A Suburban Greenmom is defeated by Yellow 50...
It’s odd—for someone as concerned with what’s in my food as I normally am, I somehow never gave food dyes much thought one way or the other. I mean, most of the food I buy doesn’t have dyes in it, or so I’ve always assumed, so why worry, right?
Except there are those fruit snacks my kids keep getting at parties and from sitters. And “juice drinks” at parties. Halloween candy. Christmas candy. Even the chocolate milk they drink with such joy every Friday at school. (Chocolate milk? Food coloring? Why?) I can have some control over what I buy to feed my kids, but there’s so much stuff out there I can’t control; and I can’t exactly mandate control over everything that goes into their mouths when I’m not around…
So I start looking around.
Mrs. Q over at Fed Up With Lunch has been talking about artificial food dyes lately, linking to a Chicago Tribune article about possible correlation between childhood behavioral problems and artificial coloring in foods. Suspicions of links between the two have been around since the seventies, when Dr. Benjamin Feingold put children on strict elimination diets to try to conquer their allergies…but his findings were not fully substantiated. A 2007 study from
This afternoon, for the writing of this post, I did a scan through my own kitchen and to my own relief found pretty much nothing with artificial coloring floating around my fridge or cupboards. But the reason I had the freedom to do that was that my kids were at a birthday party, eating cake with electric-neon icing, getting goodie bags full of all kinds of brightly colored candies and goodies.
So what do I do? What do you all do? I don’t want to be That Mom who won’t let my kids eat what other kids eat, though if after a while the fruit snacks and Blow-pops get forgotten I will quietly disappear them without any remorse. But if there’s so much of this stuff out there, everywhere, how do we keep our kids healthy? It’s like the Red Bees of Brooklyn, who spurned the lovely wildflowers to dive into the Red-40-laced HFCS at the cherry factories; the beautiful bright colors are so alluring, and they are like magnets for little people…
Anyone got any brilliant ideas how to try to keep as much of the icky stuff out of our kids as possible? Or do you all do pretty much what I do, which is try to manage it as much as possible while avoiding making it any worse than you have to?
And another question for the comments: Chocolate milk was the big shocker for me. Anyone find any other basically harmless-seeming foods which harbor some synthetic dye, something that shocked you when you realized it? (I mean, Cheetos, yeah, not a shocker…the chocolate milk surprised me, though.)
Where else do these colors lurk that we may not be looking?
--Jenn the Greenmom