“In this petition, I’m asking Mars to change to natural colorings,” mom Renee Shutters told me by phone. “It’s very doable.”
Shutters, who lives in Jamestown, N.Y., is mother of 9-year-old Trenton. And she says his behavior improved dramatically after she removed artificial dyes from his diet several years back.
“I went through all our cupboards and I couldn’t believe how much of the stuff had dyes in it,” Shutters told us. The chicken tenders in her freezer had dyes, as did the yogurts — even “the macaroni and cheese I was giving [my kids] had it.”
Shutters says Mars has already replaced many of the dyes in the candies it sells in Europe and the U.K. with natural colorings made from vegetables and other plant sources.
The FDA has been studying this and dye uses are well regulated. I’m not clear what these Moms think they know better than the experts.
Those hoping to prove that synthetic colors are dangerous to children have an uphill battle, not only because synthetic colors are under continuous supervision, but because the body of research proving the connection between these colors and child behavior remains inconclusive.
In Europe, after examining the South Hampton study, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) decided not to change its recommendations on food coloring, finding that the study was flawed in its conclusions.
In fact, once the study’s results were adjusted for factors such as socioeconomic status, gender, and education, they showed that 3-year-olds were actually less hyperactive after consuming the mixture, and 8 and 9-year-olds showed greater hyperactivity only at the highest dose, according to Keith Ayoob, director of the nutrition clinic at the Rose F. Kennedy Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Also, because children participating in the study were given a mixture of artificial colors and one preservative, it is impossible to determine from the results which additives caused any change in behavior, Ayoob explains.
Also, there are always problems with such studies that rely on parents’ rating of their kids behavior. Double blindedness is problematic as is adjusting for other factors. What would be the mechanism for these dyes to be dangerous? Experts note that the overall diet is probably more of an issue than certain food dyes. And, if you are eating a lot of processed foods that contain dye, that isn’t the best diet either. How was the woman quoted above so shocked about dyes. Does she never read labels? Did she never make homemade versions of those food to see that they really did not come out in those vibrant colors?
So, I’m saying pffth on these Google U. moms and their Mommy instincts about hyperactivity. And I am a Mom so I have just as solid of credentials as they do. So there. Limit the M&Ms, fruit roll-ups and Easy Mac and maybe things will improve on their own.