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View Full Version : Revenge of the Red #40



AddlepatedMonkeyMama
04-18-2011, 04:53 PM
Anyone else's kid go crazy after eating something with red artificial coloring? We've been picking up on the connection lately with my son's behavior. He doesn't get it regularly from food at home, but a lollipop from the barbershop or swedish fish from a vending machine seem to make him nutso for a couple of days.

For those of you who have been lucky enough to experience this, what is the usual time between ingestion and the increase in negative behavior? How do you explain this to your kids when they have the opportunity for candy, pink frosting, popsicles, etc?

I let him have some watermelon sourpatch candies from a parade yesterday and I know I will be paying for it. :(

dbmamaz
04-18-2011, 05:11 PM
I never noticed it with my first 2 kids, but I did notice it with my youngest. Its usually pretty instant and lasts . . . idk, up to 12 hours? I've explained to him that red foods make him crazy (but so does gluten and dairy and sometimes eggs, too). It was pretty heartbreaking because I quit all food dyes and, shortly after, gluten and dairy. So no goldfish, no 'fruit snacks', lots of things had to go. Even the all-natural fruit snacks have one orange dye which bothers him. Annatto i think.

We do try to choose candies (when out and about and wanting a treat) which seem to have less red in them - the white dumb-dumbs, light yellow freezer pops (if offerred at park day, for instance), maybe a green in a pinch. He tantrummed a lot in the grocery store for the first few months, but he's come to accept it. And i really do think he's gotten better - he can handle a few jelly beans without any noticeable reaction.

The first time i was pretty sure, was v-day at preschool. I came to pick him up and was told he'd hit a girl in the face. It was the first time. I looked around, and everyone's faces were red. I asked if it was before or after the red food, and was told it was after.

A few days later, we bought a red heart-shaped bagel. Afterwards, he screamed the entire day. No matter what came out of his mouth, it was at full volume, and he was not quiet until bedtime. the next day, he had bright red diahrea (no, i DONT know how to spell that word).

the natural dye - we'd tried a new flavor (tropical) - luckily we were at a park . . . he started screaming at the top of his lungs, not 15 minutes later.

before we took everything out of his diet, he woudl sometimes be kicking and trying to bite m as I tried to drag him off his older brother, who he was attacking. Now, he has trouble sitting still and being quiet, and is still very immature for his age, but no biting, and threat of punishment will get him under control for at least 5 minutes.

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
04-18-2011, 05:22 PM
Thanks, Cara. My son doesn't seem to have the reaction until about 24 hours later, so I'm trying to figure out if the red is the culprit. I wonder about dairy and gluten sometimes. Kiddo is a dairy fiend and he's also congested quite often (doesn't seem to be connected to seasonal allergies or colds). I wish kids had internal computers like cars and then we could hook them up to a diagnostic machine to find out the problem.

FYI: Goldfish just switched to "natural" colors--fruit and vegetable juices, etc. My daughter likes them, but I think they're still gross!

Ariadne
04-18-2011, 06:09 PM
You may need to watch out for other dyes as well. Plus artificial flavors, nitrates, emulsifiers, etc. I react pretty strongly to prepared food and sometimes can't even figure out what ingredient is causing the problem. (e.g. There's this cheesy broccoli that my husband and kids like from the frozen foods section. The ingredients list looks "all natural", but every time I eat it I get spaced out.)

I know to watch out for spaciness and staring in my kids, not just ADD behaviors, because that's what food additives do to me. :-( It will feel like somebody hit me over the head.

Hormel has a new line of nitrate-free hotdogs, sandwich meats, and bacon. We tried some of the bacon recently and it was the first time I had had bacon in years.

jess
04-18-2011, 07:10 PM
I definitely noticed it when DS was little. He'd go totally nuts when he had red dye.

DD1 seems to have a relatively strong behavioral reaction to all things sugar, so it's hard to tease out dyes and other ingredients from that.

MrsLOLcat
04-18-2011, 07:59 PM
There's a 15-20 minute time frame between my DS eating the red dye and the bounciness. He metabolizes it in an hour or two if it's a small amount, but something like a red cupcake... look out. The walls aren't safe, and neither is the ceiling.

Cheryl
04-18-2011, 08:03 PM
we just had this happen to my 3 y/o this Halloween. She didn't go crazy, she got the "poops" It took a while until we figured out what was going on. blah. nasty. It is almost INSTANTLY after eating any candy. and last for at least a full 24 hours.

I am NOT looking foward to the Easter Bunny this weekend!!

koalaborg
04-18-2011, 08:16 PM
We try to avoid most food colors anyway, but I do notice behavioral problems with just sugar with our daughter. I've kept it out of the house for several weeks now, but ended up buying a few types of vegan natural candy at our local co-op because I knew she had an easter egg hunt in her preschool this past Friday, and I would have to do "the switch." I've paid the price all weekend, and have hidden the candy now.

