Date Approved


Date Posted


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department or School

Health Sciences

Committee Member

Anahita Mistry, PhD, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Judi Brooks, PhD RD


Children with developing nervous systems might be at greater risk for any potential neurobehavioral effects of color additives widespread in many foods. This study thus examined whether children consumed foods containing color additives more frequently than adults. Twenty-one adults (aged 18-60) and parents of 14 children (aged 4-7) with regular eating patterns kept detailed food records for five days. Diets were analyzed for foods containing the dyes Red #3, Red #40, Yellow #5, Yellow #6, Blue #1, Blue #2 and Green #3 by comparing ingredient labels found in grocery stores and online. The number of daily dye exposures was significantly (P<0.001) greater for children (2.43 ± 0.35 exposures) than for adults (0.76 ± 0.15 exposures). Fruit and vegetable consumption was inversely correlated (- 0.63) to the number of dye exposures per day in children but not in adults (0.18). Children habitually consume more brightly colored foods with additives in lieu of nutrient dense foods.