T.W. asks from Naperville, IL on December 08, 2008
Red 40 and Aggression
My son has SPD and major hyperactivity. The last 3 weeks or so, his aggression and energy level have skyrocketed. His teacher has called me saying they are having problems at school with his behavior, and it's been out of control at home. Thing is, there have been no changes at home - we keep a pretty good routine b/c he truly needs it. Due to my son's issues, we can't stand drinking water. For awhile, we were doing watered down juice, but we had concerns about all the sugar, so we started substituting kool aid made with splenda. I figured there was nothing that could hurt him. Now I'm doing research on red dye 40 and realizing this may be the cause of his issues. Has anyone else experienced this and if so, did eliminating the dye from your child's diet help? Also, what would you recommend he drink if we take away the koolaid? Straight up water is out of the question; it makes him gag. Is it better to water down juice or try flavored waters? Thank you so much.
Edited to add after a few responses:
Let me also please request that you not completely flame me for giving my son kool-aid. While I do appreciate the advice, I would also greatly appreciate not being made to feel like a horrible mom for making a mistake due to a lack of information on red dye. Not to mention that in doing the research, there are conflicting opinions on both red dye and splenda, so one can't possibly be expected to know everything about these chemicals. He has only been drinking it for a few months, and it was b/c we were worried about the sugar content of juices, so please be aware that I do care about the health of my son very much and will do anything suggested that will help. But questioning my parenting is really not cool, and isn't likely going to be very productive to me or to anyone else who needs advice.
1 mom found this helpful
D.V. answers from Chicago on December 09, 2008
well, I don't know the answers as we don't have these issues. It caught my eye because my friend's son has many issues, food allergies being one of them. She mentioned the red dye was a huge trigger for him.
I really just want to say you guys going through this amaze me. In this day & age to go completely organic, dye chemical free, process free, etc. etc. is not exacty easy to do, or change habits, or always financially feesable.
& if you have other kids who DON'T have these issues.
(my friend has 2 other boys & a girl & one on the way) I honestly DO NOT know how she does it.
So hang in there, I hope you find the triggers & get things on a smoother path. If I had not heard from others, I would have NEVER thought of red dye 40 as a trigger for a 'specific' behavior. Not good for you, yes.....as most everything we injest or do.
D.~ SAHM to 6y/o B/G twins & 3 1/2 y/o girl
E.S. answers from Chicago on December 09, 2008
I was like you, gave my daughter "light" juices and sugar free stuff thinking sugar was the problem. Found out the hard way that sugar wasn't causing or contributing to hyperactivity, the dyes and chemicals were. Sometimes high fructose corn syrup is the culprit also. I agree to check out the feingold diet and if you follow it strictly, I think you will notice a change. Problem is is that is very restrictive, time-consuming and expensive. It's also very frustrating to have your child go to a birthday party or school and eat something that ruins the whole day. I described it to people and my daughter as an allergy so it made it a little easier.. she knew what she was "allergic" to and what she wasn't, but it's still hard. Long story short, we aren't doing Feingold anymore since she had to start taking ADD type medicines to counteract a medication she had to receive for absence seizures but if my memory serves me, you should switch to organic juices and if you follow Feingold you have to watch the type of juice also. Apple is no good, berries are no good. A lot of the fruit is no good since it has salicylates (sp??) -- I think we did a lot of organic lemonade and watered down organic pear nectar. Good luck!
D.N. answers from Chicago on December 08, 2008
I have not had this issue but we do try to watch the amount of sugar. I try to buy the Light juices since they have less sugar, and we do water them down for the most part. I also watch the grams of sugar. One thing my kids really like in the summer is water with lime added. I make a pitcher of water (we use the Brita filter pitcher)and slice up a lime and add to the water. You can add Splenda if preferred. No dyes, and low sugar content.
T.V. answers from Chicago on December 08, 2008
T.-Naomi is right. Our food has so many chemicals, dyes, and additives to make us sick and lethargic, not to mention fat. Anything with an unusual color always steer clear of. Optimally you should go totally organic and not buy anything that is pre-made. Many of your son's sensitivities will lessen or disappear completely. You also have to be looking at gluten free eating regimen. Gluten, dyes and processed sugar are the number one triggers for these behavior issues.
Check out the Feingold diet and ph balancing for the body-this works with people of all ages www.acidalkalinediet.com . I have much more info on my blog but specifically check out the links for raw eating.
There are so many books and eating ideas out there with children and adults that fall into this spectrum and most do not know it is environmentally (food) related.
in great health
Please let me know if you need more info!!
N.S. answers from Chicago on December 08, 2008
I apologize up front if I am going to come off being a bit harsh. Why are you giving your child red #40, or any coloring? Food coloring by all standards is totally bad for anyone, especially kids with sensitivities. There are MANY many ways to flavor water without all the glucose/fructose juice has. You could try doing plain tea with some stevia or agave for sweetness, or even honey is way better. You could try a juicer and make carrot juice which has great flavor mixed with an apple or two and you've got a very healthy and yummy drink. There are many ways, you just have to try them. Splenda is TERRIBLE for him and so is the koolaid. I promise it is making your child's behavior worse, even possibly creating it. Good luck with your son. I have a lot of experience with additives and sensory issues in children in the past 15 yrs. It IS possible to work out the issues. It is very commendable that you are trying to do everything for the health of your son.