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Healthy alternatives to Easter Egg coloring as FDA looks into food dye hyperactivity link

Rebecca Kelley's picture

Research from Harvard and Columbia Universities conclude artificial food colorings have a detrimental effect on children’s behavior. So what can parents put in a child’s Easter basket that will make it completely healthy?

A government report released this week suggested there may be some truth to youngsters with (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), ADHD having a “unique intolerance” to artificial food colorings making them more hyper.

The evidence from research is growing. Harvard and Columbia University scientists analyzed 15 previous studies of hyperactive children. They concluded artificial food colorings do have a detrimental effect on children’s behavior and have asked for an “ambitious vigil against avoidable harmful exposures.” “At the very least, regulators should track consumption of artificial food colorings; we know only that domestic production of food dyes quadrupled between 1955 and 1998,” warn the researchers.

The British government has already banned six artificial dyes that bear a warning of “adverse effects on children” on the packages. “There are sometimes nine different dyes in a food product. Moms and dads will say, ‘Here’s a fruit roll-up,that must be healthy.’ But it’s filled with dyes. And emerging science suggests it’s a harm to children”, the Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Laura Anderko said.

It’s not just candy that has the kind of dyes that are more increasing proven to cause hyperactivity. “Americans are really turned on by a bright-red strawberry juice, and they think it’s natural,” said Kantha Shelke, co-president of the food research firm Corvus Blue. “Or cheese — cheese is naturally a pale color, but most young kids will not eat cheese unless it’s a bright, almost fluorescent orange.”

While the FDA examines the links and with Easter fast approaching, what should parents put in those Easter baskets that can compete with colorful Easter “Peeps?” Instead of using dyes that seep through the shells of a hardboiled egg, consider using brightly colored plastic Easter eggs or coloring boiled eggs with natural dyes. For instance mixing water with a dash of vinegar and a naturally colorful ingredient such as instant coffee, cranberries or canned blueberries will work when soaking the eggs until the desired color is achieved.

Parents also have a very wide range of natural Easter candies to choose from. They include chocolate bunnies, jelly beans, lollipops, peanut butter kisses, chocolate mint patties, gummi bears and hard candies. Other healthy alternatives include: Fun-shaped crackers, educational toys, stickers, low-fat pudding cups and 100 percent roll-ups.

Finally, try to feed your children breakfast first before they start in on Easter treats. Planning an event such as an Easter egg hunt will help to work off any of those excess calories.

On Wednesday, March 30, 2011, an advisory panel to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will start their two-day meeting to discuss the various scientific studies behind artificial dyes and whether the government should restrict the use of these food dyes.

Image Source: Wikipedia


Nice article. It's not surprising to read at all though. It's common sense, artificial = bad. However, we don't always think that when it comes to Easter treats or just candy/snacks in general. Let's see what the FDA comes up with now.

Submitted by kruhl (not verified) on
almost exactly a year later...and what has the FDA done? capitalism at its finest.

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