I love it when my friends post stuff on my Facebook wall asking
if I have read or know about a specific article. That means they
are paying attention and care about how they are feeding their
families. This article,
Avoid Food Dyes to Reduce Hyperactivity and ADHD, was timely,
as I continue to talk about salicylates, food dyes and food
To many parents who have hyperactive kids, this is not new info.
Even the director of my daughter's school knew how food dyes and
salicylates increase hyperactivity (her son is now 17 with a former
salicylate allergy). I first read about this in a book called Is This Your
Child? by Dr. Doris Rapp
when my daughter was a newborn. Dr. Rapp is an old-school pediatric
allergist who was way ahead of her time back in the 1980's
and still is bringing these issues to the forefront today. The
information is not new - the Feingold Diet created back in
1967 linked food dyes and food preservatives to hyperactivity - but
more Americans are becoming aware how harmful food dyes and food
preservatives really are for our bodies.
Food dyes and food preservatives produce the manmade form of
salicylates. One of the side effects of salicylates is that they
stimulate the central nervous system (CNS). This means they: 1)
increase the risk for hyperactivity, such as ADHD/ADD, and other
mood disorders, such as anxiety, depression or aggressive behavior
and 2) make it more difficult to fall asleep at night, either
assisted or unassisted.
When you eat foods that are high in man-made salicylates, you
often get a child who can't sit still or goes a little "crazy." I
saw this a few weeks ago in my daughter on a 90-minute drive after
eating birthday cake. She was in the back seat waving her hands in
the air, her head going back and forth like she was at a rock
concert. I was driving, thinking, "Ah yes, thank you, United
States, for still allowing this crap in our diets." But be warned,
food dyes are not
Food preservatives such as sodium benzoate, BHA and BHT often
produce the same results as food dyes, emitting the chemical
salicylate into the body. Where are these preservatives found? Just
look at your cereal box, box of crackers, packaged oatmeal, breads,
soda pop and certain juices - these chemicals are used to increase
the shelf-life of our processed foods.
Sodium benzoate is a preservative often used to prevent mold in
many of our food and drink products. There are concerns that the
combination of sodium benzoate and ascorbic acid (vitamin C) forms
the chemical benzene, which is cancer-causing, according to the FDA. Sodium benzoate gives
foods, candies and drinks an orange color and has a bitter
aftertaste. It is also found in the orange drink expectant mothers
drink before their glucose test.
Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene
(BHT) are used as preservatives to prevent fats in foods from going
rancid. BHA and BHT are antioxidants. BHA is a yeast-defoaming
agent, and BHT is used to preserve food, flavor and color. There is
evidence that certain people cannot metabolize BHA and BHT,
resulting in health and behavior changes and increasing their risk
for cancer. BHT is banned in England.
Instead of using products with BHA or BHT, look for foods that
contain Rosemary extract, which is a natural antioxidant. Enjoy Life Foods, based
in Chicago, does not use any BHA and BHT or unnatural ingredients
in their packaged food products. Their foods have a shorter
shelf-life, but they are much better for our bodies to digest. Our
bodies "understand" rosemary, but they don't know how to process
BHA and BHT.
So what can you do? Stop buying foods that contain these food
dyes and preservatives.
Instead of M&Ms, buy Unreal
Candy, which use no food dyes or corn products and are gluten
free. Check out my personal review of Unreal Candy. Yes, they
can be found at Target!
Plus, check out one of my posts on "
The 5 Most Harmful Ingredients Lurking in Your Candy."
If you don't have these stores near you, become a savvy
label-reader and buy organic candy online at the Natural
Candy Store. They have everything from baking goods to gummies
and even candy canes. Encourage the use of better candies and snack
foods by purchasing them for classrooms, camps and churches
We can lobby with our dollars by being choosy in what we buy for
our families. The less we buy these products, the more the big
companies will be forced to use better quality products. After all,
Kraft makes macaroni and cheese without the food chemicals for
European countries because those chemicals are banned in
There are better options out there that won't make you feel
Jasmine blogs to inspire you to make positive, healthy changes.
See more of Jasmine's stories here.
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