Healthy Kids

Food Dye & Your Child: A Rainbow Of Risks

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To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day every year, my daughters’ school hands out bright green bagels to all of the children.

This is an incredible frustration for me, knowing that over the course of the past 40 or so years dozens of studies have demonstrated that food dyes cause behavioral problems in children.

The compelling evidence prompted both the British government and European Union to ban the use of these dyes back in 2008.  And yet food dyes are still surprisingly common here in the U.S.

Studies have shown an increase in hyperactivity and a decrease in attention span in children after eating foods containing dyes.  Other studies have shown a correlation between food dyes and tumor growth in lab rats.

Food dyes also wreak havoc on your digestion, causing food allergies and sensitivities, stomach pain, cramping, bloating, bowel problems and more.

With a rainbow of potential health and behavioral risks, food dyes are NOT ok. Whether at school, birthday parties, in packaged snacks, on Easter eggs or St. Patrick’s Day bagels, the vibrant colors that add visual appeal to nutrient-depleted foods are not nurturing our children’s growing bodies and minds.

Food Dye-Free Options

Thankfully, there are other more health supportive options that aren’t any less fun.  On St. Patrick’s Day each year, I send the girls to school with a delicious bright green omelette that’s the envy of the lunch room, no food dyes necessary. Here’s the quick 10-minute recipe for Blended Green Omelettes.

And, my best recommendation for natural Easter egg dye for those of you celebrating this week (the dyes DO leak chemicals into your eggs): Eco-Kids.  All of their dyes are made with natural and organic fruit and veggies.

Finally, food dyes are just one of the many sources of chemical additives in processed food.  To find out what’s in the foods you’re feeding your family and whether or not it’s safe, visit the Environmental Working Group.

The Environmental Working Group is an excellent resource.  You can find their latest publication on food additives here:  The Dirty Dozen Guide To Food Additives.

Your Simple Action Plan:
Knowing what’s in your food and whether or not it’s safe for your family is essential for healthy growth, good behavior and a clear mind.  What’s one step you can take this week to eliminate food dyes or chemicals in your food?


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