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Artificial Food Dyes and Children with Laura Stevens

Artificial Food Dyes

The idea of food affecting behavior and attention has been around for decades. Certain foods help our children learn, focus and behave in a world full of distraction while others, such as artificial food dyes, seem to hinder these skills.

Foods containing food dyes have come under scrutiny. One study estimates that 43% of what kids eat contain artificial food dyes.

I chat with food dye researcher Laura Stevens in this episode and uncover what we know about artificial food dyes, ADHD and our food supply.

What You Will Learn:

  • ADHD symptoms of fatty acid deficiency
  • Effects of supplements on fatty acid deficiency
  • Role of nutrition in ADHD
  • What are artificial food colors (AFC)
  • The experience of symptoms, particularly inattention and hyperactivity after AFC ingestion
  • How to know if your child is sensitive to artificial food colors
  • How to test your child’s response to artificial food colors
  • Which foods hold the highest levels of artificial food colors
  • How to identify artificial food dyes in foods
  • Artificial food colors and sugar appear together in food products, frequently

What We Discuss:

  • Common eating patterns amongst children with ADHD
  • Poor food choices
  • How Laura got involved in artificial food dye research
  • How Laura measured artificial food dyes in beverages and food
  • Why it’s easy to consume over 50 mg artificial food dyes daily for some kids
  • The types of future research studies needed to further our knowledge about AFC in children
  • How to eliminate artificial food colors in your child’s diet
  • Why it isn’t easy to swap artificial food colors for natural ones
  • Which manufacturers have made positive steps toward eliminating artificial food colors
  • How to handle education about artificial food colors, particularly with children who have ADHD

Links I Mentioned in the Show:

Laura’s books: Find them all on
Solving the Puzzle of Your ADD/ADHD Child: Natural Solutions for Hard-to-Raise Children. Published in 2015 by Charles C. Thomas
12 Effective Ways to Help Your ADD/ADHD Child
Published in 2000 by Penguin Putnam
Solving the Puzzle of Your Hard-To-Raise Child
Published in 1987 by Random House
The Complete Book of Allergy Control
Published in 1986 by Macmillan
The New Way to Sugar-Free Cooking
Published in 1984 by Doubleday
How to Improve Your Child’s Behavior Through Diet
Published in 1981by Doubleday
How to Feed Your Hyperactive Child
Published in 1977 by Doubleday
Amounts of Artificial Food Dyes and Added Sugars in Foods and Sweets Commonly Consumed by Children. Clinical Pediatrics. 2014.
Laura’s Newsletter: Your ADHD Newsletter
A Healthy ADHD Diet for Kids (Free Printable)

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