Food colors and their use
When browsing the grocery shelves, it is not hard to see what is going on when you see brightly packaged food. Colors sell! Children are subjected to advertising on television to prompt them to pester the other people in the household who are involved in the decision making process. Marketers are taught to target specific people in the purchasing process prior to the purchase to increase the chance of you purchasing their brand. I learned these things when undertaking a Graduate Diploma in Marketing some years ago.
I highly recommend this comprehensive resource on food additives which you can get here.
When you see an advertisement for a product, it is rare that you are thinking about it from a marketing perspective. You are simply exposed to what the product is, the message provided about that product and whether it is in the top of your mind. For example, you are not going to be as interested in a car advertisement if you are not looking to purchase a car in the near future. However, if you are looking to do your grocery shopping in the next day or so then food products would be more inclined to attract your attention. Then, how much of an impact that product advertisement has had, the product options available including food color and packaging will determine what you eventually purchase.
Food colors are added for the purpose of making products look more attractive to you in the hope that you will purchase them. The concern with this is that it is not just the packaging that is colored in a specific way. Food manufacturers are adding food colors without considering the implications of this on our health and children’s behavior.
Food colors do serve a purpose but only where it is a naturally inherent color of the food, which is how it grows. To elaborate, foods can be used to feed your emotions based on the natural color of the food; no additives, no synthetic colors. The color of a food can assist you with your general well being. For example, yellow foods are a great natural way to lift your mood or depression. You can find out more information about feeding your emotions through the wonderful heirloom wholefood healing volumes shown above.
Food colors and children’s behavior
If you are a parent then you may be well aware of the impact of food colors and additives on children’s behavior, especially where there is a party involved. You may yourself suffer food intolerance symptoms or even chronic headaches as a result of food colors or food additives. Often parents will collect their child from a party only to have a hyperactive child on their hands. If the food reaction is not immediate, you can sometimes see the impact of food colors and food additives on children’s behavior the following day or so. You can thank food colors, additives and sugar for that. Often times, parents think that sugar is the only reason for their children’s behavior but this is not the case. While processed sugar is very bad for your body, food colors and food additives, including preservatives can have a detrimental impact on on how calm and reasonable children are.
I had to scoff when I read the label of a children’s fruit juice tetra pack recently, when it read that they had added food color. So tell me how a child that drinks the juice from a pack they cannot see into and through a straw that leads straight past their eyes into their mouth is going to be looking at the color of the juice? I am sure the food color was only added because the same juice is used for larger, clear container grocery lines. Even so, that shows a level of care or more, lack of care.
There have been many trials and studies carried out that clearly show that food colors do impact children’s behavior. So, if you would like happier, calmer children then I suggest you take a good look at the ingredient list of each product prior to purchase to make sure there are no food colors or food additives. Additive Alert: Your Guide to Safer Shopping contains a list that you can pop into your purse or wallet when shopping.
As a parent, your role can be made much easier if you choose to avoid food colors and food additives. You’ll benefit from this because your children will be calmer and happier and parenting will become much more enjoyable.
Food colors – the proof is in the pudding
The amount of food containing food colors is deplorable. It seems that food standard groups are happy to approve food colors as acceptable for many food manufacturers without good reason. Some food colors that are considered acceptable in one country are banned in another because some countries are aware of the dangers of adding food colors to grocery lines. Australia still permits some food colors under “safe levels” and acceptable daily intakes. According to Julie Eady who is the author of Additive Alert, Australian children are getting a higher dose of food colors than intended because these “safe levels” are not taking into consideration children’s weight.
The Food Standards Australia New Zealand have a set criteria for letting additives into the country however, the concern is that the testing and reporting is conducted by the manufacturer and not conducted independently. Further to this, it seems Australia is not leading the way in the ban on food colors that have been linked, in other countries, to hyperactivity and effects on children’s behavior. Tartrazine – E102 is particularly harmful.
If you or your children are suffering from food intolerance symptoms, leaky gut syndrome or food problems, then you may find that food colors in food have a more detrimental impact on your health or children’s behavior.
The UK has taken action to remove some food colors that we still permit in Australia. For more information on the food standards code in Australia, click here. The FDA website (Food and Drug Administration US) provides a list of additives and their purpose and in their writing of such, seem to justify the use of food colors and additives “with the consumer in mind”. I hope you will read this and form your own opinion as to whether we actually need many of these food colors or food additives put in foods that we consume.
