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How To Avoid Food Coloring Allergies And Sugars [E028]

Become more aware of what to look for when it comes to additives, food coloring allergies, and sugars found in food and goodies that your kids may be eating. Some of the behaviors and symptoms your children are exhibiting could be caused by what is going into their mouth. Dr. Bryan Joseph and Dr. Jason Hamed interview Pediatric and Prenatal Special Dr. Whitney Hamed on how you can begin to avoid these foods and boost your child’s immune system.

Table Of Contents

Introduction to Food Coloring Allergies

Introduction to Food Coloring Allergies
Photographer: delfi de la Rua | Source: Unsplash

Dr. Bryan: All right, back live in the studio, episode 28 coming to you, I am your host, Dr. Brian Joseph and I am joined with my cohost, Dr. Jason Hamad.

Dr. Jason: Hello, hello.

Dr. Bryan: And today again we brought his wife, Dr. Whitney Hamad.

Dr. Whitney: Hi everyone.

Dr. Bryan: And we’re going to have our discussion around the topic today of sugars and food additives and food coloring allergies that we tend to see a lot of children getting fed and why that can be a no, no. And what are some things to look for to avoid, you know, really making your child sick and beating up their immune system at a young age. And then what are some alternative solutions?

Dr. Bryan: So purpose of the podcast is always the same. You hear me say this, but definitely we’re here to help you get well and stay well as best as we possibly can. The mission continues to spread. We’ve now done this for a few months consecutively and look forward to continuing it and people like you continue to share. And we see that more and more people are actually engaging in these episodes. So we thank you for that.

Dr. Jason: Yes, thank you.

Something is wrong with these treats

Dr. Bryan: So on that note, gosh, Halloween’s not the only time that we see our kids eat a ton of candy. Right? So it seems like after every baseball game, it seems like any movie you go to, there are treats everywhere and we just certainly don’t want to spoil our kids and take away that fun element of having a treat. But some of the things that parents unknowingly are feeding their children are doing more harm than they really understand. And so that’s today’s intention to really help you become more aware of what some of those are and what to look for. So guys, can you guys help? Let’s start here with what is so wrong with actually, you know, going to a movie or going to a candy store and picking the wrong treat?

Dr. Jason: First, I don’t think it’s necessarily so much, it’s wrong because I think what you said earlier, is a parent’s just trying to enjoy the time with their child, right? They’re taking in a movie. They’re going to an ice cream shop. They’re getting a snow cone, right? It’s nothing that they’re inherently like doing something wrong. I believe most people just are unaware of what they’re actually putting into their child. I actually think that most of our challenges as parents that we have with kids that aren’t focusing, kids that are really off the wall, kids aren’t listening, kids that are misbehaving unbeknownst to most people that are giving them stuff that’s actually making those behaviors that much more agitated.

Sugars and Food Coloring Are Toxic

Sugars and Food Coloring Are Toxic
Photographer: Sylvanus Urban | Source: Unsplash

Dr. Bryan: So Whitney, when you look at some of the treats that kids are being fed, what are the two probably biggest things that are harmful that are found in these foods that would concern you as a mom?

Dr. Whitney: Sugar and food dyes. Those are the two biggest ones. And those are usually, you know, sugar is going to be first on the label. Food dye’s going to be later on down into the label, but those two and how they affect behaviors, and we’ll get into this later, but your child’s immune system, they are in, I’m just going to say it simply, they’re toxic and they’re hard on your child and every child is going to express it differently. Some are going to handle it better than others. At the same time, there’s an array of symptoms that can come from both of these ingredients.

Dr. Bryan: So everybody that’s listening to this episode probably knows what sugar is, but not everybody would be as clear as what a food additive is or a food coloring allergies. So what are some examples of candies or treats that have those? And then what are some of those that we’re looking for?

Marketing built right into the food

Dr. Jason: We’ll take one step back even, before that, Dr. Bry. A food coloring has no nutritional value whatsoever. The only reason a food coloring exists is to maintain the color of a food. So psychologically, it’s like marketing built into the food, testSo think about in your head for a moment, like if you saw a watermelon and it’s fresh watermelon and it’s popping red and you’re like, “Oh that looks good,” If you saw a real watermelon, it was all like pale or maybe a little stale look, and you’re like, “That doesn’t look good.”

