excellent information, Amera. It is concise and easy to read. As a lifelong educator and parent of a 17 year old who is ADHD, I was fortunate to learn much of this information early on. Eliminating color dyes and candies went a long way in helping us to manage his hyperactivity , impulsiveness and lack of focus. We also tried several medications. He had an allergic reaction to one medication that caused him to go into unprovoked rages. Another kept him awake all night so he was exhausted during the school day. Managing my son's diet and elimating food dyes contributed greatly to his success, but it took patience! It was a process of getting my son to understand and take responsibility for his food intake. There was no "quick fix". My son truly understands the addage, "You are what you eat!" To this day, he reads food labels and eats a very healthy diet.

Thanks for sharing your experience with us. Being an educator I always suggest parents to keep an eye on what children eat and share my knowledge with them. I hope that other educators and parents would be benefited from your suggestions.

very good information for parents as well as to kids !

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