Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tossing Out the Red 40

Last night, we attended an Eagle Scout Ceremony for a friend's teenager. Afterward, they served candy (M&M's), punch, and cake (white with white and black frosting). Our eldest son had some of each.

Fast forward to today: He was a little hellion. All day. It just went on and on and on and on. By mid-day, I was ready to sell him to the gypsies.

Was this just a "bad day" with normal discipline issues? Was it the sugar? The fatigue? The food coloring?

I don't know - probably some of all of the above. And I don't like to blame bad behavior on physical issues, because it feels like an excuse ("Sorry, Susie, the reason my son is destroying your crystal collection is because he's tired. It's not his fault.") And discipline issues are a constant issue for us; I am a constantly-learning parent, and he is a challenging child. However, I have noticed a uniformly bad response in our son to red 40 food coloring - which, I learned after looking it up this evening, is a major component of black food coloring (apparently it's just a globby mass of all the different colors mixed together - yum!).

Whatever the cause, I am going to keep a closer eye on it - one piece of cake is not worth 24 hours of parental suffering.

Though telling a preschooler, "Sorry, I know everyone's having cake, but you can't have any" is a difficult proposition! (Though I know parents of celiac kids have to do it all the time.) A new challenge!

Something to work on.

And here's hoping tomorrow is a better day, because I may start seriously looking for gypsy bands if it's not!


  1. My older son is allergic to Red 40, but it makes his nose itch. He seems to be less affected by it now. When I first discovered it (because it started making *my* nose itch too), I became extremely careful about Red 40 -- minimizing it when I could, and making sure he washed his hands after eating it -- and it's in so much food! [Fortunately, we buy very little convenience food, but I have to read labels when I buy snacks for long trips, because I certainly don't want us to be stuck in the car for hours and hours with itchy noses.]

    I haven't noticed a change in attitude from him, so I guess I can be glad it's just an external allergy instead of an internal one; but it's still a good idea to minimize the junk, sweets, and artificial ingredients.


  2. I agree with Kathy, in that Red #40 is in A LOT of stuff. High likelihood it was in the M&M's too, and possibly the punch.

    My grandmother used to get migraines from it, as well as one of the yellow colorings. I don't ever remember her eating any packaged sweets because of it.


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