How To Find and Avoid Food Dyes In Your Kid’s Breakfast Cereal And Other Food!
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right? Cereal is a parents’ quickest and easiest choice for breakfast when they are running late or on the go. It is also a child’s number one choice to go along with Saturday morning cartoons.
As a child, I remember my mother telling me no on my favorite cereals because there was a lot of sugar. Parents today worry about more than just sugar: what is really in the foods we are giving our kids?
There have been plenty of studies that have shown food dyes can tarnish the way children act. Have you ever gotten a letter sent home or a phone call that Billy or Suzie has had a temper tantrum or has hit another child in the classroom? The first thing you think is, “well, he was fine in the car,” or you wonder “did he sneak a piece of candy?”
According to the Purdue researchers, the amount of artificial food dye certified for use by the Food and Drug Administration has increased five-fold, per capita, between 1950 and 2012. The researchers estimate that a child could easily consume 100 mg of dyes in a day and that some children could consume more than 200 mg per day. Studies that tested much smaller amounts could easily have downplayed or missed entirely the effect of dyes on behavior.
Cereal boxes target a child’s eye with the flashy colors or their most favorite cartoon character. Some cereals even have sparkly chocolate covered marshmallows so kids are drinking the dye colored milk too!
In 2008, CSPI petitioned the FDA to ban Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Red 40, and five other artificial food dyes, and in 2011, as an interim measure, urged the FDA to require front-of-package disclosures on packages of dyed foods. The British government and the European Union require warning labels on most dyed foods, which has almost eliminated the use of food dyes in Europe.
So what should parents do?
Of course we want our children happy, but even more important – we want them healthy! Nutritious cereals companies are aiming for adults, rather than kids. Since we are the consumer and the parents, we must make better decisions for ourselves and our children and make better choices about the foods they eat, including breakfast cereal!
August 12, 2015
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