Evidence of food dye-ADHD link weak, FDA told
March 30th, 2011
01:54 PM ET

Evidence of food dye-ADHD link weak, FDA told

A Food and Drug Administration advisory committee began weighing evidence Wednesday on whether dye additives in food affects behavior in children. The panel listened to testimony from doctors and scientists who contend that studies, although small in many cases, do show that some kids begin to show signs of hyperactivity once they are exposed to certain dye mixtures.

The question is, should the FDA committee urge the agency to strengthen its regulation of these ingredients?

According to the experts who testified, European companies already are dropping dyes including Blue #1, Yellow #5, Green #3 and others and substituting natural dyes for them. But the United States still allows artificial dyes, mostly for aesthetic reasons, not for taste.

“Why are these dyes in these foods anyway?” asked Michael Jacobsen, executive director of the Center for Science and the Public Interest, a watchdog group on nutrition and food safety. “I would push for having them taken out completely. But if that can’t be done, why not warn the public and parents that these dyes could have some effects?”

The idea that dyes in food causes ADHD was first noted in Why Your Child is Hyperactive, a book written by Dr. Benjamin Feingold in 1975. The eating style described in the book became known as the Feingold Diet. He found if you eliminated artificial food dyes and additives in American diets, cases of hyperactivity in children, later defined as ADHD, would decline. But reviews of the data found that the correlation between dyes and hyperactivity were inconsistent.

Although numerous data have been collected on food dyes and hyperactivity in kids over the past decade, critics say the design of the studies has been weak. They note many of the studies were performed on small groups– many involved no more than 25 children. They also noted that much of the observation data (how the child acted) was reported by parents and not by clinicians. And they pointed out that most of the dyes tested were combined into a dye mixture and not tested individually.

The most recent studies to bring food dyes and ADHD back to the public eye was a 2007 project conducted by researchers at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom. It showed that artificial food dyes along with sodium benzoate (a white crystalline salt used as a food preservative) increased ADHD symptoms in both hyperactive and non-hyperactive children. That study was followed up by another paper in 2010 by the same researchers who looked at the connection between food dyes, ADHD and histamine, a chemical that’s produced in the brain when the body is having an allergic reaction.

“We found mixtures of certain artificial colors together with sodium benzoate preservative in the diet increased the average level of hyperactivity in 3 and 8/9 year old children in the general population,” Dr. Jim Stevenson, a professor at the School of Psychology at the University of Southampton, and lead author of the study, testified Wednesday.

“We found mixtures of certain artificial colors together with sodium benzoate preservative in the diet increased the average level of hyperactivity in 3 and 8/9 year old children in the general population.”

Yet, it was noted that when the Southampton data were unveiled to the European Food Standards Authority, a European version of the FDA, the EFSA found the evidence weak.

But some groups in the United States say the findings are another reason that dyes should go. A recent report issued by CSPI looked at data from a number of studies related to artificial food dyes. Jacobsen argued to the board Wednesday that artificial food dyes are not safe for humans and can be connected to numerous health problems, including ADHD allergies, even cancer

“The average child consumes approximately 121 milligrams of artificial dyes a day," Jacobsen asserted. “That’s a lot. And dye in food is used twice as much as it was in the 1970s. These are noted scientific effects. There are other factors that could affect child behavior, but if we can take out food dyes as a factor, why not?”

No action was taken Wednesday. Public and industry testimony will take place on Thursday. The advisory committee is expected to make its recommendation Thursday afternoon. Although the committee only makes recommendations to the FDA, the agency usually follows those recommendations.

soundoff (210 Responses)
  1. KbbtMile

    buy cialis through pay pal best online international pharmacies cialis 20 mg, best price https://xz-pharmacyonline.com – viagra pharmacy 100mg ’

    January 27, 2021 at 02:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. JnscCrulk

    viagra soft tabs overnight what does viagra look like buy viagra 20mg tablets http://erectilejyzd.com/index.php?called=terms – mastercard viagra ’

    January 29, 2021 at 20:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. AhmdEncox

    cialis trial coupon canadian pharmacies shipping to usa where can i buy cialis online in australia https://impotencecdny.com/ – Cialis Oral Jelly (Orange) ’

    January 29, 2021 at 23:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. FmnfEncox

    cheapest cialis does cialis work generuc cialis https://impotencecdny.com/info/history.php – cialis generic for sale ’

    January 30, 2021 at 00:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. FhnhZisse

    Cialis Oral Jelly pharmacy online shopping canadianpharmacy https://canadianpharmacy-yy.com/ – Hytrin ’

    January 31, 2021 at 13:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. NgscZisse

    cheap sildenafil citrate tablets cost for viagra prescription generic viagra in india online http://canadianpharmacy-yy.com/Fitness/how-to-get-a-six-pack.html – order viagra europe ’

    January 31, 2021 at 13:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. KbbgMile

    viagra online overnight canada meds drug canada viagra with prescription http://erectilejyzd.com/ – northwest pharmaceuticals canada ’

    February 1, 2021 at 08:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. LbsxEncox

    pharmacy technician classes online free viagra online hong kong order prescriptions online without doctor

    February 3, 2021 at 15:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. JbnbCrulk

    cialis from canada northwest pharmaceuticals canada canada pharmacy online

    February 5, 2021 at 15:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. https://womenfirst.ru/stati/beremennost/planirovanie_beremennosti_prakticheskie_sovety_dlya_semeynykh_par/

    Здесь море полезной информации о гинекологических болезнях.