Numerous articles have been written on the detrimental impact of food colors on children’s behavior. I have listed some below.
New York Times Article – Some Food Additives Raise Hyperactivity – study finds.
Food Standards Agency UK – Agency revises advice on certain artificial colours
I encourage you to take action to have food colors banned. In Australia, you can lodge a submission here.
On a positive note, ALDI Supermarkets are leading the way in Australia by removing some nasty food colors from their food range. You can read the article here ALDI Leads the way Thank you ALDI, our children will benefit from your action.
Tips for avoiding food colors
- If you are at a party and cake is handed out, just scrape the icing off the cake. You will find that many children avoid the icing anyway. Icing with food colors might look attractive but many children don’t eat it.
- If you are organizing a party, choose food that does not contain food colors. Make your own cookies two days before. Buy plain, potato chips instead of flavored ones. Avoid jelly and jelly products. Give fresh fruit platters.
- Instead of putting lollies with food colors in party bags, add a novelty gift such as a shaped note pad and pencil, balloon a home baked cookie or cookies from a grocer that do not contain food colors. Or, if you don’t wish for your child to have the party bag, take along your own and swap it, but make sure it is inviting.
- Give water at the party. You will be amazed how many children will be happy to drink it. Or next time you are at a party, listen to how many children ask for a drink of water; you will be surprised.
- If you really MUST buy soft drink, buy plain lemonade such a Schweppes. Most soft drink or soda pop, even plain flavor, has food colors added so always read the label. Also be aware that these are full of sugar and the alternative to purchase diet products is worse.
- Brighten up the party with streamers, balloons and napkins on the table.
- Make the food look attractive by using colorful plates instead of adding food colors to food to be consumed.
- For those suffering from food intolerance symptoms, consider using failsafe food.
- Take along your additive list from Additive Alert when you are shopping. Choose alternative products.
- Go through your pantry, look at the product you are using and list some alternatives on your shopping list. Remember, as this becomes habit, your shopping trips will become easier. I know this from personal experience.
- Educate your children. Teach them about food by telling them what is in it and what it may do to their body or the way they are feeling. My daughter knows that annatto causes her to get grumpy and she is happy to avoid it. Show your children some alternatives or ask their opinion. Letting them have their say provides them with empowerment and shows you trust them in their decisions.
- Avoid processed foods. Eat fresh fruit and vegetables where you can and your body will love you for it.
- Start having home made healthy smoothies if you have a sweet tooth or you want to give your children a treat.
- If you are going to someone’s place for dinner, take a plate of your own food and make them aware that your body does not cope with food colors and food additives. Of course it is important to state it in a diplomatic manner so as not to insult your host or hostess.
- Use fruit to decorate a Birthday cake. Substitute the processed cacao for raw cacao powder (see picture below) and buy Organic Raw Cacao Powder to use in your cake recipe. Raw cacao is highly nutritious unlike most products supplied at the grocer.
Food colors and additive book – A best seller
I urge you to look at the ingredient list of everything you buy and make a difference to your own health and that of your family by making healthy choices that do not include food additives or food colors.
We use this fabulous book on food additives, shown below, and it is extremely comprehensive and written by Australian author Julie Eady. I highly recommend you get your copy by clicking on this image below.
Hyperactive children can be that way because of the food they are eating or beverages they are consuming. Parents often go looking for techniques for modifying children’s behavior when in actual fact, all they need to do is change their food eating habits. Even natural colors can cause behavioral problems in children and toddlers. Such natural food colors are cochineal which is derived from crushed insects, Caramel colors which have nothing to do with the color of the food to which it is added and lastly, Annatto which is derived from the seed of the Annatto tree. These natural food colors can have an adverse impact on children’s behavior and health. Remember, just because something comes from nature, does not mean it is good for you.
By not purchasing products that have food colors you are sending a message to the manufacturers of these products. More importantly, you are refusing to put food colors into your children’s bodies and this is great for their health and well being. Your action can have an impact. You just need to make an active choice NOT to buy food with food colors added.Your News On Food brought to you by Eileen Baudinette Food and Health Commentator. © 2009 – 2012 www.thenewsonfood.com ———————–
I’m no medical expert and information contained on this blog is written through my own experience with the aim of furthering your education on health. It is your responsibility as to how you use this information and I cannot be held liable for any misinterpretation or misuse of the information provided.Food colors by Eileen