It's been almost 2 years since we adopted a diet strategy to address Special K's emotional meltdowns. Current research claims the evidence that food dyes and additives contribute to behavioral problems in children is anecdotal, and I suppose for us that would certainly be true, but we really do believe eliminating certain things from her diet has really helped. She occasionally mentions that she doesn't even miss some of her verboten foods. Apparently after eating some off limits foods she would feel "weird".
You may read stories of children, now adults, claiming to have been "victimized" by the Feingold diet. Special K doesn't feel that way. It really has not been that difficult. We've had a fairly easy time finding suitable substitutes for the foods she loved, but should not eat now. We've even found natural food dye and colored sugars and sprinkles that she can use to decorate cookies, cupcakes, and cakes.
You may also read thoughts from mental health professionals pointing out that if we link behavior to diet it undermines children's self esteem by giving them the idea they are unhealthy and fragile or by creating embarrassing situations in which their restricted diet may appear strange by other children. For us, neither situation has been true. Special K's self esteem has actually improved. She knows certain foods make it very difficult for her to control her emotions. If she stays away from them, she has better control and in return she feels better about herself. It's actually important enough to her that she self monitors her diet and chooses to avoid "bad" foods even when I'm not there to help her make that determination. As for feeling embarrassment around other children, she hasn't had that experience because the vast majority of our friends cook all natural and are even more strict when it comes to diet with their own children.
I truly hope the FDA does fair and thorough research on the effects of food dyes on behavior. It will be interesting to see what they really find.