    February 5, 2021 at 21:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. NncsZisse

    reliable pharmacy online for viagra viagra for men and women for sale generic viagra without prescription

    February 6, 2021 at 01:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. AhkdEncox

    shoppers pharmacy viagra super active buy generic viagra online

    February 6, 2021 at 20:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. zortilo nrel

    you have a great blog here! would you like to make some invite posts on my blog?


    February 7, 2021 at 18:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. JbbvEncox

    herbals kamagra oral jelly online canadian pharmacies

    February 7, 2021 at 20:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. zortilonrel

    Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wished to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. After all I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!


    February 7, 2021 at 22:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. zortilonrel

    My brother suggested I may like this web site. He was once totally right. This put up actually made my day. You can not imagine just how a lot time I had spent for this info! Thanks!


    February 7, 2021 at 23:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. FÓKUSZBAN 2002 Bt

    Nice post. I was checking continuously this weblog and I am inspired! Very useful information particularly the final section 🙂 I take care of such info much. I used to be looking for this particular info for a long time. Thanks and best of luck.


    February 9, 2021 at 04:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. https://europa-road.eu/

    Good website! I truly love how it is easy on my eyes and the data are well written. I'm wondering how I could be notified whenever a new post has been made. I've subscribed to your feed which must do the trick! Have a great day!


    February 9, 2021 at 04:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Europa-Road Kft.

    Appreciate it for this post, I am a big fan of this website would like to proceed updated.


    February 9, 2021 at 05:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. KbcxMile

    sildenafil citrate antibiotics prescription discount

    February 9, 2021 at 05:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. FqhhEncox

    canadian pharmacy kingcanadian viagra canadian prescription drugs Viagra Super Active

    February 9, 2021 at 17:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. FvfcZisse

    online canadian discount pharmacy viagra under 50 canada viagra $38

    February 10, 2021 at 11:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. LabxEncox

    venta de cialis generico en mexico componentes quimicos del cialis cialis vs daily cialis

    February 10, 2021 at 13:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Kuikseelt

    buy viagra without a perscription viagra cialis from germany viagra for sale in sa

    February 11, 2021 at 02:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. JbnvCrulk

    payday 2 cash card payday loans reported credit bureau can i take a cash advance on my amex

    February 12, 2021 at 17:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. NbnhZisse

    viagra over counter http://vigedon.com/ buy viagra in europe

    February 13, 2021 at 17:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. AhbzEncox

    easy cash payday 2 nd payday loan net 30 and cash in advance crossword clue

    February 14, 2021 at 03:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. JbbnEncox

    cialis haplarД± cialis buy online no prescription patient assistance for cialis

    February 15, 2021 at 11:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. KvaxMile

    ap loans and advances payday advance carrollton ga best 12 month payday loans

    February 16, 2021 at 15:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. FqbbEncox

    bank of america money network cash advance payday loans south auckland pnb cash advance credit card

    February 17, 2021 at 22:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. FbsgZisse

    how much does cialis cost at walmart free samples of cialis canadian drug stores cialis

    February 18, 2021 at 12:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. didier raoult coronavirus

    hydroxycholorquine raoult hydroxychloronique

    February 21, 2021 at 23:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. NbmoZisse

    buying cialis internet free samples cialis cialis 25mg canada

    February 28, 2021 at 21:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. KndnMile

    extenze vs viagra viagra 100 mg cialis vs. viagra

    March 2, 2021 at 11:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. LmoppEncox

    http://essaywriteris.com/ – who can write my essay cheap essay writers write my admissions essay who will write my essay for me

    March 22, 2021 at 17:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. GrvCrulk

    https://kloviagrli.com/ – viagra amazon https://vigedon.com/ – india pharmacy viagra https://llecialisjaw.com/ – cialis alcohol https://jwcialislrt.com/ – buy cialis https://jecialisbn.com/ – how to get cialis for free

    March 26, 2021 at 02:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. JvqqEncox

    https://dissertationahelp.com/ – help with dissertations dissertation writing services reviews dissertation writing jobs dissertation writing service reviews

    March 26, 2021 at 04:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Torsten

    What's up, the whole thing is going fine here and ofcourse every one is sharing data, that's in fact fine, keep up writing.

    March 26, 2021 at 04:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. BrfgMile

    https://ljcialishe.com/ – free cialis trial https://cialisvja.com/ – when will generic cialis be available https://viagraonlinejc.com/ – does viagra lower blood pressure https://viagratx.com/ – viagra in india https://buycialisxz.com/ – coupons for cialis

    March 31, 2021 at 12:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. AbgcEncox

    https://thesiswritingtob.com/ – thesis chapters write a good thesis thesis writing services thesis proposal format

    April 2, 2021 at 14:56 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.