Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Red 40 Experiment Results

As some of you may have already read, we were running a little dietary experiment in our home.  Our 3 year old son was suddenly becoming out of control, and I had read an article about the effects food coloring has on children's behavior.  Red 40 was the biggest culprit, triggering out of control behavior, hyperactivity, aggression...  Well, the one thing we had changed the week my son was suddenly displaying over the top terrible behavior, was he was eating a fruity, artificially colored cereal, unlike any of the cereal he was used to eating.  I decided it was worth cutting out all Red 40 to see if it impacted his behavior.  A few times we goofed up and gave him something red, and then we had to start from scratch as his behavior was bad, and was it coincidence or the dye?  So, now being off of it for a few weeks, we have noticed a remarkable change.  The biggest change is temper tantrums.  They are much less frequent, and not nearly as severe.  He's just had a few little mini fits here and there for a moment or two at a time, like normal 3 year olds.  None of these crazy long, drawn out total meltdowns. 

Seeing that his behavior is linked to the dye is both good and bad.  It's good because we can virtually eliminate it, and that helps him so much.  It helps him feel better, because those fits were not just hard on us, but they were terrible for him to go through.  You could see on his face, and the way he spiraled out of control that he was miserable.  He looked like someone drowning.  It's bad that they are connected, because Red 40 is in so much.  Basically I have to look at something, ask my self if it's usually red in nature, and if not read the label to see what they used to make it that way.  Sure, he'll have red food on occasion, like if we're at a party and there are red treats, so it will not be totally eliminated.  It will be eliminated in our house, though.  It's a bigger pain in the butt to have the bad behavior than to avoid red food. 

Maybe by sharing this info and our little home-study on the matter, someone else experiencing the same thing will get some helpful information they can use.  If I hadn't happened across the article I read, I would still have a miserable child who cannot get a grip to save his life.  Now, we have a kiddo much more calm and lots happier.  He's not perfect, but no 3 year old is.  If someone tells you they know a perfect 3 year old, they are lying.  I promise! 

So goodbye fruit snacks, pop tarts, fun & colorful cereal, purple Gatorade, and the Strawberry cake mix I bought not thinking about the fact that it would probably be a fake shade of pink.  Anyone want to take that off my hands?  Free to a good home.  I'll look up a recipe for homemade strawberry cake, instead.  It'll be better, anyways!

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