Do Moms Know Why Artificial Dyes Are Bad?

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It’s no secret that I am not a fan of artificial dyes in food. If you’ve spent any time on my site at all, you may have come across my list of 7 reasons explaining exactly why I hate them. But just in case you missed it (or could use a refresher), here is a little summary:

Artificial food dyes…

  • Are made in a lab with chemicals derived from petroleum.
  • Have been linked to long-term health problems such as cancer.
  • Require a warning label in Europe stating, “may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.”
  • Have been shown to cause an increase in hyperactivity in children as well as a negative impact on their ability to learn.
  • Add absolutely no value to the foods we are eating (but do in fact pose risks).
  • Trick your senses.
  • Are contributing to the obesity epidemic by attracting children (and adults) to highly processed food.

But the real question today is this: Is everyone else aware of these concerns, and do they share this same opinion? And how about naturally derived colors. Do moms know they are superior, will they seek them out, and (more importantly) will they pay more for them? Who is with me on this one?

Do Moms Know Why Artificial Dyes Are Bad? from 100 Days of #RealFood

One of our sponsors (a research company) thought it would be interesting to survey consumers in order to find out, and I am excited to be able to share the results. There were two parts to this research. First, a national survey that was administered to 1,000 U.S. mothers and then another survey where almost 3,000 of you agreed to shed light on this topic as well.

How do the differing populations stack up? Let’s take a look:

Results from 1,000 Mothers Nationally

  • 63% of moms surveyed indicated that they read food labels always (or almost always) before purchasing a food product.
  • 71% of moms would pay more for a product that substitutes naturally derived colors for synthetic ones.
  • 84% feel better and 81% feel safer knowing that their kids eat food containing naturally derived ingredients.
  • 83% of moms wish U.S. food companies would offer more naturally derived options for foods (hint, hint).
  • 72% are more likely to purchase a product with naturally derived colors, even if it’s less colorful than a similar product with synthetic colors.

Do Moms Know Why Artificial Dyes Are Bad? from 100 Days of #RealFood

 Results from 2,763 Readers of 100 Days of Real Food

  • 93% of 100DRF readers read food labels before purchasing a food product most of the time or always (way to go!).
  • 99% feel better and 96% feel safer knowing that their kids eat food containing naturally derived ingredients (so glad to hear this).
  • 99% of the 100DRF moms wish that U.S. food companies wold offer more naturally derived options for foods (let’s hope they’re listening!).
  • 98% are more likely to purchase a product with naturally derived colors, even if it’s less colorful than a similar product with synthetic colors (hard to beat voting with your dollars).

I am so pleased to hear this feedback! I realize that the number of people who took the survey is just a small percentage of our group, but from those who took it, it’s clear that you care deeply about the foods you are feeding your families. As you should!

The survey also showed that our participants cared more about additive content (preservatives, synthetic colors, allergens, GMO ingredients, etc.) than the national mom. 100DRF readers considered those additives the most important factor whereas the average American mom considered the most important factor to be nutritional content (calories, fat, protein, sodium, etc.). As I’ve mentioned before, the nutrition facts label is one of the last things I look at on a box – and for good reason!

Do Moms Know Why Artificial Dyes Are Bad? from 100 Days of #RealFood

 

So there you have it. I think we’re really making major progress, especially as I see more and more labels pop up in the grocery store that say “naturally derived.” Let’s continue to make our voices heard and vote with our dollars! And if you’re just now starting to make this a priority in your diet (no worries – it’s never too late!), be sure to check out my post on how to avoid aritifical food dyes for help.

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31 comments to Do Moms Know Why Artificial Dyes Are Bad?

  • Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

    Hi Karen. Thanks, I fixed the typo. As for scientific papers, I do know there is a report out there on a 2007 study commissioned by the British Food Standards Agency that linked food dyes, with increased levels of hyperactivity, ADD and lower IQs in typical/ordinary children. Also, http://www.feingold.org/research.php might help, too. ~Amy

  • Jon

    While I am not saying that it is impossible that food dyes may cause cancer I didn’t find any true upper level research articles supporting this claim in the articles you linked to. Most of the cliams in the CSPI article were links to other articles published by the same group. I simply think it is important to weigh the actual evidence prior to making such hasty claims. A quote from an FDA commissioner is hardly evidence. Like I said . . . I am not saying one way or the other . . . just don’t believe (from the links your shared) that the evidence is there to make this claim.

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