Brightly colored M&Ms are surely attention grabbing, but the sponsors of a new petition urging Mars to replace the artificial dyes it uses to make those blues and greens so pretty say the colorings can cause some kids to be hyperactive.
She says her 9-year-old son behaved much better after she removed artificial dyes from his diet years ago. And since Mars has replaced many of its dyes in candies sold overseas, it shouldn’t be hard for the company to switch to natural dyes here.
“So it is [achievable],” she says “but they just haven’t done it here for our kids.”
While there is some research on both sides, there’s no scientific proof that says synthetic food dyes definitely lead to behavioral issues, that but if parents want to remove them they can do so and see if it alleviates problems.
“On the one hand,” Andrew Adesman, chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York told NPR, “I think there’s a growing body of research that shows that artificial food colorings can affect a child’s behavior. On the other hand, these effects are relatively modest.”
That being said, there’s no research to indicate that there are any long-term effects on health from synthetic food dyes, so it’s definitely a matter of personal preference.
Mars said it’s aware of the petition, and that while all the colors used in its products comply with strict internal quality and safety requirements, “we are constantly evaluating and updating ingredients based on consumer preference, new technology and scientific information.”