Dr. Jason: Inherently in your brain you have that hardwire neurologically to say, “Oh that’s good food.” The food coloring allergies and the food industry have utilized this, have understood this. And so they attune this part of our human neurology to say, “Okay, let’s keep the purple really purple.”

Dr. Jason: All of a sudden if we say blue Icee, whatever, all of a sudden we’re going to make this as blue as we possibly can. And so what they do is they actually create dyes, food dyes, literally chemical, very small molecular compounds that go into the food that literally give it a bright color and sustain that color for long periods of time. So when you ask, what type of foods, think of any candy or any drink, and unfortunately most foods that you’ll get on the shelf and in the shelf, not the outskirts or the produce, but the shelving in your grocery market that have a color are going to have these dyes within it just to maintain color. No nutritional value, just marketing neurologically for food.

Dr. Whitney: Let’s say Skittles, let’s say the blue Icee drink. But the less obvious are mac and cheese. Marshmallows.

Charlie And The Chocolate Factory

Dr. Bryan: Here’s what comes to mind. Two things popped in my mind when you’re talking about the reason we add these food coloring or these additives so that it pops to our eye and it makes us more attracted to it. It’s almost like the equivalent of watching a Disney movie in black and white only. And then the moment that they started adding all these vibrant colors, it engaged us to a whole nother level. Right. Or you remember that movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, or Willy Wonka?

Dr. Bryan: The day that they open up the chocolate factory and all these kids walk in and all of a sudden there’s candy everywhere and it’s all different colors. Imagine if everything was just brown. Right? I totally understand what you’re saying. And a kid is going to be extremely attracted to all the rainbow of colors that are out there. Because just when we take our kids to an ice cream shop, it’s hilarious. They have all the choices and then there’s this gross Superman stuff that looks like every color. And what are they drawn to?

Dr. Jason: The gross Superman stuff.

Dr. Whitney: The Superman ice cream.

Why Food Coloring Is Dangerous

Dangerous Effects Of Too Much Sugar
Photographer: Tatiana Lapina | Source: Unsplash

Dr. Bryan: They want the one with all the colors. Right. So what are some of those colors? I know that there’s all sorts of colors, but there’s unique names for some of those colors. And then why are those colors really, really bad for us?

Dr. Jason: Well, there are, Doc. There are a lot of colors to be listed. In fact, we can even in the show notes, you know, give access to some research I found. There was a great research study that was done by the Center for Science and Public Interest. Two PhDs, one out of UCLA, literally looked at all of the food coloring allergies that we are presently putting into our foods at.

Dr. Jason: The FDA has allowed and literally demonstrated what it does from a biological level, how is it breaking our body down. They showed the mechanism of how it happens as well as the resource supporting it. The name of that article’s Food Dyes, a Rainbow of Risk. So again, if you’re out there looking for more resources, it’s a great great … It’s over 68 pages of just data but easy to read that shows you the dangers of food dyes.

Dr. Jason: But to keep it real simple for everyone out there, there’s really three main colorings that we want to be mindful of because these three are in 90% of all of our foods presently that are being used for dye. Those three coloring are red 40 yellow 5, and yellow 6.

Allergies and inflammation linked to food dyes

Dr. Jason: And like Dr. Whit said, it’s usually hidden or mashed in or at the very end of the ingredient list. But again, that’s red 40, yellow 5, yellow 6. 90% of all our dyes that are being used those three are the big dogs. Now again, real quick, those have all been shown to have a chemical compound called benzidine in it. Benzidine, which is a known carcinogen. So 90% of all the coloring, whether it be mac and cheese, marshmallows, those candies that that will remain nameless.

Dr. Jason: There’s the other problem that we’re seeing is the fact that these food coloring allergies have three major challenges. One is carcinogens, with the benzidine. The second is it’ll attack the immune system and actually create allergies. The reason being is these food dyes are small molecular weight. So when the kids or the adult ingest them, what they do is they attach, they attract to the protein, like a meat that you’re eating, They attract an they attached to it. The body says, “Whoa, that’s weird. Why is this little thing hanging out with this meat? That’s got to be a foreign object. I’m going to go attack it.” So all of you who suffer with autoimmune disease, you know exactly what that means.

Dr. Jason: That means that when your body attacks itself or something in it, it creates inflammation. So food dyes have been linked to immune system or allergies because it creates inflammation or excessive reactions within the body. And the last thing we know is it actually creates hypersensitivity or ADD. Now again, what’s happening is when you’re putting these things into the body, it’s attacking neurologically the body creating a ramping up.

