When I started my family’s journey to better eating, I was well aware that we were eating junk food. Everything in the media taught me that weight was an issue, but if I was OK being a little heavy then what was the problem with eating all the junk I wanted? I also thought that if I wasn’t heavy then there was absolutely no problem with eating junk. Food to me was simply a weight issue. I really had not made any real connection between food and health. And certainly, there could be no relation between food and behavior.
And then…………I started reading about artificial colors.
I loved artificial colors. They make such beautiful birthday cupcakes and make my food all
look the same in the jars and packages that I used to buy. That always seemed like something important to me. Food needed to be pretty and the brighter, the better as far as my kids were concerned. We drank lots of drinks with artificial colors and certainly lots of foods with artificial colors. I even had favorite recipes that I decided needed some extra color for the right effect. To be brutally honest………I never thought of them as “artificial” colors. I simply thought of them as colors. I was still under the impression that if something was bad for me, it would be banned and not available for purchase. Boy………..was I wrong……..again!
Once again……….I am not a doctor. I urge you to do your own research and make decisions for your family. After I did my research on artificial colors, I decided to make them enemy #1 in my house. That means on days that we go away from our real food diet, I still try to avoid artificial colors. It’s not easy to avoid them. They are in everything! Start looking at your labels. You will be amazed! We found colors in places we did not expect to find them. Why do you think your vanilla cake mix is all one color? Artificial colors. We even found them in pickles. Aren’t pickles already green? Yogurt is healthy, but kids’ yogurts are full of artificial colors. I recently read a label on ground beef at the grocery store and you guessed it………..artificial color! Ewwww!!
So since the colors are everywhere………..they must be safe, right? I wish that were true. Anecdotal evidence has long shown that artificial colors may not be safe for our bodies. Many newer studies show that artificial colors are not only harmful, they can actually cause changes in behavior. There are lots of these colors that were previously thought safe, that are now banned. These banned substances we may have once eaten have been shown to be known carcinogens. Once again………I don’t want my family to be a science experiment.
I am obviously concerned about the risk of cancer for my family. It may just be me, but it feels like cancer is everywhere these days. I have many family members and friends who have had to fight cancer or are currently waging the battle. Could it be as simple as something they ate? Probably not for all of them. However, it could be for some of them.
The other concern I have is the link between artificial colors and behavior in children. There are studies that show that artificial colors can actually cause the same symptoms as ADHD. Seems to me that every other kid, I know has that label. Evidence shows that for some…….it can be controlled with the removal of artificial colors rather than medicine. The ADHD symptoms are caused by a reaction similar to an allergic reaction. In my own house, I have 2 children that seem to express a reaction to artificial colors (and 2 others who react to a lesser degree). I have found that since I have removed artificial colors from their diet, they are much calmer. They are still children, so they have their rowdy moments, but they are much improved with this change in diet. I can definitely see a difference in behavior when I pick them up from school and they have eaten something with artificial colors. They are much louder and have a hard time sitting still. They seem sort of jittery. Their minds just don’t seem as clear. It is not uncommon now for my husband and I to ask, “Did you eat artificial colors?” when they are misbehaving and find out the answer is, yes. I can deal with rowdy behavior for a little while, but what concerns me most is the lack of focus. What is going on with their little brains? We are all familiar with peanut free classrooms. Perhaps, teachers and parents should lead the charge in requesting artificial color free classrooms. Might make teachers lives a little easier.
I do my part and provide snacks and lunches for my kids without artificial colors. We need more parents to join together to create change for our kids. I watched the documentary Genetic Roulette the other night and in it they say it only takes 5% of us to join together to force a change in our food industry. Think about it………
Thanks for stopping by to learn more about artificial colors. I hope you have learned something or maybe you have already made this dietary change. Let me know what you are thinking. Drop me a comment at the bottom of this page. If it says “0” comments, don’t be afraid to be the first. Share this information with someone you love. You can also find us on Facebook and join the conversation there. And………..make sure you subscribe by email at the right so you don’t miss our next episode. I promise you won’t get any spam emails from me!