See if you can figure out what the following list of foods has in common:
- Kraft barbecue sauce
- Lasagna Hamburger Helper
- Del Monte fruit salad
- Nacho Cheese Doritos
- Welch’s Frozen Fruit Bars
- Duncan Hines Homestyle Vanilla Frosting
- Schweppes diet ginger ale
- Lipton Instant Ice Tea – Natural Lemon Flavor
- Maraschino Cherries
Besides being an unhealthy part of the Standard American Diet, if you guessed that they all contain Red Dye #40, you’d be correct.
Horrifyingly, the food industry dumps 15 million pounds of artificial dyes into our food every year – over 40 percent of which is Red Dye #40, a petroleum-based substance. Also known as Allura Red AC, Red Dye #40 is the number one food dye used in the United States, found in most any unnaturally red foods. But you will find it in brown, blue, orange, and even white things, too. For example, without Red Dye #40, chocolate instant pudding would actually look green (because there’s VERY little real chocolate in it).
Even though there are safe and natural alternatives available, artificial food dyes are a cheap way for manufacturers to make food even brighter and more appealing when you see it on a shelf in the grocery store. Surprisingly you can find Red Dye #40 in a wide range of foods; candy, condiments, snack foods, baked goods, soda, juice, salad dressings, toothpaste, mouthwash, and even medicine, can all be artificially dyed.
Although Red Dye #40 has been approved by the FDA for use in food products and must be listed as an ingredient on labels, it has been banned at one time or another throughout Australia and most of Europe due to health concerns.
Multiple studies published in journals such as Pediatrics, The Lancet, and Journal of Pediatrics demonstrate that some children with ADHD are adversely affected by artificial food dyes. Other recent research indicates that artificial coloring and flavors, as well as the preservative sodium benzoate, can make some non-ADD kids hyperactive. Additionally, both adults and children have reported upset stomach, migraines, jitteriness, nervousness, and inability to concentrate after a high intake of Red Dye #40. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) recently released a report that says artificial food dyes pose a “rainbow of risks” including everything from allergies to cancer.
Our brain imaging also demonstrates that Red Dye #40 can dramatically affect brain function. Consider the case of Robert, a 15-year-old that was recently imaged at Amen Clinics. His parents noticed that whenever Robert ate or drank something bright red, his behavior became aggressive and hostile. He would easily cry and storm off in a huff or throw things. They brought him to Amen Clinics to confirm their suspicions that he was reacting to these food additives.
As can be seen on this teen’s SPECT scan, his brain showed remarkable overall increased activity with exposure to Red Dye #40. In the images, blue equals average activity; red equals the top 15% of brain activity; white equals the top 8%.
Once they removed Red Dye #40 from his diet, his behavior improved dramatically. Robert’s mother strongly believes that their experience is not a unique one and that Red Dye #40 should be completely banned from our food supply.
Knowing that you are what you eat, no discussion about changing your diet for health can miss the importance of eliminating this substance!
At Amen Clinics, we want to help you learn more about your brain and how you can make it better, not only for yourself but for the generations that follow. Call us today at 888-288-9834 or visit our website to schedule an appointment.
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