Reaction to Food Coloring

Updated on March 07, 2008
L.H. asks from Fairborn, OH
6 answers

Has anyone else seen negative behavior in their children in relation to food coloring, especially with red #40, yellow #5 and yellow #6?

I discovered the connection when my 5 year old took a very bright red antiobiotic (hubby thought he'd help make it taste better by getting watermelon flavor). What I learned is that all 3 of my kids react differently to dye in foods. My 8 year old gets angry and defiant, the 6 year old hyper, and the 2 year old screams and smacks people.

I am interested in how many other moms see the same issues. Every friend I've had who has tried taking her kids off food dye now sees similar behaviors when the kids accidentally eat something colored. I'm interested in how prevalent this issue is, but it's hard to keep kids off colors, especially Valentines with all the reds and pinks. Anyone else see the same thing?

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answers from Cleveland on

It is an allergy, just like eggs or peanuts, and should be treated as such. Make the school aware of it so that they include them on the allergy list. They will also need to take this into account when having snacks at school. We get a list of approved snacks to bring at my daughters school. She is also allergic to the dye and becomes very hyper and physical. Start reading the back of everything you buy! You will be surprised how many things have dye in them. Head back to the baby section, they have fruit snacks, cookies, and crackers without dye (just make sure the package doesn't have an infant on front). Juicy Juice has no dye but be careful of yogurt, some flavors do and some don't even if they are the same brand.
As for valentines day, offer to bring in the treats for the class party, that way you know they will be ok. There is plenty out there and you don't always have to go organic, or more expensive, you might just have to switch to a different brand of the same product.
I hate for my daughter to be separated or singled out and have to have something different so I would much rather provide for the whole class then have to make her have something different and wish she was having the brightly covered dye-filled treat with everyone else.
Eventually you will do it out of habit but until then, plan for extra time. Good Luck!



answers from Mansfield on

My brother and daughter both have terrible issues with dyes, especially red! My brother would get hyper and mean and my daughter gets angry and starts hitting when she doesn't get her way. I keep her away from foods with coloring and preservitives and she is a happy, sweet, little girl. My brother is 21 and still has attitude issues when he eats something with red coloring in it. There are quite a few children diagnosed with ADD and ADHD that just need to stay away from fruit punch. My mother has done a great deal of studying on this issue and you would not beleive the reactions children have from these dyes.



answers from Bloomington on

we got the rainbow colored rice krispie cereal once, and after one breakfast with it i said NEVER AGAIN!!! i thought it was the sugar... but maybe it was the food coloring? anyway, they were super difficult that day and then their poo was neon colored. yikes! we've avoided it since then!

i can't believe they put so much dye in medicine. duh. as if the body doesn't have enough to deal with already when it's fighting sickness... that's why i prefer natural medicine. they make some great cold and cough syrups with echinacea and honey. check out the health food store next time.

we like naturally bright colored foods-- blueberries, strawberries, carrots, beets, etc. they are sooo healthy and my kids snack on them like they can't get enough!



answers from Youngstown on

I have a student who has a reaction to red #40. It's in everything, not just in red things. Anything that's colored at all pretty much has red 40 in it! Supposedly it makes him hyper, although I haven't really noticed a correlation in it because I have purposely bought little treats without red 40 in it.



answers from Cleveland on

LOL sorry i'm not laughing at you but god i remeber those days and it was a pain to figure out took me months, my youngest to top it off though would get a rash on her face as well so we finally pinned it down. it is not uncommon at all but it is very tough to deal with, and very hard to prevent the older kids can be self aware and take part in making sure they aren't eating this stuff outside the home but when they are at school and stuff and you can't be there it really is up to them. For me i send a ton of treats to school with my kids, things I know they love and thier teachers know about the problems some things cause so while my kids might hand out one treat to every other kid in the class they will have 6 or 7 to keep for themselves, all different things in order to allow them to eat with the class as they pig out on food dye, then i just tell my kids to bring their other treats home and i go threw them and sort out what they can have. it isn't ideal but it works, and it actually stopped the school from trying to force me to medicate my 7 year old son for adhd, which he doesn't have. there are several lists online not sure of the links that list all sorts of bad additives in our foods here, my solution is i make everything myself and buy organic when i can, it's done wonders for my children's behavior both at home and school. beleive it or not corn allergies are a big one as well, and "everything" has corn in it.



answers from Cleveland on

I have known quite a few kids who have had hyperactive reactions to red dye. The first time I had seen it was with my brother when he was young. He outgrew the allergy as /i believe most kids do. This is not uncommon and I would just try to watch for foods with coloring in them, as hard as that might be.

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