JACKSON TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WJW) — It’s a common ingredient in just about all your favorite foods, but red dye 40 could cause hyperactivity in some children.
“Every time he would accidentally get it, it would be like a day or two of him acting very hyperactive and defiant in ways,” said Miranda Ziegler of Jackson Township.
After hearing through a friend about how the dye could impact behavior, Ziegler eliminated snacks containing the ingredient in her 5-year-old son’s diet. Since making the switch last year, Ziegler said the change is notable.
Registered dietician Julia Zumpano at the Cleveland Clinic encourages patients to consider the potential side effects of red dye 40.
“There have been some studies that show increased hyperactivity in children with red dye 40 particularly children who have ADHD,” said Zumpano. “So that is definitely a concern trying to limit food dyes in general, specifically red dye 40.”
Zumpano said parents who notice hyperactivity in their kids after eating should not immediately blame sugar.
“There’s no need for food dye. They have no nutritional benefit,” said Zumpano. “The hyperactivity factor is what the dye could be contributing to. We really want to make sure we screen children if that’s the case, eliminating any food dyes in the diet for at least two weeks and then introduce a food with the food dye then assess the reaction of the child.”
Avoiding the FDA-approved ingredient made from petroleum can be tough. It’s used in many foods from drinks to baked goods, candies and savory snacks.
“We try to just go the natural route and I recommend it if you’re contemplating if your kid has ADHD, because I was at the time,” said Ziegler. “Now I don’t think so. He’s just a hyper boy. But I would definitely recommend it.”
Zumpano encourages the use of natural ingredients and said beets, matcha, and turmeric can be used to create color in foods in addition to pre-packed healthier dye alternatives.