My daughter is a fairly well behaved and calm child. She does have issues sitting still, and she is very distracted, but she's also only four and a half. As with every child, she has moments where she is mean, and feisty, and does not play well with others. It happens, she's a kid.
About a month ago, I went to a cookie party with some amazing women, and we got onto the topic of food dye and how some of the women have seen huge changes when their children have dye. We got to talking about it in length, and one of the women, how her son acted was exactly how my daughter would act only on certain times, which corresponded with when she had food dye.
I researched a bit when I got home, just to see what affect dyes could have on someone, and was shocked at the things I found. Multiple blog posts and articles all talking about food dye and their effect on not only children but adults too. Some was just hyperactivity, depression, meanness, but some was cancer and other things you don't want your child to ever face.
I found this research paper, A Rainbow of Risks, which is long, but completely worth the read, and that is what cemented our decision to cut food dye completely. Not just with our daughter, but with us too.
About a week after we got rid of the few things we had in the house with dye and cut them out, we went to see family, and I gave my daughter Runts without even thinking about it. Within minutes she was bouncing off the walls, screaming, not listening, just all over a different child. You could say it's the sugar, but she had had sugar without dye and doesn't act this way. The thing is, she only had two runts. A sugar high as ferocious as this doesn't come from two pieces of tiny candy.
That is what proved to my husband that cutting out dye was the right thing to do.
Ever since we cut out dye, we know the instant she has an accidental ingestion. Red40 is the worst, it makes her really mean, and it takes days to get out of her system. Yellow5 and Yellow6 make her really hyper, but she doesn't really react to blue.
Food dyes in the US are made from petroleum, which isn't good for you. For years people have been trying to ban artificial food dyes in our food and switch to natural dyes, but with more foods being processed and made in boxes, the more money companies make when they put food dye into them. They're addicting! And going off can make you jittery and cranky, so you feel you need more, just like with caffeine.
Lately, with trying to get healthier and trying to fix my body for pregnancy, we have been eating at home and making everything from scratch a lot more, so we didn't have much dye in the house. I only threw out two things, and one of them was V8 juice which really surprised me. Now when we go shopping, I constantly check labels to make sure it doesn't have any dye, even caramel dye (which has its own set of risks not included in the research paper), because I don't want my child to be ingesting petroleum, even if it had no bearing whatsoever on how hyper or mean she can be.
I found a site that lists almost all of the foods that contain artificial food dye and the list is staggering. Even some fresh oranges have dye injected into their peel to make them more orange!
It is hard finding some items without dye, like fruit snacks or some candies and juices, but it's been worth it. We don't keep much sugar in the house anymore, so that helps, but when I want something that has dye, like M&Ms, it's hard to resist.
Having her change her demeanor when we went off dye really helped show us that it was worth it, but reading the risks of petroleum based dye scared me to change.
I wouldn't want to put it in my body after learning it, why would I want to give it to my child?