Well this is some interesting news. The Lancet has recently published an article by British scientists entitled, ” Food additives and hyperactive behaviour in 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children in the community: a randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial.” They did this to to test whether intake of artificial food color and additives (AFCA) affected childhood behavior.
Guess what? It does.
Here is their method:
153 3-year-old and 144 8/9-year-old children were included in the study. The challenge drink contained sodium benzoate and one of two AFCA mixes (A or B) or a placebo mix. The main outcome measure was a global hyperactivity aggregate (GHA), based on aggregated z-scores of observed behaviours and ratings by teachers and parents, plus, for 8/9-year-old children, a computerised test of attention.
Here are their results:
16 3-year-old children and 14 8/9-year-old children did not complete the study, for reasons unrelated to childhood behaviour. Mix A had a significantly adverse effect compared with placebo in GHA for all 3-year-old children but not mix B versus placebo. This result persisted when analysis was restricted to 3-year-old children who consumed more than 85% of juice and had no missing data. 8/9-year-old children showed a significantly adverse effect when given mix A or mix B when analysis was restricted to those children consuming at least 85% of drinks with no missing data.
Their interpretation of the study:
Artificial colours or a sodium benzoate preservative (or both) in the diet result in increased hyperactivity in 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children in the general population.
So now when a school tells you your child needs to be on Ritalin to attend school due to their hyperactive behavior, you can print out this study and tell them that instead, you will radically change your child’s diet back to one of whole, organic foods filled with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, grains and beans, good oils, clean protein sources and cut out the processed junk foods and soda which contain these chemicals that directly cause the hyperactive behavior the teacher is railing against. A much easier and cheaper fix and your child won’t become zombie like and super skinny from not eating which are the side effects of drugging your elementary school aged child.
I’m not saying don’t ever give your child treats again. I’m saying READ THE INGREDIENTS on everything you give your kids. Chemicals affects them much more than adults.
The best way is to bake your own treats like muffins or cookies using whole grain ingredients and natural sweeteners, incorporate more fruit and nuts and seeds into the foods or even better, just eat plain fruit as a snack.
If you don’t have the time to cook much, buy from stores that only sell products that don’t contain artificial food additives. Even at regular grocery stores, if you look most now carry some of the brands that don’t use these hyperactivity causing additives. One of my favorite companies that not only uses good organic ingredients but also gives all of it’s profits to charities is Newman’s Own Organics. There are many other good brands such as Barbara’s, Mi-Del, Wholly Wholesome, Robert’s, etc. If you look, you will find and with no food additives, either.
The more we buy from the companies that only use the better, safer (and better tasting) ingredients, the more other manufacturers will see the trend and hopefully switch over. Of course the absolute best thing to do is to make it yourself from the best ingredients. You may be surprised, it doesn’t take that long and tastes so much better. Remember to vote with your dollars – companies are always paying attention.