June 2014 Our New Food Dye Studies

A
Word from Laura

Greetings!  I hope
this finds you and your children enjoying warmer weather.  I apologize for spacing problems below!

We now have had two articles published in Clinical Pediatrics, a journal for
practicing pediatricians. One article is about the amounts of artificial food colors
(AFCs) in 108 beverages and the second article reports the amounts of AFCs in
foods and candies commonly consumed by children.  You may have seen some of the media coverage
on CNN and Good Morning America or read an article in the Wall Street Journal,
Boston Globe or your local paper.

The purpose of both research projects was to measure the
amounts of colors in commonly consumed food products.  Many of the early studies about food dyes and
behavior took place in the 1970’s and 1980’s and used about 27 mg of a mixture
of AFCs to challenge children in double-blind, placebo-controlled trials.  Very few of the children in the studies
responded to the dyes so that most pediatricians, psychiatrists, psychologists
and nutritionist dismissed the AFCs as a “fad” and not worth parents’
time.  However, a few other studies used
larger amounts of dyes—50-100 mg and reported that a greater proportion of the
children reacted to the dye challenge. 
But these studies were often criticized for using too much dyes.  So we at Purdue decided to measure the
amounts of dyes.  We reported that
depending upon a particular child’s diet he or she could easily consume more
than 100 mgs a day or even more.

If you would like to read these articles, your local
library can order the articles for you free on Interlibrary Loan. 

Best wishes, Laura

News
for You

Here is the abstract from the first article that appeared
in Clinical Pediatrics in 2013:

Amounts
of Artificial Food Colors in Commonly Consumed Beverages and  Potential Behavioral Implications for
Consumption in Children

Laura J. Stevens, MS, John R. Burgess, PhD, Mateusz A.
Stochelski, BS and

Thomas Kuczek, PhD

Abstract

Artificial food colors (AFCs) are widely used to color
foods and beverages. The amount of AFCs the Food and Drug Administration has
certified over the years has increased more than 5-fold since 1950 (12
mg/capita/day) to 2012 (68 mg/capita/day). In the past 38 years, there have
been studies of adverse behavioral reactions such as hyperactivity in children
to double-blind challenges with AFCs. Studies that used 50 mg or more of AFCs
as the challenge showed a greater negative effect on more children than those
which used less. The study reported here is the first to quantify the amounts
of AFCs in foods (specifically in beverages) commonly consumed by children in
the United States. Consumption data for all foods would be helpful in the
design of more challenge studies. The data summarized here should help
clinicians advise parents about AFCs and beverage consumption.

Here is the abstract from our other article in Clinical Pediatrics which appeared this
year:

Amounts
of Artificial Food Dyes and Added Sugars in Foods and Sweets Commonly Consumed
by Children

Laura J. Stevens, MS, John R. Burgess, PhD, Mateusz A.
Stochelski, BS, and Thomas Kuczek, PhD

Abstract

Artificial food colors (AFCs) are used to color many
beverages, foods, and sweets in the United States and throughout the world. In
the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) limits the AFCs
allowed in the diet to 9 different colors. The FDA certifies each batch of
manufactured AFCs to guarantee purity and safety. The amount certified has
risen from 12 mg/capita/d in 1950 to 62 mg/capita/d in 2010. Previously, we
reported the amounts of AFCs in commonly consumed beverages. In this article,
the amounts of AFCs in commonly consumed foods and sweets are reported. In
addition, the amount of sugars in each product is included. Amounts of AFCs
reported here along with the beverage data show that many children could be
consuming far more dyes than previously thought.  Clinical guidance is given to help caregivers
avoid AFCs and reduce the amount of sugars in children’s diets.