Recently, there was a segment on Doctor Oz which made me aware of a food blogger named Vani Hari. She, along with another North Carolina blogger named Lisa Leake are taking Kraft Foods to task over their use of dyes in their products, such as their popular mac & cheese. Did you know food dye is banned in most European countries? Why does the United States think it’s ok to use them here?
Food dyes are man-made in a lab with chemicals derived from petroleum (a crude oil product, which also happens to be used in gasoline, diesel fuel, asphalt, and tar). Why is it okay for the FDA to put them in our food? The answer is, it’s not.
My son Ian is 9 years old, and was diagnosed ADHD in March of 2010. It was wonderful to finally have SOMETHING to label his inattentive behavior with. Once we knew what we were “fighting” we could do something about it to help him. We went through an insane time with finding the right medication for him. Ritalin was a train wreck, and made him physically aggressive to the point that I was afraid he was going to hurt himself or someone else. When we finally had him responding positively to Concerta, it was like a totally different little boy moved into my whirlwind. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still a high-energy goofball, but he can finally focus and learn - and he loves learning.
In my travels on the internet researching support groups and resources, I found the Feingold Diet in April 2010. After reading all of the positive comments I figured we didn’t have anything to lose. It would either work or it wouldn’t, and if it didn’t we wouldn’t be in any worse of a position than we already were. So, we ran with it.
The Feingold Diet eliminates food dyes and salicylates from the diet. I will be honest, it was completely overwhelming at first to have to read every single ingredient on every box, bottle or package that went into our shopping cart. However, I stuck with it, and the results were amazing.
It’s not so much what happened when we removed the food dye, so much as what happened when he accidentally ingested some weeks or months later. You can think I’m crazy if you want, but I have witnesses to the entire situation - including parents and grandparents who thought I was completely off my rocker suggesting food dyes were the problem. They’ve seen the angry out-of-control child he becomes when he accidentally gets Red 40. They’ve seen the teary-eyed puddle of emotional crash-and-burn when he got Yellow 6. These effects have not varied over the years. We don’t get too overwhelming a reaction with blues, but I don’t push the issue. Our household has been dye-free for 3 years, and it will stay that way.
I have always been somewhat vocal about my findings, but again, I think people put me in the catagory of Avon and Tupperware salespeople. As in, “yes, how lovely for you, stop talking about it.” I’m glad to see some other moms are bringing awareness to this. Please support them by signing their petition, following their blogs, and helping raise awareness of this health issue. This is our children we’re talking about.
What do you think about artificial dyes? Do you believe they cause behavioral and/or health issues?
Photo credit: Nomadic Lass / Foter.com / CC BY-SA