Red #40 Part 2: FAQ


Last week I posted a blog about food dyes. Specifically, the fact that we have cut them out of our four-year-old’s diet. Since then, I’ve had several questions. I like when people ask questions. It means I might be teaching something. 🙂 So. Here are the five most frequently asked questions regarding food dye and why I hate it. Yes. I’m using the word hate. It’s accurate for the circumstances.

1. Food dye? Really? Are you sure it’s not just the sugar and other processed junk that usually has food dye in it?
Look. I get it. And I thought the exact same thing. Until we really started isolating the problem. Lily can have chocolate and be fine. She can have sugar. She can have processed junk. I’m not saying she has it all the time or that her diet is based off of processed foods. But she has them. Give her food dye, though. Red in particular. And she loses her mind. If you don’t believe me, you can do one of two things. 1. Google “Red #40” and see what comes up. 2. Hang out with Lily for, like, a day. Give her a completely healthy diet. Then, give her one drop of red food coloring. And watch what happens.

Ok that second option is totally not a real option. I’m not putting my kid through torture just because you don’t believe me. Let’s just stick with google.

2. Does food dye have that effect on all kids?
No. Food dye sensitivity is similar to an allergy. It only effects some children. People have noticed that children with food dye sensitivity also have trouble with ADD/ADHD. After watching the change in my daughter, I can’t help but wonder if the dye was the CAUSE of the hyperactivity. Since she’s only four it’s tough to tell. But it’s not all kids. For what it’s worth, though, it’s not exactly great for anyone.

3. Can she have any dyes ever? Or is it OK in moderation?
For a while we cut back. That didn’t help. At all. Then we learned that food dye stays in your body for three days. So it was pretty much just always in her system. And she has a reaction. Every. Single. Time. We treat it as a serious allergy. None. Ever. At all. We have spoken with the adults in her life and she knows she can’t have it. (While we know Red #40 is the very worst culprit we’ve learned that it’s less confusing to ban all artificial colors from her diet.) So. No dyes. Ever.

4. What is it in?
I started to make a list. Then I realized this article explains it better than I can. But the short answer is that if it’s fake and red, beware. Except that it doesn’t even have to be red. *sigh* We’re still learning. It’s in a lot of stuff. Including cosmetics. More on that in part 3.

5. If it’s so awful, why is it in our food?
Dunno. Food dye lobbyists? Really though. They were gonna ban it at one point. And the fruit cocktail people put up a fuss. You can’t make this stuff up. Essentially they use it because it’s cheaper. It’s banned in many parts of the world.


Sorry, I'm back now. I was banging my head on the table.

So…. What do you do?
Research. Read labels. We're still really new at this, but I have found several alternatives already. And I've realized as I've written this installment that the resources are probably worth of their own entry. So stay tuned for Part 3: I Heart the Kardashians.
No. Really. You'll see 😉

And if you have any great dye-free brands/ tricks/ tips, (or questions!) Please leave them in the comments!

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cheri
    Nov 12, 2013 @ 12:44:46

    I have issues with dyes as well, orange is particularly harsh for me.


  2. Trackback: 13 Lessons from 2013 | Thoroughly Modern Mommy
  3. thecontemplativecatholicblog
    Jan 20, 2017 @ 10:30:51

    We found dye free orange soda at aldi for our parties.


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