Have you heard about Red Dye #40? Until recently the concept of dyes in our food was foreign to me. Sure, we eat fairly healthy. I try to buy organic from the dirty dozen produce and I also buy organic chicken. But we are also guilty of being crunched for time and sliding in an EZ Mac or Lunchable on occasion as well.
About 6 weeks ago I took Axton to a friend’s birthday party at the Science Museum, his absolute favorite place to go. But instead of acting happy and excited he was acting strange. He refused to participate in the birthday singing, the scientist demonstration of making ice cream, and then once he had cake he started acting extremely rude and acting out. My best friend, who was at the party, called me later that week and asked me if I had ever considered eliminating Red Dye #40 from Axton’s diet.
Um, no. What the heck does that even mean? And am I a bad mom for not knowing about this?
She explained that she had a friend who’s son was acting out terribly and in a desperate attempt to find a source to the problem she eliminated Red Dye #40 from his diet and within 48 hours she had a brand new, well behaved child. Soon I started digging for information on Red Dye to find out more information. Unfortunately I didn’t find much solid evidence when it comes to hyperactivity and Red Dyes. Most of the studies show children with ADHD can be sensitive to Red Dye and many countries have banned it or require labeling that states “may cause hyperactivity in children.”
I started looking at the labels of the food Axton had eaten the morning of the birthday party and I was shocked to realize every single thing I fed him had Red 40 in it! The blueberry waffles, the strawberry yogurt, and then the cake icing at the birthday party. I was convinced he was melting down from being fed a buffet of Red 40 all morning.
I decided to cut it out of his diet for a week just to see if there was a difference. I was surprised to see how much of our food contains Red Dyes.
Anything Strawberry Flavored – Including Yogurt.
Tons of junk food – like M&M’s, gummy bears, and stuff we save for a special treat but still would allow him to have on occasion.
Even the Strawberry Flavored Yogurt at our favorite Fro-Yo shop has Red Dye in their “healty” yogurt!
Many chips like Cheetos and Doritos have Red Dye as well.
And after testing the waters without Red Dye #40 I would have to say I am a believer that children can be sensitive to Red Dye. Sure, all 3 & 4 year olds have their moments, but I can definitely see a difference in behavior.
Just last week we were able to sit through an entire movie at the Dollar Theatre together on a Mom & Son date. Instead of a special snack of Gummy Worms & M&Ms we had white cheddar popcorn and a small chocolate bar as a treat. The moving going experience was night and day difference. In the past 6 weeks the meltdowns have been so few and far between and I completely contribute it to my awesome parenting. Oh. And reading the labels and being more conscience of what dyes we are putting in our bodies. It has made us eat even healthier and forces us to eliminate so much junk food from our diets.
I know this post isn’t DIY related but I wanted to write it in case you are considering eliminating Red Dye from your diet. I would encourage you to try it and see. It’s not that hard and so worth the results – even if it’s just an excuse to eat healthier for the whole family.