Do your kids get hyper after eating candy? It might not be the sugar—but could be the color. Studies have found a link between food dyes and hyperactivity in children.
Some even see a link between food dyes—which trigger the release of histamines, part of the body’s immune system—and allergies, as well as ADHD, which affects 5.2 million American children.
Yet in 2012, an FDA advisory committee determined that the science was too weak to support a ban on artificial food dyes or a warning label on foods that contain them.
Apparently, that’s not the case in Europe, where regulations require such a warning label, forcing European companies to substitute natural colors for dyes.
European candy require labels for food dyes linked to ADHD. Is this food discrimination? For example, Nestle is phasing out artificial colors from their entire confectionery line in the U.K., but not the U.S. Looks like food discrimination to me, and the only ones losing are our kids.
In the United States, the only way to avoid artificial food dyes is to:
1. Buy USDA certified organic foods, which are guaranteed not to contain synthetic ingredients like food dyes.
2. If organic isn’t option, make sure to read ingredient labels carefully, keeping a watchful eye for Blue 1, Blue 2, Green 3, Red 40, Red 3, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6, especially.
This isn’t just true of candy. Food dyes are in everything, from cereal to lunch meat, so reading labels is super important–especially when you’re trying to keep your kids from bouncing off the walls.
No they’re not organic–yet–but UnReal candy brand does focus on fair trade. Keep an eye out in supermarkets for food dye free UnReal candies like Unreal Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups and Unreal Candy Coated Chocolates.
Yes, we want our kids to stay away from candy, but if they’re going to eat it occasionally, let’s make sure it’s food dye free.