Sunday, September 1, 2013

Red Dye #40 is a neuro-toxin????

Now that we're on a gluten-free, dye free diet, my son no longer likes to "spin". And by spinning, I mean he would spin around at high rate of speed and then slam into whomever or whatever was next to him. It was really really aggressive and everyone within a narrow radius of his orbit hated it.

I noticed a few days after our new diet started that he wasn't doing this anymore. I was like, huh. Awesome. I didn't know which component of the diet had caused the change though. Was it the gluten or the dye? Then I read an article about red dye #40.

The reporter for this article interviewed a woman who's daughter stopped spinning around in circles as soon as they eliminated red dye #40 from her life--in her case it was in the child's allergy medicine. I had no idea that there were so many artificial colors added to kids' medicine but apparently that's something being addressed by the FDA now. Wow.

Artificial food coloring is derived from petroleum and can be described as a "neuro-toxin." Per the article:
"Neurotoxins damage nervous tissue. Dr. [David W.] Schab, the Columbia psychiatrist, concluded in his report [a review of 30 years of scientific studies involving food dye and behavior] that the dyes likely cause 'neurobehavioral toxicity.' When I asked him why the reaction occurs in some kids and not others, he said ... artificial food colorings have a drug effect, the same way nicotine has a drug effect, or Vicodin. This is probably why AFCs [artificial food colorings] have a greater effect on children; children are smaller. Dosage is a size-relative factor." And all this is why the FDA is considering the link between AFCs and behavior, and whether the agency should ban them or require warning labels."

According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), our use of food coloring has increased five-fold in the last 50 years. Yes, Americans are clearly eating a lot of junk and it's affecting our children.

The CSPI wants the FDA to ban eight artificial food dyes. They are specifically targeting Red #40, Yellow #5 and Yellow #6. These dyes make up 90% of the food dyes on the market and cause the most problems.

The bigger "wow" is that the EU already bans these food dyes but the FDA isn't so sure there's actually a link between aggressive behavior and artificial food coloring. Um, really all they have to do is go online and find the study after study showing causality. Really makes you wonder if the FDA is truly an independent government entity or if it's getting some $$$$ from the huge food distributors who would stand to lose millions if they couldn't keep mass producing this garbage. Hmmmm.

Anyway, change won't happen overnight so in the meantime, we need to be much more vigilant about what we as parents are feeding our kids. The bottom line is we need to educate parents and medical professionals about the dangers of artificial dyes. If we all knew that we were spoon-feeding our children a steady diet of neuro-toxins, would we really continue to do so? I think not.

If you'd like to read the original article I referenced, please see it here:

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