Every once in a while, she gets something with the red food dye - I need to observe what effect it has on her, if it makes her sugar "tantrums" any more severe.

dbmamaz
04-18-2011, 08:52 PM
Trader Joes has good natural turkey dogs. i get the turkey bacon at whole foods, tho.

Ariadne
04-18-2011, 08:59 PM
Trader Joes has good natural turkey dogs. i get the turkey bacon at whole foods, tho.Do you like them? I just gave up real hot dogs and bacon for years until Hormel came out with their nitrate-free line. We just ate Italian sausages or brats.

Never tried the turkey dogs or bacon.

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
04-18-2011, 09:15 PM
Trader Joes has good natural turkey dogs. i get the turkey bacon at whole foods, tho.

We have both the turkey and beef uncured hotdogs in our fridge right now. TJ's has uncured pork bacon, too. I'm going to try to avoid giving my son sandwich meat and check for other flavorings and preservatives.

Thanks for the feedback everyone! Keep it coming, please! I'd appreciate anymore anecdotes about timing (when the stuff kicks in, gets out). I didn't turn up anything about that in my internet search tonight.

dbmamaz
04-18-2011, 09:34 PM
We tried many hot dogs and pickles, and tj's was the ones we liked the best (free of anything we could think of avoiding). I was avoiding pork because it showed up pretty high on my tests, but i seem to be handling it ok now - but pork bacon ALWAYS makes dh very sick, turkey bacon only occasoinally.

Orion's gluten reaction is delayed, Raven's dairy reaction is delayed (well, first 'bad poop' about 2-5 hours eating) but the mood response can last a few days. Gluten makes me feel sick (flulike) right away, but my anxiety or depression can kick in 2-3 days later and last for a week. Well, i think thats wheat, cuz sometimes it seems to react that strongly airborne.

allergy message boards will talk about some food reactions taking a few days to show up, so its important if you are doing food trials to spend at least 4 weeks off a food and wait a full week in to the test (when you eat it again) of eating the food a LOT before you are sure you didnt react to it.

Its hard not to laugh at people who go off dairy and wheat for a month, arent convinced they really feel much better, so they pig out on pizza - and are bowled over how sick they get! I mean, not that its funny, but it happens a lot. You dont want to admit that you have to live without it - its hard to do.

i still crave dairy frequently. I"m sure you've seen me post about that before . . .

archibael
04-18-2011, 09:43 PM
Wow... allergies... we could write a book.

Wife: unofficial celiac (has all the symptoms, tests come out negative), sensitivity to dairy, soy, corn, barley malt, countless pollens, esp. grasses
Eldest: wheat, soy, pollens
Middle: dairy, soy
Youngest: apples, pears, all pitted fruits (cherries, peaches, plums, etc.), and... to relate to this thread, red dye number 40!

Eldest has the "behavioral" allergies-- when she has wheat, she gets a hyperactive/tantrum kind of high, from 2-24 hours later. I've thought that if her peers are experimenting with drugs, she should eat a wheat cookie.

Middle and Youngest allergies manifest as rashes around their mouths. We thought Youngest was allergic to pepperoni, which she loved, but after an incident with a pink cupcake, we realized it was the red #40 that was to blame. And we were making it worse by giving her Benadryl which-- fun fun fun!-- has red dye #40 in it.

Be careful with "natural" hot dogs. We've found that while they avoid red #40, they sometimes replace it with cherry powder. For most people that's probably fine, but for my youngest, it's not exactly helpful.

Ariadne
04-18-2011, 09:47 PM
We tried many hot dogs and pickles, and tj's was the ones we liked the best (free of anything we could think of avoiding). I was avoiding pork because it showed up pretty high on my tests, but i seem to be handling it ok now - but pork bacon ALWAYS makes dh very sick, turkey bacon only occasoinally.

Orion's gluten reaction is delayed, Raven's dairy reaction is delayed (well, first 'bad poop' about 2-5 hours eating) but the mood response can last a few days. Gluten makes me feel sick (flulike) right away, but my anxiety or depression can kick in 2-3 days later and last for a week. Well, i think thats wheat, cuz sometimes it seems to react that strongly airborne.

allergy message boards will talk about some food reactions taking a few days to show up, so its important if you are doing food trials to spend at least 4 weeks off a food and wait a full week in to the test (when you eat it again) of eating the food a LOT before you are sure you didnt react to it.

Its hard not to laugh at people who go off dairy and wheat for a month, arent convinced they really feel much better, so they pig out on pizza - and are bowled over how sick they get! I mean, not that its funny, but it happens a lot. You dont want to admit that you have to live without it - its hard to do.

i still crave dairy frequently. I"m sure you've seen me post about that before . . .If it's not too personal, what does the dairy do to you? I'm only familiar with lactose intolerance and casein allergies. Is that what you have going on, or something else?