Hyperactive kids due to food dyes

Dr. Jason: There have been studies that have demonstrated that when kids in a comparative environment, some kids were having a food with no food coloring, that’s called a placebo and they had some kids that were having a food coloring based foods. They studied these kids and demonstrated in clinical research that these kids were actually more hyperactive. So as Dr. Whitney alluded to, in Europe July 2010, they actually now put a law in place that every food has food coloring allergies states warning, not this food can, this food will cause hyperactivity in people.

Dr. Bryan: So what’s fascinating about that is I think most parents when, and this is not just for kids, you’re talking about this affects adults too, but most people would probably point the finger at the sugar in the product first as opposed to the food additives, or the food colorings that were causing this clinical damage. And as doctors, when we see patients, you know, and we see patients with their children that come in, we see so often, you know, people that are experiencing conditions like asthma or allergies or ADD or ADHD. And I would assume based off what you’re sharing and what we’ve seen, that a lot of their clinical behavior is a reflection of what they’re fueling their bodies with.

Dr. Feingold’s Research on ADHD Diet

Dr. Whitney: Absolutely. And that’s why, you know, all the patients we’ve seen over the years, and especially the young ones where parents are struggling with ADD and ADHD, we have to look at the whole piece. We have to look at the diet, we have to look at the physical approach and really to help that child out. And these are the hidden secrets. These are the hidden dangers that are in there. And then back to, you know, you may be thinking like, “Wow, Jay is spelling all this out. He spelling like this out about Europe and new laws and these studies that have come about,” which by the way, this has been around since the 1920s and 30s.

Dr. Whitney: Dr Feingold, if you do any research, Doctor F-E-I-N gold started looking at this years and decades ago and now the beautiful thing is the researchers here to back it. But it’s all about consumer demand. So if you’re listening thinking what could I do, what could I do? It literally comes down to what you choose to buy, which comes down to reading your labels. So I just wanted to give you that tidbit to go, there is some power in this.

Food Dyes Hidden In Your Favorite Snack

Dr. Bryan: So you’re making me even think, you know back around holiday time when you’re decorating Christmas cookies and all those things like those little, the actual food coloring allergies that we would put into those to decorate our cookies. Are those laced with that same thing that you know of?

Dr. Whitney: Yes. Yes they are. And I have bought the vegetable based food coloring, which we can talk about alternatives later and they are not as bright and crisp and as blue and as yellow and as red. But you know what? We still had fun. We still got to color our cookies and they worked and they were made out of vegetables and fruits.

Dr. Bryan: Another area that I would have never thought of. Growing up, I loved the nacho Doritos. Loved them, right. And I think they’re like crack. It’s so addictive. But what I’ve learned over the last 10 years is that those are loaded with food coloring allergies too.

Dr. Whitney: Yes, absolutely. That comes down to the hidden ingredients in crackers and marshmallows like we referenced. It’s quite amazing how it goes back to the marketing. How we’re making things look fresh and colorful, when that’s just in nature, not the case.

Dangerous Effects Of Too Much Sugar

Dangerous Effects Of Too Much Sugar
Photographer: Rod Long | Source: Unsplash

Dr. Bryan: So when we’re talking about the subject matter of sugar and food additives, it’s not solely in candy that we have to look, we have to look at labels for those things that Dr. Jay identified in all categories. Our pastas, our chips and so on. And our ice creams. It’s everywhere because of what you said, it’s being marketed to make it look like it’s fresher, you know, more vibrant and even a healthier type of substance when it’s not. So let’s turn to the other side of this discussion a little bit. If that’s some of the damaging effects that we find from food additives in food coloring, what do we see as damaging effects associated with too much sugar?

Dr. Whitney: So I’m going to roll. We have a couple of ways we can go with that. But let me just roll first with, let’s draft off behaviors in your kids. And that doesn’t mean even the categories of ADD, ADHD. Let’s just talk about meltdowns. Let’s talk about, you know, your child just not being able to cope in a certain time of the day. Look what you fed them before. Did they come down from the sugar crash? Because sugar alone, especially a sugary kind of snack or treat, if it’s not balanced with any form of a protein or a healthy fat, that crash is going to occur. And for most kids, the behaviors is where it’s at. And so that’s one of the main things, just as parents, as being aware of all the sugar that’s in the food and what you’re feeding them.

