Why Food Dyes are Toxic to Your Health
When you hear the phrase “food dyes,” what comes to mind?
Coloring Easter Eggs?
Creating a special birthday cake?
Making treats fun and eye-catching?
Aggressive behavior and problems sleeping?
Whoa, what’s that last one again?
Although we tend to think of food dyes as changing the color of food only, a closer look at the ingredient list reveals some additives that can have some not-so-pleasant side effects. In fact, extensive research shows that food dyes are associated with the following: hyperactivity, allergies, learning impairment, irritability, aggressiveness, and sleep disturbances. Yikes!
These problems are never fun for anyone, but can be particularly difficult for families with children with autism who already experience significant behavioral challenges.
So what exactly is it in our foods that can be so dangerous? The worst offenders to watch out for on food labels are these artificial colorings: Citrus Red 2, Blue 1 and 2, Red 3 and Number 40, Yellow 5 and 6. Many of these have been banned in different countries, as they’ve been linked to cancer, DNA mutation, and nerve growth. If you see that they’re in certain foods you usually buy, just say no!
The sad truth is that these dyes are found in foods that are staples to the American diet, including the following:
- Fruit Cocktail
- Mac & Cheese
- Baked Goods
- Ice Cream
- Sports Drinks
It can be a rude awakening to learn that some of the foods we have been feeding our kids may contribute in some way to their behavioral challenges, but knowledge is power, and you can’t change what you don’t know.
A Better Way
These food dyes are everywhere, but they don’t have to be part of your family’s life. And while it may seem intimidating to make a complete dietary overhaul, just start small. Check the nutrition facts on foods you purchase. Go for whole, non-processed foods as much as you can. Opt for natural dyes instead of artificial coloring.
Knowing what’s in our foods and cleaning up our diets can do wonders for your family’s health.
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