All kids melt down sometimes, and mine are no exception. When my son was about 3 and a half, he started to have the occasional tantrum. I know that’s a normal part of development, but I didn’t realize other factors could be in the mix.
You know how sometimes you see something, but you don’t pay attention to it. Then it shows up again and you dismiss it. Until is shows up YET AGAIN and you finally say to yourself, “Okay, okay I will pay attention this time!”
Well, that happened to me with articles about kids and dyes in food and how they might affect behavior. There are lots of articles, but this TV news clip gives a pretty good overview: Food Dye Affects Children’s Behaviors
The articles I found go back a couple of years and the FDA and doctors have said there is no proven link.
Here’s the part that is relevant to me (which is why I am mentioning this to you).
After reading the articles, I started to pay more attention to food with dyes in my son’s diet. Over time, I figured out that when he consumes foods with dye – RED dye in particular – it really affects his behavior. I’ve tried to talk myself out of this connection – to disprove it – even as recently as last month:
The second week of school, my son’s preschool take home papers included about 10 gummy bears in a bag stapled to a piece of art. As we left school and headed for the car, he begged for the candy. I knew better, but I caved. He ate them all – including the red ones. A short while later, when we were in line to return something at a sporting goods store, that dye kicked in. He flipped his lid over something that normally wouldn’t bother him, and he proceeded to ram me over and over again (in the butt) with his head.
It was a head butt, I guess! And it hurt. (His head is seriously hard. As in, when he and another child bump heads – I check the other kid first.)
Anyway, I couldn’t calm him down (he was UNreachable) and I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.
This episode, for me, was the clincher. I don’t need any more articles, or information, or even a doctor to tell me what’s what. This kid is affected by brightly colored food.
Dyes are in EVERYTHING!
He’s kind of a picky eater, so it doesn’t help that dyes are in so many foods (even yogurt). But, we’ve gotten good at reading the labels, and he knows now not to ask me for things like Skittles. (But if someone else offers them when mom’s not around he would gladly take them. He is five, after all.)
Bottom line – reducing his intake of food with dye has been a good thing for us.