Nearly 96% of all candies and 94% of fruit flavored snacks in a grocery store contain food dyes.

Starbursts, Skittles and other colorful candies are often used as rewards for students demonstrating good behavior. These treats may grab a student’s attention and excitement, but they also come with inherent risks.

Nearly half of the products use food dyes. According to Clinical Pediatrics, nearly 96% of all candies and 94% of fruit flavored snacks in a grocery store contained artificial coloring.

The brain expects food that is said to taste like strawberries to be red. Therefore, Red 40 is commonly used to add color to a food product that might otherwise, in its natural state, be white.

I first learned more about food dyes by observing behavioral swings in our four year old son after consuming colored candies and desserts. The unusual behavioral changes have since ceased through eliminating all foods containing dyes. Note, not reduced sugar-- just the sugar that was covered with the dye!

The FDA says that although there is no conclusive evidence that food dyes cause behavior problems in children, some children will notice increased symptoms of ADHD from consumption of food dyes.

Understanding the health impacts of artificial color in candies and snacks can help students focus and listen for personal growth.

Originally published on LinkedIn.