New study out of Purdue alerts parents to possible connection between food dyes and behavior

Can artificial dyes affect some childrens behavior

TAMPA - A study by Purdue researchers could have parents thinking twice about what they feed their kids. It shows just how much artificial food dye is in some of the most popular foods.  Dyes that some doctors and parents say can affect your child's behavior.

"For most people, artificial food dye won’t cause a problem. But for a small group of children and some kids with behavioral problems, food dyes will worsen their behavior and you have no easy way of knowing whether your child will be one of those." But Good Morning America’s Doctor Richard Besser says there are some things parents can do. 

First, look at what your kids are eating for breakfast. Breakfast cereals - especially the ones that have bright colors, processed cakes and some breakfast bars all have artificial dyes, as do candy and most sodas.  

How can you tell if it’s not obvious?  Dr. Besser says there are some things you can look for.

Look at the color of food. If it’s not a color you’d find in nature odds are its artificial.  Read the label. If you see a color followed by a number – blue 1 - red 40 - yellow 6 - it’s an artificial dye.

Dr. Besser says, “I'm as much concerned about the sugar that's thrown in there. Artificial dyes go with a lot of added sugar.”

ABC reached out to the International Food Council who says current research on artificial food colors has found them to be safe and not to cause hyper activity in children.


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