A walk down the aisle of the average grocery store in America can yield some amazing sights, especially in the aisles where foods seem particularly targeted toward young children. Electric blue fruit-flavored drinks or ice pops, shocking pink strawberry-flavored milk, and shades of purple, yellow and green sweetened cereals with colorful bits of marshmallows. Even though we adults shudder to see these items, our kids are drawn to them like magnets.
The Health Risks
All those strange colors are usually created with synthetic food dyes, many of which have already been linked to hyperactivity and other behavioral issues. The electric blue sweet drink in the cute, single serving bottle probably uses one of many synthetic food dyes called FD&C Blue No. 1 to obtain that unnatural hue.
In addition to this use, it may also show up in hair dye, pharmaceutical drugs and many other products routinely used in America today. Strangely, some of the same companies who manufacture products for U.S. consumers using these artificial dyes, are using natural food colorings for their European markets, so why not here?
What Can Parent’s Do to Avoid Synthetic Dyes?
As a parent, it is up to you to ensure your child’s safety, and these tips can help you learn how to avoid potentially harmful synthetic ingredients and dyes in your child’s diet.
- Remove as many processed foods as possible from your family’s diet.
- Refrain from buying products that are not representative of the fruit, vegetable or meat they are made from, such as star-shaped chicken nuggets.
- Choose organic and locally grown foods when shopping.
- Avoid GMO foods and products.
- Teach your children to prepare and enjoy consuming healthy foods.
- Make food fun with kitchen experiments, like showing them how the addition of a handful of blueberries or strawberries to the blender can change the taste and color of their smoothie.
- Consider adding some berry bushes or cherry tomato plants to your garden so that kids can see them grow and understand the benefits of growing food.
- Make kids part of the shopping experience and help them learn how to read labels and make smart food choices.