On Hummingbirds and Red Food Dye

English: Hummingbird hovering at a feeder

English: Hummingbird hovering at a feeder (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A small scene from a visit to my friend’s picturesque home in an Indiana forest:

Me to Dear Childhood Friend:  You have so many hummingbirds at your hummingbird feeders.  They’re beautiful!  And your water is clear rather than red!  I thought they liked red!

Dear Childhood Friend to Me:  Yeah.  They say the red food coloring is bad for them.  So I don’t use it.

My eyes skirted over to the candy dish with red suckers and red hot cinnamon candies on the kitchen counter, and my mind echoed, “Bad for them …bad for them…bad…”

(I quickly looked up red food dye and hummingbirds and found this post which seems fair and this post.)

(You commonly hear about red food dye and an ADHD connection.  I like to read Georgia Ede’s, MD posts because she is meticulous about posting her sources, and uses primary research.  Her post Food Sensitivities and ADHD has a section in it about food dyes.)

Food counts.  Don’t think it doesn’t.

Have a great weekend!


13 thoughts on “On Hummingbirds and Red Food Dye

  1. namelessw0nder

    I have a friend with an allergy to red-dye 40 or something like that. Makes me wonder how much she might benefit from a diet free of all dyes (among other things).

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Me, too (on the wondering). I certainly see that red and blue food dyes have an effect on one of my daughters. She runs around saying, “I feel so hyper! I feel so hyper.” Interesting now that we recognize it and limit the food dyes (and any additives we can). Wasn’t too interesting when she used to slam doors and put holes in walls. I think the body can manage quite a bit, but it has its limits and maybe our food supply is pushing it…

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      We try to avoid them, too. What a huge difference. I just wish we could get more and more moms and families on board! However, I know before my “conversion”, I had to be one of the worst at feeding my kids and their friends. Thanks for stopping by and commenting! I appreciate it!

  2. ginajeri

    I grew up im the era of “drugs are the answer” when it came to ADHD. My grandparenta truseted our family physician and accepted the treatment as prescribed. With my daughter, I am seeking out new answers. If diet helped me ween completely off all my medications, maybe I can avoid her ever needing to take them.

    I hadn’t read about food dye and theor relation to ADHD, but I thankful you shared. I have limited her processed foods somewhat in hopes that can help. I will definitely start looking for more info now! Thank you.

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Thank you for leaving a comment! Over the last year, I’ve really learned that foods can treat the body just like a drug–both beneficially and also with their side effects! My husband and I are both physicians and have really been impressed as we take things out and put them back in to see effects: food colors, certain nuts, dairy, wheat, eggs, etc! We were never taught that foods can cause/contribute to so many nuisance health problems that we just slap a pill onto or say, “Live with it!” Obviously food isn’t everything, but it can be a VERY important part of causing OR curing problems!

  3. Pingback: Homemade Hummingbird Nectar | THE PERFECT GARDEN HOSE

  4. Linda

    Another wonderful post, thank you! The reason that people dye their hummingbird nectar red is because hummingbirds are attracted to the color red. I have a feeder in my back yard, but I don’t use food coloring, I just use a red glass feeder. Thanks again for your informative and inspirational blog, thehomeschoolingdoctor! 🙂


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