(The Best Years in Life)
Using artificial colors to make food
look more appealing has become taboo
because of their links to behavior
problems, allergies and various cancers.
Instead food technologists are coming up
with natural substances that can make
food look just as appetizing and still
be inline with the current interest in
natural health. But just because
something is natural doesn’t mean it
can’t cause a bunch of problems in the
human body. One example of this is
annatto, a natural food coloring agent
showing up in hundreds of products and
linked to a host of health problems in
children and adults.
Annatto, also known as E160b in Europe and other countries, comes from the seeds
of the tropical achiote tree. Those seeds are a bright red-orange color, and
they can be used to impart color across the spectrum from light cream color to
bright red, with the most common being yellow. This makes annatto almost
ubiquitous across the food supply. It is increasingly showing up in foods such
as cheese, yogurt, butter, coffee creamers, snack foods, cereals, and plenty
more. Many of the foods containing it are specifically marketed to children,
such as gold fish crackers.
Food Intolerance Network has received a huge number of complaints about annatto.
These manifest in children primarily as behavior problems and irritability,
while adults may display headache, bone pain, symptoms of arthritis, and
symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. In both adults and children, sleep
disturbances, nightmares, inability to focus, restlessness and inattention are
Because children have a higher metabolic rate than adults, signs of annatto
reaction in them can occur shortly after it is consumed. Reaction in adults
tends to be delayed for a day or two, making it more difficult to identify
annatto as the culprit.
is no testing of food additives to determine safety, and the FDA appears to turn
a blind eye to them. Food companies wanting to use an additive have only to say
it is safe and viola, it is. All they have to do is declare it as having GRAS
status (generally recognized as safe).
studies have been done have documented that consuming annatto
Can produce many years of irritable bowel disease due to unrecognized
sensitivity to it
Cause anaphylactic shock
one of the additives that generate reactions in one-third of those tested
Can produce chronic rash consisting of red welts on the skin that itch
Can produce joint pain, fever, brain swelling, bruising and skin
discoloration, visceral swelling, abdominal pain and swelling of the voice
Lead to symptoms of asthma
Cause a reaction in 26 percent of challenge participants – a greater amount
than was found with all artificial colors tested
Can produce extremely low blood pressure in less than 20 minutes after
a generation of children been labeled as special education material when their
real problem is annatto?
possible that the increased use of annatto in many foods eaten by children could
be behind the exponential rise in the number of children meeting the criteria
for special education services? The two are closely correlated in time.
Research into the effects of annatto in children is quite limited. Though
scientific documentation is helpful, when there isn’t much of it we must rely on
anecdotal evidence, the kind of evidence humans regularly relied upon before the
scientific method took away their common sense. Here is an anecdotal record
written by a woman about her young son that currently appears on the Food
Intolerance Network’s website. There are many more similar stories there as
son was restless from the day he was born. His pediatrician told me to not feed
him dairy or wheat and suggested I feed him meat and vegetables and fruit for
the first year of his life. When he was one, I decided to broaden his diet a bit
and started feeding him vanilla ice cream. I didn't understand at the time, but
he started throwing the most awful tantrums and head banging. He became obsessed
with the color yellow. He only wanted to wear yellow clothes, draw with yellow
pencils and chose toys that were yellow. My friends constantly commented on his
yellow addiction. I used to feed him corn and cheese omelets for dinner with
vanilla ice cream and banana for dessert. I'd mix the banana in thoroughly so
the ice cream looked more yellow. It wasn't until 18 months later that I started
learning about nasty food chemicals, and learned that annatto 160b natural
yellow coloring was causing a lot of problems. When we got together with other
mothers, he'd go straight for yellow food and always want yellow drinks. It was
a bit of a joke really. He'd choose yellow lollypops over other colors and when
I asked him what color he wanted his room painted, he of course said yellow. I
stopped allowing him food with 160b in it, but still let him have it when he
went out. My friends thought I was over the top with food.
day after meeting with my friends, and my son eating their yellow food, he went
off the rails. I managed to get him into the car, (which is hard when they
stiffen their bodies like a board) and drove him to my friend's house. He was
screaming in his car seat, Let me out, let me out and was struggling like crazy
in his seat. We drove up her driveway and my friend said Oh my god, what's
happened to Liam? I explained this is what happens when he eats bad food
chemicals. It was only after this that she actually believed me. I then became
strict and totally eliminated it from his diet. His head banging stopped and his
outrageous tantrums stopped also. I then realized that his obsession with yellow
was caused from an addiction to yellow food. When I eliminated it from his diet,
he began to choose other colors to wear. He'd choose other colored lunchboxes,
drink bottles and hats. I've never heard any other parent mention the color
phenomenon, but I still believe it was connected to his addiction to 160b.”
If your child has been labeled as attention
deficit hyperactivity disordered (ADHD), learning disabled, behavioral
disordered, emotionally disturbed or a similar diagnosis, it is time to examine
what he or she is consuming.
Barbara is a school psychologist and the author of Dividend Capture, a book on personal finance. She is a breast cancer survivor using bioidentical hormone therapy, and a passionate advocate of natural health with hundreds of articles on many aspects of health and wellness. She is the editor and publisher of AlignLife's Health Secrets Newsletter.
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