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Artificial colors in foods could be linked to ADHD

Our favorite foods do not have to be artificially colored.
Our favorite foods do not have to be artificially colored.
Pat Anthony/Nutrition Examiner

After reading studies about artificial colors and learning how some react to foods containing artificial colors, many have concluded that ADHD could be caused by the artificial colors that are in a variety of foods.

Even cheese can be artificially colored.
Pat Anthony/Nutrition Examiner

Although the thought of ADHD being caused by artificial colors is not new to many parents and researchers who have questioned the value of adding anything artificial to what should be a nutritious meal, more parents seem to be removing foods from the menu that are colored with artificial dyes.

As there is no nutritional value to any the artificial colors that are added to foods, the addition of chemical colors continues. The food industry may feel colorful foods are more attractive to consumers and easier to sell.

One study discussed on shows that some children given foods that are artificially colored may have reactions. The information included the following:

The researchers found that hyperactive behavior by the 8- and 9-year-olds increased with both the mixtures containing artificial coloring additives. The hyperactive behavior of 3-year-olds increased with the first beverage but not necessarily with the second. They concluded that the results show an adverse effect on behavior after consumption of the food dyes.

There are different types of artificial colors with the ones referred to as dyes being water soluble and the colors called lakes being used in fats or oils.

Consumers may want to consider that artificially colored foods might be approved, but this does not mean they are safe for everyone.

Food coloring can also be from what is considered natural sources. These would include beta-carotene and saffron or could come from an animal or insect source. Learning more about ingredients and their lack of nutritional value may help consumers avoid many of these.

Those demonstrating a sensitivity to artificially colored foods should read all labels and be certain to understand where ingredients in their foods originate.

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