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Food dye and bad behavior?

My son is 8 years old with ADHD and bad behavioral problems.  We have tried many of the meds and so far with not much luck.  He definitely has ADHD.  My next thing to try is eliminate Red food dye no. 40, yellow no. 5 and yellow no. 6.  I was just curious for those who have tried this, what were the results?  Thank you!

Replies

We try to stay away from food dye and stick with healthy wholesome foods as much as possible.  Eliminating food dye stopped the reactions he would have from it, but in general it didn’t help with the ADHD.  Only meds and life practice (he is almost 15), has helped.  Good luck.

Posted by Ilana on Feb 26, 2014 at 6:56am

My son was diagnosed with ADHD when he was 6.  Before that time he was not on any medication but since he was two or three I noticed he was very hyper. I eliminated Red food die from his diet and it helped, but it didn’t stop the ADHD symptoms, it just seemed to calm him down a bit. When I would accidentally give him something with red dye in it, he would get extremely hyper. He eventually seemed to outgrow it or it just didn’t have the same effect on him. He is thirteen now and takes medication during the week for ADHD just so he can concentrate in school. We tolerate the hyperness and impulsivity on the weekends. I don’t remember how old he was when it seemed to stop having a big effect on him. We still try to eat healthy but I don’t monitor it like I use to.

Posted by Mronchetti on Feb 26, 2014 at 7:07am

The most dramatic result we saw when eliminating artificial food dyes was when my son went to sleep at night. Before we eliminated the dyes, it would take him 45 minutes to an 1 hour 15 minutes to fall asleep at night. Because he had to get up at a certain time every day, the delayed sleep time took a toll on his behavior. He was often cranky and lethargic. Within three days of eliminating the artificial dyes, my son started to fall asleep within 15 minutes of putting him down at night. Now when he goes to bed, he goes right to sleep without any problems.

He still takes meds and receives therapy, but its another piece of the puzzle.
Hope this is helpful to you.
Susan in PC, Ohio

Posted by SueH on Feb 26, 2014 at 6:12pm

The most dramatic result we saw when eliminating artificial food dyes was when my son went to sleep at night. Before we eliminated the dyes, it would take him 45 minutes to an 1 hour 15 minutes to fall asleep at night. Because he had to get up at a certain time every day, the delayed sleep time took a toll on his behavior. He was often cranky and lethargic. Within three days of eliminating the artificial dyes, my son started to fall asleep within 15 minutes of putting him down at night. Now when he goes to bed, he goes right to sleep without any problems.

He still takes meds and receives therapy, but its another piece of the puzzle.
Hope this is helpful to you.
Susan in PC, Ohio

Posted by SueH on Feb 26, 2014 at 6:12pm

My son is literally like Dr. Jekyl drinking a potion and turning into Mr. Hyde when he has a large quantity of red food dye, like in a red gatorade. By the third time he had a red gatorade, we made the correlation between the drink and his immediate raging anger for several hours after.

I limit artificial food coloring as much as possible but allow treats that have a small quantity (like a piece of candy, NOT red) every now and then. This doesn’t change his ADHD symptoms but does reduce anger and irritability.

I would eliminate as many foods with artificial ingredients as possible for your child with ADHD (and for yourself).

Here’s an article on the link between food dyes and hyperactivity as well: http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/2991.html.

Penny
ADDconnect Moderator & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Feb 26, 2014 at 6:59pm

We absolutely stay away from all dyes as well as preservatives.  A great resource if you want to really see what is or might be bothering your kiddo is Feingold program.  I use it loosely but many feel they couldn’t live without it.  I try to make everything homemade. Homemade two ingredient pizza dough and un-tomato sauce with beets and carrots.  My son loves pizza but tomatoes don’t work for him and neither does store bought already made junk.  I follow Maria Emmerich blog and I try to follow a Keto adapted diet.  I can tell when my son is reacting to something he has eaten.  After massive amounts of research it is amazing what you will learn about our food source.  Even more appalling is the FDA allows it to continue.

Posted by Bd1974 on Feb 26, 2014 at 8:26pm

We used to notice a huge increase in hyperactivity when my son ate food dyes and preservatives and we had him on a dye and preservative-free diet starting when he was about 3.  This really made a big difference for him, and whenever he ate something with dyes we could count the minutes until he went berserk.  Once we started him on Concerta at age 7, we noticed that he reacted less to food dyes and we’re now more relaxed in our food approach, though we focus on healthy foods. 

Our rule now is that we don’t have food with dyes at home, but if someone gives him food with dyes (e.g., a teacher or friend at school, or at a birthday party), then we don’t take it away.  At Halloween, we trade out the worst candy for a toy that he wants.

Posted by MendelZ on Feb 26, 2014 at 10:08pm

I’d like to hear from people about how much better/worse the behavior gets as they age; my son is 8 and we’re wondering how things typically progress; Mronchetti - can you shed some light since your son is now 13.  Thanks.

Posted by bp on Feb 27, 2014 at 12:47am

File under “probably won’t hurt anything.” If you do eliminate them, do so for at least a month and keep good notes about specific changes, then try reintroducing them.

Posted by MrsPerky on Feb 27, 2014 at 8:23am

try looking at http://www.fedup.com.au , it might interest you. it ahs ll the info on there. We are not on Sue Dengate’s diet but we have eliminated, preservatives, artificial colours and flavours from our diet. I found that it reduced the hyperactive"super silly” we call it from the household .The fidgerting in class etc is still presetn but it definately makes a difference..

Posted by renaeward on Mar 03, 2014 at 5:46am

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