motivation behind creating this site was a recent discovery
that I've got an intolerance for Red Dye #40.
After developing rather debilitating symptoms
of unpredictable cramping, nausea and diarrhea, I put myself
in the hands of my HMO for a diagnosis. After two years and
many invasive and uncomfortable tests, I was told that I had
Irritable Bowel Syndrome. (I used to joke that in my case
it would be more accurate to call it "Explosive"
Bowel Syndrome...) In doing some research it became apparent
that a diagnosis of IBS is a mostly a catch-all that means
"we can't find anything else" While it was good
that I didn't have Crohn's Disease, Diverticulitis, Bowel
Cancer or Appendicitis, the diagnosis did absolutely nothing
to alleviate my symptoms.
Due to the unpredictable nature of the condition,
traveling was difficult (imagine the discomfort of a three
hour car trip), making plans for any date in the future was
problematic and my desire to socialize was low. All I knew
was that I had good periods and bad periods and there was
nothing to do but find ways to structure my life around the
unpredictability of the situation.
One recent summer I was working outside and
to re-hydrate I drank a quart of red sport drink. Within a
half hour I was doubled over in cramps and it started me wondering
if perhaps red dye might be the cause. Eliminating all of
the obviously red foods was simple to accomplish and the situation
improved considerably. I went from having two or three "explosive"
episodes per week to perhaps one every few months. While considerable
progress was made, there were occasional setbacks.
Last year, I received a Marie Callender's
"Chocolate Silk" pie for my birthday. It's a dark
(nearly black) chocolate pie and very, very tasty. Approximately
a half hour after eating a healthy slice, I was once again
overcome with terrible cramps and explosive diarrhea. It was
at that point that I learned that Red40 was used in foods
that didn't even appear red, such as making low quality chocolate
appear darker and richer. A call to the corporate headquarters
of Marie Callender's was fruitless - one customer representative
claimed to be unable to obtain the information and another
promised to call back the next day but was never heard from
again. It was at that point that I resolved to start a website
to help people learn about how common Red40 is and where it
can be found in our food supply.
As much as I'm disappointed that I can't
eat M&M's (at least the red, brown, dark brown or orange
ones), Red Vines or Dark Cherry Jello (that one really hurts)
in no way do I think Red Dye #40 should be removed from products.
I understand that I'm part of a very small minority who have
an intolerance for the chemical. As long as the FDA requires
thorough labeling of all foods, drugs and cosmetics then we
will have the opportunity to read the packaging and decide
for ourselves whether a product should be eaten.
All in all, I'd rather eat