Sugar + Technology = hyperactivity

Dr. Jason: When we put massive amounts of sugar into our body and then we sit in front of technology, what we don’t understand is technology itself will stimulate a primitive part of our brain that hyper activates us, a part of the brain called the nucleus acumen. So what ends up happening, and it’s a pleasure center of our brain, so it keeps us stimulated. We get stimulated by that with respect to nicotine, adrenaline, sexual activity, alcohol, certain types of foods and sugar.

Dr. Jason: So think about this, if you give a kid a ton of sugar, okay, whether you realize it or not, you’re giving them sugar, and he sits in front of a Xbox or an iPad or an iPhone, or you as an adult have a ton of sugar and you sit in front of a computer screen all day, the blue lights coming, emitting off of that technology or stimulating your brain. And then, oh, and by on top of that, you also had some Skittles or some food coloring allergies, which only adds to more hyper activity.

Dr. Jason: You wonder why you’re feeling anxiety and stress and you just want to go and rip someone’s head off, right? This is why these kids are so out of balance. And literally can’t handle, you know, some little thing that goes wrong and we’re freaking out as a parent. Like, what the heck is wrong with this kid? Well, he was like a caged animal for six hours based on what we fed him, what he got stimulation from. And neurologically he had food coloring allergies in his body which stimulated his crazy brain behavior. It’s not really his fault.

Sugar addiction is an epidemic

Dr. Bryan: What’s wild is to see when we look at these research charts and we look at all the different episodes of the epidemics that have continued to climb over the last several decades when they began to further introduce these food colorings to the level that they do now and increased the sugar, you know, the amount of sugar that was going into a lot of products, the level, the rise in diseases like obesity and diabetes, type two diabetes and even cardiovascular risk and then neurologic issues that were showing up in adults and kids. It spiked massively.

Dr. Whitney: And it spiked, too, because what’s also behind that is the addiction centers. We’ve talked about that. The way sugar lights up the addictive centers of the brain, and this starts in kids is you know, equivalent to alcohol, cocaine, drugs. It’s the same kind of centers like Dr. Jay was referencing, but also the palate. So you think about the tongue itself, is if a kid gets a hold of sugar and too much sugar and sugary treats at an early age, you know, that dims, meaning they just need more sugar. Things need to taste better, have more. And I think that that’s what’s happening in a lot of our food companies. They’re adding the sugar for taste because we’ve come so accustomed to it. And so addicted to it.

Dr. Bryan: Do we have good sugars? I mean like fruit is loaded with sugar, right? Like those are okay kind of sugars. Right?

Dr. Whitney: Right. Exactly.

Alternative Food Coloring and Sugars

Alternative Food Coloring and Sugars
Photographer: ja ma | Source: Unsplash

Dr. Bryan: This episode is again, we’re trying to be as realistic as we possibly can with everybody. There are treats you can give your children or yourself that actually are still sugary and relatively sugary and actually are really good. So let’s see if we can’t offer a few solutions or some alternatives when it comes to snacks that you may consider as a treat for yourself or a kid or a drink that may be better than some of the current options that people are used to.

Dr. Whitney: So you know what I try to do anytime that we have something, whether it be a bowl of ice cream or a popsicle is first I find a natural source with no food coloring allergies or additives. And then if it does have some sugar, I look for other alternatives, meaning is it made out of almonds or almond milk instead of dairy milk. So I’m looking for a dairy free, gluten free option. I’m looking for does it have added fiber or can I add some chopped nuts on top of it or some granola cereal.

Dr. Whitney: Like if the girls get kind of one of the cleaner yogurts that I can find without dyes or additives, I’m adding some of my Nature’s Path granola cereal to it to give it some oomph, to help slow down that sugar. So I’m always just looking for protein and fiber to add in with the sugary snacks or if it’s just simply a treat, we’re out, I’m looking for at least to be free of dyes and making sure there’s some kind of meal or snack that’s healthy to back that up after the sugary treat.

Food dyes in products labeled as “all natural” or “all organic”

Dr. Bryan: So if a product label says net all natural and all organic, would those ingredients, those food dyes still be found in those products? Or is that a?

Dr. Whitney: 90% of the time, no. When I see that on the label, I always read the label anyway. Most times I find myself in the safe zone.