If it's too personal, just pat me on the head. :-)

farrarwilliams
04-18-2011, 10:10 PM
A close friend of mine in high school had an allergy to one of the yellow food dyes that made her go into grand mal seizures. It was really scary (especially as they didn't figure it out for years and years what was causing it). Ever since I heard that, food dyes have really freaked me out. But they're in so much stuff. It's just hard to avoid them all so one gets the attitude that oh well, in for a penny, in for a pound, you know?

dbmamaz
04-18-2011, 10:24 PM
dairy i havent really tested in a while, but i did buy a chocolate bar from trader joes last year which had no dairy in the ingredients. however, i've heard that most chocolate manufacturers really cannot clean their machinery well, so most will have traces of dairy. I ate 2 squares and 5 minutes later had a pounding headache. I tried again 4 hours later and had the same reaction. now, a month after I quit gluten and dairy, I realized i had only taken excederin twice in that month - whereas I had been taking it 4-5 time/week. I'm pretty sure it bothers my stomach, too, as when I was younger, hot fudge sundaes always sent me running to the bathroom in agony. But i havent really tried, as I said, since i quit it again 3 years ago.

when i was an infant, I was off wheat and milk after I was dx'd with an allergy from food challenges. At that time, constant runs was my only known symptom. Remember, that was before disposable diapers . . . . i was on soy baby formula for . . . idk, somewhere between 6 mo and a year, my mom couldnt remember.

Greenmother
04-19-2011, 12:23 AM
I knew someone who had severe mood swings if exposed to certain red dyes. I was told in no uncertain terms by her hubby that if I fed that to her even accidentally, that I had to take her home. I notice a dramatic change in my kids on corn syrup or artificial sweetners. The former makes them sick and gives them awful headaches, the latter causes them to act like little beligerent monsters. So we keep honey, cane sugar and real maple sugar in the house and that's it. And we try to avoid corn syrup whenever possible. I see that commercial that says you body cannot tell the difference between cane sugar or corn syrup--to which I reply--Maybe, but your brain can tell the difference. You might want to research that particular red dye and make sure that its not synonymous with some other preservative or additive. Who knows perhaps something in these items mimics some biochemical that clogs a receptor somewhere in the brain or nervous system.

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
04-19-2011, 08:12 AM
We thought Youngest was allergic to pepperoni, which she loved, but after an incident with a pink cupcake, we realized it was the red #40 that was to blame. And we were making it worse by giving her Benadryl which-- fun fun fun!-- has red dye #40 in it.

I thought about medicines, but I forgot about pepperoni! Oh, crap, he had a slice of pepperoni pizza yesterday.

Cheryl
04-19-2011, 10:10 AM
wow, hearing al this allergy talk is scary! Makes me think there is something to all my husbands conspiracy theories.

archibael
04-19-2011, 12:44 PM
Some pepperoni is just fine. They add red dye to the stuff which they assume will sit on a shelf long enough to otherwise go grey-- a lot of pre-packaged pizza, but not all.

amym
04-19-2011, 02:20 PM
I just wanted to pass on some websites concerning the 'Standard American Diet' and some of the health issues that it may cause. The first one I came across 3 or 4 years ago while trying to decide if all the people (read NOT Dr.s) insisting my son was ADHD might be on to something (they were not but that is a different story)-- www.feingold.org This is a very interesting look at the effects of food dyes/additives may be having in our lives.
The other one was just stumbled upon a back in Feb. of this year -- www.robbwolf.com
I did not implement the Feingold diet however I did find the information interesting and maybe even a bit scary. I will say that our family started following the paleo diet described by Rob Wolf March 1st. And yes, even in that short period of time, we have seen dramatic changes in our health and that is without having the food allergies and sensitivities described by many of the earlier posts. I am only posting these to pass on some information that I found interesting and not to say this is a one size fits all answer. I do recommend at least checking them out and take from it what you will.

QueenBee
04-19-2011, 03:19 PM
My oldest and youngest definitely, positively react to red dye and to too much sugar. It's insane! We were at a Lego Club meeting last month and they all had some fake drink thing (punch). My middle two kids were fine - the oldest and youngest were nuts. I felt like I was back to having toddlers when we ran to the store after the meeting. They've always been that way, but it's been a LONG time since they had anything with dye like that so I think the reaction was stronger. I'd say it kicks in pretty quickly and lasts at least a couple of hours.

My oldest also has a dairy allergy. I'm a celiac and don't tolerate dairy well, but since I'm a vegan it's not an issue anymore. My 3rd daughter seems to have gluten/dairy intolerance. I'm used to dealing with most food issues so it's only a problem when we're out or at a party or something. I just bring our own stuff along and don't even mention it to people unless they ask just to avoid answering the same questions for the 1000th time. ;)

Good luck figuring it out!!!