The number of problems in our food supply is more than one article can capture.  Today let’s look at what makes many of the foods that we eat appealing to the eyes – synthetic food coloring.

The FDA says that there is “insufficient evidence” that synthetic food coloring additives cause hyperactivity or other health risks although there is a “trend” that requires “more research”.  Simple logic suggests that human beings were not made to consume coal tar and petrochemicals, the base components of synthetic food coloring.  These colorings are actively used in foods marketed to children with an increasing number of reports linking these colorings with ADHD.  Others believe that this type of disregard toward long-term health risks is in part responsible for increased cancers in society.

In 2007 and again in 2010, the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom did a study of these synthetic additives along with the preservative Sodium Benzoate.  Their findings were that hyperactivity in their test groups of 3, 8 and 9 year-olds all showed higher hyperactivity than the general population.  Critics state that these studies were not adequately constructed and need to be discounted as they might be biased.  Dr. Benjamin Feingold’s studies on the subject in the mid-seventies are also discounted because of inconsistencies in his findings.

Rather than discount these studies and an alarming “trend”, shouldn’t the FDA commission studies to find out the truth?

The Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, January 2012 reviewed 24 articles on food colors but found flaws in each one.  Their conclusion?  Better studies.  The FDA is thinking about engaging in these better controlled studies -nearly forty years after the first warnings.

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For now, the best advice is to avoid any food with any artificial or synthetic food coloring.  Mother Nature colors her own food.  Be happy on the inside.  Eat well.  Be well.

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