Dr. Jason: I’m glad that you talked about before, Dr. Bryan asked that question about hey, if you’re looking for, if I’m just in the mood for a treat, you know I’m going to get kids something that doesn’t have dye. Yeah. Because I’m going to keep it real. Like if we’re out and about, and it’s just my biggest thing is no food coloring allergies. My kids hear me say that often. They know what that means by this point. So that usually means chocolate. Like if we’re out and about like a chocolate bar-

Dr. Jason: As a good option, right. Luckily one of our kids really actually likes Hershey bars, right? Which is just pretty simple. You know, peanut butter and chocolate is a great thing. I also advocate the same thing. Obviously we’re married, we share the same value, but I’m trying to find some way to create some stability before the treat.

Plan ahead for alternative treats

Dr. Jason: So again, planning ahead. If I know we’re going to the movies or we’re going to go get some protein and some veggies maybe in a salad or maybe we’re going to get it like a sandwich at a local shop or whatever, then I know it’s going to create some stick. So when I put that sugar in in a few moments when we go to the movies, then that sugar won’t go right to their bloodstream, right to their brain. That’s for treat days. That’s like when Daddy, daughter, Daddy Sundays, right. We’re just going to have fun time.

Dr. Jason: After a sporting event though, you know, it’s really, really important in my eyes to make sure that I prepare my kids to be able to heal as quickly as possible. And I’m dealing with the same challenges all of you out there that are parents are. We go to that snack shack and there’s just all food coloring, and it’s all sugars.

Dr. Jason: You know, I have that conversation with the kids on the way or that morning. It’s a heart to heart, so I don’t want to embarrass them in front of their friends. I’m like, “Hey listen, you know, after the game, everyone’s going to be running for a soda or everyone’s going to be doing this. Like there’s a time and a place for a treat, buddy.” You know, I’ll tell that to my son. So maybe I’ll bring a little fruit smoothie that’s got some protein in it. So after the game he can have that.

Body Armor as alternative to Gatorade

Dr. Jason: And then if down the road he wants a chocolate bar, no big deal. Right. If I’m in a pinch and I didn’t make the smoothie. I got no hot dog or no hamburger at the place and they just need to get some, you know, he’s hungry or he’s dehydrated? Right now I’m in a spade at the time of this recording, I’m really liking the Body Armor, this sports drink. If it’s sold in most convenient stores, it’s got a base of coconut water.

Dr. Jason: Some of the research, the preliminary research I did on it, it doesn’t have as much sugar as the competitor does, Gatorade being the competitor. Also does not have the food coloring allergies. The coloring they did use per what I saw already, was more of the fruit based coloring. Again, I’m still in the process of researching, but right now I’m leaning towards that versus the Gatorade.

Dr. Bryan: My first one, the orange mango, it was delicious.

Dr. Jason: That was great tasting.

Dr. Whitney: Our kids love it. They’ve all loved it. So it’s amazing. It comes back to that consumer demand and consumer education. Educate yourself, read the labels, find alternatives because there’s another side of marketing too, that’s ready to help us as educated consumers to support us in our endeavors, to look for items with less sugar and less additives and less coloring.

Closing Thoughts: Less Sugar, Less Coloring

Dr. Jason: We’ve totally seen a cultural change in the last, you know, 15 years that we’ve been in practice, especially the last five years where the things that we used to have to go on a mad scavenger hunt to try to find and bring to our patients are now becoming mainstream and in almost every aisle at the grocery store. I think it’s a matter of time. I remember when I was in seventh grade, and I’ve shared this with you as my baseball coach told me, and when I was in seventh grade, that when you become my age, and let’s just say he was in his mid 50s at the time, you will be in a situation where you’re able to choose a healthy Snicker bar.

Dr. Jason: He goes, it’s just the trends are taking place, it’ll happen. And that was before like Powerbars and Clif bars and all these things started to happen. But those things continued to evolve. So the snack shacks, the concession stands, it’s a matter of time before it’s not just Starburst, Skittles and everything that has all these negative things that are going to create inflammation and harm us and our children, but the other side of it, we’ll have healthy options that are tasty as well. So.

Dr. Whitney: Yes, I look forward to that.

Dr. Jason: Me too.

Dr. Bryan: All right guys, thank you for joining us again for another episode. And if you liked what you heard, please as always, continue to share. Thanks. And take care.

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