Red 40 and other food dyes?

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-10-2004
Red 40 and other food dyes?
10
Wed, 05-11-2011 - 12:40am

My 9-year-old daughter is recently disgnosed with ADHD. She is on Focalin XR, Focalin, and Intuniv. I have noticed a huge improvement in her focus and activity levels. However, her general irritability remains.

I am beginning to wonder if I should try cutting out artificial colors from her diet. Much of what I can find on the internet shows that the dyes are suspect in an increase in hyperactivity. But I am wondering if maybe the dyes are increasing my daughter's irritability.

Has anyone had experience with this? Has anyone noticed a decrease in irritability when artificial food dyes are removed from the diet? I know about the Feingold diet, but I am not really wanting to take her food restrictions that far. Has anyone noticed a differencwe with just the removal of food dyes?

Thanks!

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-02-2003
Thu, 05-26-2011 - 8:01pm

Give it a try. No one should use any of those synthetic dyes. A study in 2007 showed all kids have problems with them. As you get used to eliminating the dyes, you just might want to go further. The Feingold diet isn't difficult--especially if you are a member of the Feingold Association. See www.feingold.org

You might also want to check out the Yahoo group: http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/Feingold-Program4us/

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-02-2003
Tue, 05-24-2011 - 6:15pm

Give it a try. No one should use any of those synthetic dyes. A study in 2007 showed all kids have problems with them. As you get used to eliminating the dyes, you just might want to go further. The Feingold diet isn't difficult--especially if you are a member of the Feingold Association. See www.feingold.org

You might also want to check out the Yahoo group: http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/Feingold-Program4us/

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-02-2004
Fri, 05-20-2011 - 11:55am
Along with removing the dye, it may be beneficial to increase protein, and decrease carbs. (Have an egg for breakfast instead of cereal.) According to the book "Healing ADHD" by Dr. Amen, some types of ADHD do better with more protein.

I have another friend with ADHD and Aspergers who when he gets cranky his mom gives him protein and he does much better. (Less likely to melt down.) He does have a family history of people with blood sugar issues, which may also be his issue too. Mom has tried to get this checked by the doctors but they keep blowing her off, so she just keeps a bag of jerky in her purse to snack on when needed.
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-19-2008
Thu, 05-19-2011 - 5:53pm
My Oldest has Celiacs, it's not fun making everything from scratch, which we have done for years since Gluten free was not readily availble. Eating out is also getting easier these days.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-02-2004
Thu, 05-19-2011 - 12:56am
I wasn't recommending eliminating gluten. I was just saying that dye is easier to eliminate than gluten.

Gluten is in SO many things that most people eat daily that it is really hard to do unless there is complete buy in by the family members, teachers and friends. It can be done, but it does mean limited to no eating out, buying expensive or making your own. (Which, making your own of anything is usually easier than people think, but if you are working and have limited time, that may not be an option.) (Yes, Corn Flakes are cheap and gluten free. But making the bread is not so cheap. And buying it is more expensive than some limited budgets can do.) I know several families who are gluten free or trying to be. It is hard for them, especially the kids who are used to eating it. But, they are all diagnosed with Celiac Disease, and unless that is the issue here, then gluten would just be a really hard thing to remove to eliminate. Dairy may actually be easier! (And boy is that in a lot of things too - but not Cool Whip, LOL!)
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-19-2008
Tue, 05-17-2011 - 11:08pm
I would not recommend eliminating Gluten unlesss there is a medical need. And I agree, it IS tough
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-02-2004
Tue, 05-17-2011 - 8:05pm
My friend's son is very sensitive to red dye. (He is not ADHD.) When he was very young, they thought it was chocolate, but it turns out that red dye is in cheap chocolate (like Easter Bunnies.) When he was very young he would have a total screaming meltdown when he got stuff with dye, which because his parents do few chips , sodas or fruit drinks, was not often. But when he did (at a party) he was totally out of character mean, angry and then to melt down. Now that he is older (9) it is more irritable than melt down. He does know what this does to him, and is able to avoid the dyes on his own most of the time.

The family does make most meals from scratch, but do get some prepared items from places like Trader Joe's. They do junk food like chips - but look at the ingredients. No cheap chocolate. Juice boxes are a big dye containing item. CapriSun pouches have no dye (but lots of sugar.) Tortilla chips (plain) have no dye. So it is looking at stuff like cakes, frosting, chips with seasoning, juice in general. It is not hard to eliminate from the diet as there are lots of things out there without dye, or that use beet dye instead. My kids are not sensitive, but I do try to limit dye. Most of the dyes are made from petroleum. I feel that should only be put in my car - not my kids.

My thought is, try to eliminate it. Your family is not likely to notice other than changing brands of chips or juice, or eliminating soda. Dye is much easier to eliminate than gluten. Go for a week without, then give her something with it. You should know pretty quickly if dye is an issue.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-19-2008
Thu, 05-12-2011 - 9:34am
We are memebers, but prefert o know exactly what is in our food, and it is so much cheaper to make from scratch, since we are also Gluten free due to Celiacs in my oldest.
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-02-2003
Wed, 05-11-2011 - 7:05pm
gracieand-cecesmom : You probably will see an improvement watching for food dyes since the artificial flavorings would also be eliminated at the same time. But it you are going to that much effort,, do it right so you know you will know if your child is really sensitive. By following Feingold, you won't be giving up a lot. Most everything can be made or purchased.
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-19-2008
Wed, 05-11-2011 - 10:11am
We have eliminated all artificial colors, flavors, and all preservatives from our Diet. I noticed a difference within DAYS in DD's attitude and behavior. It is hard, since everything she/we eat is made from scratch, and it is time consuming, but it works, and we all feel better for it.