An (Unplanned) Artificial Color Experiment

An (Unplanned) Artificial Color Experiment 4

It's no secret that junk food manufacturers love using festive packaging and neon colors to appeal to kids and adults alike. The artificial color secret is simple: If it looks good, we think it tastes good, too. But on a recent trip to the ice cream store, I saw firsthand how incredibly effective the misleading appeal of artificial colors can be.

It was as if a behavioral experiment had fallen right into my lap.

My 2 year-old going crazy over the bright colored toppings. Her hands were moving so 

quickly from one topping to the next, hence the blurry image.

It all happened when my 2-year-old daughter and I were picking up an ice cream cake for my husband's birthday. The minute we entered the ice cream shop my daughter set her sights on the toppings bar filled with brightly colored gumballs, sprinkles, and gummy bears. Nothing would stop her, it was like an addict begging for more junk food-except these are foods she's never had before. My daughter was almost magnetically drawn to the bright colors. All the scary toppings to choose from.

The unplanned experiment proves what marketers already know: both kids and adults eat with their eyes first.

Kids are the most vulnerable and innocent portion of the population because they don't have any idea how these foods will impact them. While writing Label Lessons and Unjunk Your Junk Food, we did a huge amount of research on the artificial colors that make conventional gum balls, gummy bears, sprinkles, and shelled chocolate candies so appealing to kids. Many of the most dressed up junk foods also include additives listed in the Scary Seven. These dangerous ingredients like artificial colors and flavors are linked to allergies, sinus congestion, hyperactivity, and worsened symptoms of ADD and ADHD.

I'm not unrealistic-kids love ice cream. But I avoid artificially colored flavors and toppings because they make my kids go crazy. If we go out to get ice cream, I'll often bring a little baggy of organic dark chocolate chips or sprinkles along. If I don't bring my own, I ask my kids to choose cleaner toppings like chocolate or fruit.

Read more:  7 Scary Food Additives to Avoid

Chocolate and vanilla ice creams are usually the safest flavors because they're free of most chemical additives, especially compared to brightly colored, artificial color mainstays at most ice cream stores (my nemeses: bubble gum and mint chip flavored ice cream because they are loaded with nasty food coloring). My 2 year-old with her hands on the bubble gum topping. She has never even tried a piece of

bubble gum!

The majority of the time I will buy my own ice cream at the health foods store so I have more control over what my kids eat. For my kids I buy organic ice cream with no artificial colors, flavors, hormones, antibiotics, or pesticides and for myself I'll opt for non-dairy coconut ice cream (it's my favorite!). This way I can keep the Scary Seven out of my family's ice cream experience.

Editor's Note: If you want to eliminate unhealthy ingredients and chemical additives from your diet for good, click here to sign up for a Naturally Savvy Get Healthy Challenge.]

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Andrea Donsky, B. COMM is an international TV Health Expert, Best Selling Author, Nutritionist Podcast Host, and Founder of—a recipient of Healthline’s Best Healthy Living Blogs for 2019. As a pioneer and visionary in the health food industry, Andrea’s passion is to inspire people to make healthier choices. Andrea has combined her background and expertise as both a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and an entrepreneur ("She Boss!") to educate the public on living a healthy lifestyle through the creation of her businesses, books, articles, podcasts, videos, talks, and TV and radio media appearances. Andrea founded Naturally Savvy Media Inc. in 2007 in order to share her passion for healthy living, and love for natural products and companies. Among her numerous publications, Andrea co-authored Unjunk your Junk Food published by Simon and Schuster, a book that journalist, author and mother Maria Shriver endorsed: “Unjunk Your Junk Food has certainly made me more aware about the food that my children eat and the effects it has on our body and mind."</P. Andrea also co-authored two e-books entitled Label Lessons: Your Guide To A Healthy Shopping Cart, and Label Lessons: Unjunk Your Kid’s Lunch Box.