The Red Dye Free Store - Where to find products without synthetic Dyes

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Red dye 40 and Behavioral Changes

If I had known that synthetic artificial colors in foods could cause behavioral changes in certain individuals who are more susceptible to it, than I could have spent the other two years with my children much more peacefully. It is pretty clear to my family that Dr. Feingold had it right. Some people tried to discredit him. Why? For some people there is too much to lose - profit in sales! Food companies would have to use more expensive natural food colorings. Food companies might have to start putting real fruit in the food and not just a color. Drug companies would lose profit due to medications being prescribed for depression, ADD or ADHD, etc... Profit, profit, profit. There is too much to lose for some people who could care less about how you feel. There are many testimonials of parents outraged that they wish they knew before their child or children grew up and it could have saved a lot of heartache. There are many parents who know their children and themselves well enough to know how they react to certain foods to say that this is a real problem. Brightly colored foods marketed to children who can't describe why they feel like... hitting someone, having a tantrum, or feeling depressed or extra sensitive.
I remember years and years back when I used to feel extremely sensitive, angry and frustrated after taking Excederin coated with red dye 40. My headache went away but my mood changed. My poor mom. I remember thinking..."Everytime I take Excederin, I feel so sensitive." I couldn't understand why. Luckily, someone mentioned red dye 40, after discussing problems with my child's behavior. I know now why I felt like that and whenever I ate foods with this in it, I felt very different. Now I avoid it. I think that, "If it does this to me, why would it be healthy for others?" I'm sure it's not, but it is for you to decide. I should also add that not everyone reacts to synthetic artificial dyes and it's a good thing! Our society needs enough cleaning up as it is. I don't want to leave out the other synthetic dyes in this blog either because some people have severe allergic reactions or sensitivities to yellow dye. Our family avoids all of the synthetic dyes. It took time to adjust, but now we know just what to buy and what we like.
There is a really good article on baystateparent because it has a "non-alarmist" tone.
It talks about Dr. Feingold's Theory, Getting the Right Diagnosis, Keeping a Food Diary, Partner with an Unbiased Physician, Don't Assume All-Natural is All Right, Don't Ignore Other Possibilities, A List of Synthetic Food Dyes, and Natural Food Dyes (look out for carmine or also known as cochenial if you are allergic or if you don't like bugs!) (Some people have allergic reactions to natural food dyes.)


  1. Interesting article - I understand that doctors are skeptical, but where is the harm in eliminating dyes from the diet? There was kind of a tone to the article like "don't just jump into eliminating the dyes! It might not be for real!" It's not as though dyes are beneficial in any way, it's not like we eliminate all vitamin A from our diet or something. Frankly, where I do think eliminating artificial dyes has helped Abby's behavior, I also just look at it as another way to help our diet to be as healthy as possible.

  2. You have a good point Kara! I have to go out of town, but I'll get back to you.
    Thanks for your comment! :)

  3. Kara,
    You have made a good point. The quote that you are referring to is this ... "I wouldn't say that [food dye reaction] is an epidemic, but when it happens you have to take special steps to corroborate it and make sure it's real—and then treat it," says Rhein. "Mistakes can be made by denying legitimacy or by embracing it too readily," he cautions." I took it a little different. I thought he meant that the behavior that the child is having could be caused by a sensitivity to artificial colors or it could be caused by other underlining causes. However, I agree with you about what he cautions. Regardless, it would be wise for everyone to avoid these dyes. However, treat the whole child and if the dyes were not the cause of the behavior problem than seek more help. Thanks again for your opinion and comments! :) You are keeping me on my toes!

  4. My son is 5 and he has Autism. What foods should we stay away from?

    1. I would definitely avoid artificial colors, but I would check out the Feingold site as well to research more.


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