I know I said we were going to talk about probiotics and the gut in this post but Halloween is quickly approaching so we need to change direction for a moment.
October 31st officially kicks off the flu/sugar season but we no worries I’m not going to haunt you with that subject again. However, we need to be aware of what else is in some of those sugary treats kids will be stocking up on in a week.
Artificial food dyes are running rampant in processed foods and they may be contributing to behavioral issues in children. In 1906 the United States instituted the Pure Food and Drugs Act that banned artificial colors that proved to be dangerous for consumption. In 1950 Orange #1 was banned after several children became ill after trick or treating on Halloween. Yellow #5 is currently being looked as a possible link to hyperactivity, anxiety and migraines. You might be asking why is it called Yellow #5? Well that would be because Yellows #1, #2, #3, and #4 have already been banned (Hennessey, 2012).
In 2011 the Food and Drug Administration acknowledged, “Exposure to food and food components, including AFC and preservatives, may be associated with behavioral changes, not necessarily related to hyperactivity, in certain susceptible children with ADHD and other problem behaviors, and possibly in susceptible children from the general population” (FDA, 2011).
How does Yellow #5 affect us? One study suggests the dye causes nutrient wasting and more specifically zinc wasting. This means that when we consume Yellow #5 it causes us to excrete zinc from our bodies (Arnold, 2005) Zinc deficiency is linked to poor neurological function, weak immunity, thinning hair and leaky gut (Dr. Axe, 2017). I will discuss in a future post about how leaky gut equals leaky brain.
Research shows that 33% of children with ADHD may respond to dietary intervention including removing artificial food dyes. The FDA claimed the publication was flawed based on its sample size but researchers concluded evidence was too substantial to dismiss (Nigg, 2012).
So what can we do? Candy doesn’t have to be the only treat handed out on Halloween. The Teal Pumpkin Project was founded by Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) whose mission is to improve the quality of life and the health of individuals with food allergies. Their website has tons of free resources to help your community avoid food allergies. Go to their page at https://www.foodallergy.org/education-awareness/teal-pumpkin-project to find list of alternative treats such as: crayons, playing cards, noise makers, bouncy balls and much much more.
As you shop be sure to read all your food labels. Food dyes are required to be on the label and if you believe you or someone in your family has a reaction to a food dye you can report that reaction to the FDA at https://www.fda.gov/Safety/ReportaProblem/default.htm or call their adverse reaction center at 301-436-2405.
Lets start off the flu/sugar season right this Halloween by not only cutting out some sugar treats but also preventing some unnecessary adverse hyperactivity in our communities.
Dr. Jeric Toney D.C.