Posted in Healthy Eating

Wellness Wednesdays: The Effects of Additives in Foods

My Scattered Notes on The Effects of Additives in Foods


Packaged foods are loaded with colors and preservatives to increase their shelf life and make them look pretty while they sit on the shelf. Food additives also make those packaged foods smell good, look good and maintain the texture of the food. Some are good, some are not.

Dyes and additives have been shown to be linked to behavioral problems, emotional issues, and medical issues. Twin Cities Holistic Health Coach, Kelley Suggs, break it all down for us on a program I watched a few weeks back. I hope my scattered notes are helpful. After watching this segment I’m compelled to make many changes for my husband and son who have ADD/ADHD.


Food colors/dyes uses: Makes food look pretty.

Recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics has officially linked ADD and ADHD to artificial food dye. The fastest growing population taking anti depressants and anti anxiety medication is children among the ages of 2-5. Parents and researchers in other countries like Britain and Australia have known and acted on this for years, making dietary changes that have changed behavior and increased the quality of sleep for little ones.

The reason it is such a big deal for kids: The amount taken in is dose dependant. A 3 year old will get a much higher dose than a full grown 30 year old parent, and will respond accordingly.

Found in: Anything that starts with FD&C, specifically Red 40 (which is derived from petroleum), Yellow 5 and Blue 2. Found in food in a box like cereal and mac n’ cheese, yogurt (any kind), candy (M&M’s), chips (Dorritos), crackers, bread, pickles, over the counter and prescription medication (Motrin/Tylenol/pain relievers/allergy medications).

Effects: sleep disturbances, ADD and ADHD behavior and extreme irritability.

Alternatives: Stonyfield Farms yogurt, plain potato chips with Daisy brand sour cream, chocolate chips instead of M&M’s , Homemade mac ‘n cheese or Annie’s Mac ‘n Cheese instead of Kraft or other brands. Organic foods use vegetable based food dyes like beets.

Sodium Benzoate Uses: Is used to increase the shelf life of food.

Effects: Published in the British Lancet, this additive, especially in combination with artificial food colors, drives kids wild and can feel like it flips the ADD and ADHD switch to on.

Found in: pop, condiments like sauerkraut, jellies and jams

Alternatives: instead of Sunkist try Von Hansen’s natural soda or 365 Brand from Whole foods, use organic jellies and jams or make it yourself, use organic condiments.

Polysorbate 80 Uses: it is an emulsifier and thickener.

Found in: whipped cream, ice cream, non-dairy creamer, chewing gum, condiments like pickles and salad dressing.

Effects: sneezing, coughing, swelling, shortness of breath, skin rashes, gastrointestinal problems and fertility problems.

Artificial sweeteners like aspartame Uses: decrease calories, marketing for weight loss

Found in: anything low calorie, diet, low/no sugar, sugar free

Effects: in young kids, toddlers and babies (through breast milk) – rashes, asthma, gastrointestinal problems, obesity, hypoglycemia, extreme fatigue, irritability, hyperactivity, depression and antisocial behavior, poor school performance. Dr. H. J. Roberts and Dr. Russell Blaylock . Aspartame What you don’t know can hurt you.

Propalyne and Polyprobalyne Glycol: GRAS (generally regarded as safe) term, so it doesn’t necessarily have to be listed on labels. Used in baked goods as a stabilizer, to dissolve colors and flavors that won’t otherwise dissolve on their own, in ice cream to keep it soft, as a plane de-icer and antifreeze.

Effects: allergies/immunotoxicity, neurotoxicity and endocrine disruption

Alternatives: make your own ice cream, buy freshly made products with short shelf lives, shop at the farmer’s market, avoid food colors and buy organic products.

Tips: Stick to foods you prepare yourself or that have 5 ingredients or less.

For More Research on this Subject:


American Academy of Pediatrics ADHD and Food Additives Revisited

Holistic Health Coach, Kelley Suggs



I’m a married mother of 3. Who loves living in Minnesota, prep ahead cooking, and couldn’t live without them now. No more worries about the age old question “What’s for Dinner?”. I am also transitioning my family into the slow food and clean eating movement. I believe it’s best if we can eat food in it’s most natural state. I love to share the information I have been gaining through this whole experience. I’m also a trained personal chef. Cooking is a passion and hobby of mine. Hope your are enjoying the content of my blog.

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