Tuesday, July 28, 2009

"Only that which is Good"

A couple of my friends have kids who are very sensitive to Red #40. It causes them to have more tantrums and have shorter tempers and become more violent. Because of this, I don't let Margaret have Red #40. While I don't know if she is senstive to Red #40, the reactions I saw in these other girls was strong enough for me to not even risk it with Margaret.

Essentially, we cut Red #40 out of all our diets. Then last week I bought a fruit punch. I knew it had Red #40 in it, but it didn't have HFCS, so I let it slide. I was not going to let Margaret have it- just us. We're adults, right? We can handle it. So last night at dinner I thought I'd try it. As I was drinking it I wondered, "Hmm. Will this affect me?" Then I forgot about that thought.

We spent the night pitting the 13 pounds of cherries we bought from the farmer's market last week so we could can them. As the night progressed, I got increasingly impatient with McKay. He's very "by the book" with recipes and directions and his "we have to check the directions for canning these every 2 seconds" was really getting to me. Really. Like I threw myself on the bed in exasperation and frustration with him.

Now while that usually does bug me, I don't normally get physical about my frustrations like that. I was on the bed thinking, "What the heck is WRONG with me? My cycle chart is not anywhere near my period! Why is this bugging me so much?"

Then in my mind, I was reminded of the 2 cups of fruit punch I had for dinner. It was like a light bulb went off in my head. It all fit. Red #40.

I still was fighting the effects of the dye for the rest of the evening- and I'll probably have some more effects today. Last night before going to bed I was thinking about this and I remembered a blessing McKay gave me about a month ago. I had been having a rough day and I asked for a blessing of comfort because I felt like the day was just going on around me and I had no grasp on it whatsoever. It was a very comforting blessing, but in it was a line that seemed out of place, "Put in your body only that which is good" I originally thought it was reference to the candy bars McKay kept asking me to buy at the dollar store. If I didn't feel like making up a lunch, I'd eat a candy bar: it had peanuts. That's protein, right?

Perhaps that counsel is a bit more broad for me. Perhaps it wasn't just candy bars. Maybe it means dyes, perservatives, pesticides, maybe even things like the flu shot, which still contains mercury.

Well, you could say that Red #40 won't physically kill me, but it's not particularly "good" for me either. The only benefit to Red #40 is that it makes food look red- it doesn't add anything to my diet or attribute to my well-being. If it's not dietarily beneficial and it might cause problems, why continue to use it?

Some things I found last night when I was thinking about this topic:

After warning parents of the effects of dyes in their children's food, the UK is phasing out Red #40 with other dyes this year because of emotional and behavioral effects.
Many European countries have banned Red #40.


  1. I totally agree with you on the Red #40. Not only do I personally have very sensitive skin that reacts to any dyes or fragrances, I have witnessed many children with problems with the dye. I used to sit for a family whose son had a particularly difficult time with ADD and the Red #40 would counteract his ADD medication to the point where he could need to be restrained. Very scary stuff.

  2. Wow, it's like you were talking right at me. I was just thinking about food dyes last night, wondering why in the heck the government allows companies to put chemicals in food. I very rarely buy anything with artificial dyes in it, but last night I saw some Peanut M&Ms and they just looked really good. I bought some and then realized that I essentially bought poison.

    When you quoted from your blessing I burst out in tears because I felt like that could have been said to me. It's been heavily on my mind lately that I need to eat better. If I eat better then I believe many of my physical problems would improve significantly.

  3. I've heard of red #40 but when ever my younger sister brought it up I would say "I'm pretty sure if something like that had those kind of side effects they would stop using it". Wow, I'm mistaken! I'm going to go check my cabinets. Maybe it's attributing to Nicholette's "independent phase" :) But it makes since how it effects behavior, I have a cousin who if she gets too much, I think processed and sugar she spirals downhill, so she watches what she eats. Thanks for the tip!

  4. Really interesting, thanks for sharing! (my PB says to "respect my body, inside and out")

  5. What do you know about how or if these dyes transfer into breastmilk?

  6. Brittney,
    I actually don't know anything about how dyes transfer to milk. It probably does get in like pretty much everything you eat. I'll have to do some research on it and come back to you.

  7. Yay, I get to be mentioned in the blog... as the mom of one of crazy sensitive children. No more red dye 40 in our house, ever. My husband was very disappointed to discover only two Kool-aids do not contain red dye 40. Oh. Sad. (He's a little less excited to jump on the healthy food wagon, lol. But he's adapting.)

    I actually spoke today to a lady in our ward who I discovered runs an herb shop down the street and I mentioned that we are eating healthier and especially avoiding "dyes" as my daughter has a problem with them. Her reply was "oh, the red ones," obviously. People know about this. Just no one who loves their Kool-aid wants to take it seriously, as if it's not headlining the news it must not be a real risk.

    In my consumer health text, it mentioned that there is a huge difference between things that are dangerous, and things that the public perceives as dangerous, the level of alarm raised in the media, that sort of thing. "Call the death rate (what the experts mean by risk) "hazard." Call all the other factors collectively, "outrage." Risk, then, is the sum of hazard and outrage. The public pays too little attention to hazard; the experts pay absolutely no attention to outrage. Not surprisingly, they rank risks differently." (Peter M. Sandman, PhD.) FDA scientist (not like I usually agree with the FDA...) Robert Scheulpein noted that "scientists, managers and regulators who study risks for a living are constantly dismayed because the public seems to worry about the wrong risks." If anyone wants to know if red dye 40 affects people, come over and check out "psychotic rage mode" when dd's had a bit of Otter Pop where she doesn't stop until she is physically too exhausted and collapses/passes out.


Please review my blog comment policy here before commenting. You may not use the name "Anonymous." You must use a Google Account, OpenID, or type in a name in the OpenID option. You can make one up if you need to. Even if your comment is productive and adding to the conversation, I will not publish it if it is anonymous.