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CNN Documentary on Processed Food Industry

In the featured documentary, CNN Money reporter Cristina Alesci goes behind the scenes to investigate “the vast system behind every meal,” looking at how our food system has changed in recent decades, and what it has done to food safety and human health.

Divided into four segments, the video reviews the back-story of how your cereal, salad, fish, and meat is grown, shipped, processed, and adulterated, before it finally reaches your plate.

What’s Really in Your Kid’s Breakfast Cereal?

Cereal has been a breakfast staple for decades, but today’s processed rainbow-colored assortment is a far cry from its more wholesome origin. In recent years, sales have started slipping as parents are getting savvier about the hazards of added sugars and artificial ingredients.  

According to some researchers, children can easily consume 100 mg of artificial color in a day, and as noted in the video, a number of studies have found “small but significant” effects of artificial food dyes on children’s behavior and cognition.

In 1994, researchers found that 73 percent of children with ADHD responded favorably to an elimination diet that included removing artificial colors.1

More than a decade later, a carefully designed, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study2 published in The Lancet concluded that a variety of common food dyes and the preservative sodium benzoate cause some children to become measurably more hyperactive and distractible.

In a 58-page report, "Food Dyes: A Rainbow of Risks,”3 the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) reveals that several of the food dyes approved4 for use in the U.S. are in fact linked to health issues ranging from hyperactivity and allergy-like reactions to cancer.

And these results were from studies conducted by the chemical industry itself! For example:

  Red #No. 40, which is the most widely used dye, may accelerate the appearance of immune system tumors in mice, while also triggering hyperactivity in children.
•  Blue #No. 2, used in candies, beverages, pet foods, and more, was linked to brain tumors.
•  Yellow #No. 5, used in baked goods, candies, cereal, and more, may not only be contaminated with several cancer-causing chemicals, but it's also linked to hyperactivity, hypersensitivity and other behavioral effects in children.

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