Parents always blame the sugar in junk food for making kids bounce off the walls, but could it actually be the color that's to blame?
NPR reports that the Food and Drug Administration is meeting this week to examine whether artificial food dyes made from petroleum and used to enhance the color of processed foods might cause hyperactivity in children.
The use of food dyes has gone up fivefold over the past 50 years, and because of the suspected links to hyperactivity, some experts have called on the FDA to ban foods containing them — or at least require a warning label. They're in everything from candy and popsicles to pudding, pickles, peas and mustard.
"Food dyes are added simply for their color to make foods fun. They serve no health purpose whatsoever," says Michael Jacobson, director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
Jacobson says that there is substantial evidence showing that food dyes trigger hyperactivity in kids, and the CSPI thinks the FDA should ban eight of them.
But other experts question that conclusion (for example, Andrew Adesman, chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York, says more studies are needed and that the current studies leave a lot of room for doubt).
Whether a link exists is of special concern to African-American families, one-quarter of whom live in neighborhoods where supermarkets are scarce but there are processed and artificially colored foods in abundance.
Read more at NPR.
In other news: Dismissal of Black Panther Defendants: Not Based on Race.