"Without sufficient scientific evidence that a causal link truly exists between food colors and hyperactivity in children, communications that suggest a link could have unintended consequences, including unnecessarily frightening consumers about safe ingredients that are consumed every day," he said. "Misguided theories dilute the impact of advice from health professionals on methods that have been found through scientific research to be truly effective in treating ADHD, such as medication and behavior modification."
However, Dr. Roberto F. Lopez-Alberola, chief of pediatric neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, believes the dyes could have neurological effects.
"The European Food Safety Authority has made it law that foods that contain these additives have a warning label," he noted. "This is already old news in the Old World."
Lopez-Alberola said these dyes make foods more attractive, especially to children, and he speculates that part of the increase in ADHD and autism has resulted from food additives. "It's not the sugar, it could well be these colorants," he said.
In addition, the developing brains of children are particularly sensitive to additives like these, Lopez-Alberola noted. "These dyes could certainly have long-term impact on the neurodevelopment of the child," he said.
"The only purpose of these dyes is a cosmetic purpose, they serve no nutritional or preservative value. They are often used to make junk foods more attractive to children. So their continued use is just not worth the risk," Cronin said.
There are alternatives to chemical colorings, he pointed out. Cronin said that when warning labels were put on foods in Europe it caused many U.S.-based food companies to market natural-based food-colored products in Europe.
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