Food Dyes Affect Kids With and Without ADHD

Food Dyes Affect Kids With and Without ADHD

Icees and Slushies make my kids unbearable.  They are off limits in my family.  I am convinced that it is the food dyes in the slushies that trigger increased negative behaviors such as hyperactivity and irritability.  You might be surprised to learn that many pediatrician, psychiatrists and experts in the ADHD community agree.  These experts believe that the food dye behavioral changes occur only in children and that they are small but appreciable.

A new review article just published in the journal Neurotherapeutics agrees with, and has put in writing, the assessment of these experts.  The journal article is a review of the available literature on the topic of food dyes and ADHD.  The authors concludes that food coloring and food dyes cause a small but significant amount of negative behavior in all children, not just children with ADHD or Inattentive ADD.

The authors of this report goes on to report that these behavioral changes, when they occur in a group of children, can lead to classroom (and I would say family) disruptions because of an additive effect.  In other words, one child with a small negative behavioral change is not a huge deal but having more than one child acting out a little bit can result in a huge classroom or family mess.  Anyone who has ever traveled for long distances with siblings in a car can tell you all about the additive and unpleasant effects of small behavioral disruptions. 

 Last year the FDA determined that there was no reason to ban certain food dyes in the U.S.  that Europe banned several years ago.  The FDA decision makers had obviously never gone on a road trip with Slushy guzzling, bouncing off the walls kids .

 2012 Aug 3. [Epub ahead of print]

Artificial Food Colors and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Symptoms: Conclusions to Dye for.


Department of Psychiatry, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, 43210, USA,

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