You hear me talk a lot about food additives, colors, and preservatives in our foods. Not only are these tearing our health down, but did you know that these can be causing our kids to be hyperactive as well? Temper tantrums and disruptive behavior could also be attributed to what’s in their food. As a parent, we want our kids to be at their best, be liked by their friends and teachers, and to succeed in various social environments.
A Government-funded study in England confirms what many parents have long suspected about the effect of chemicals put into sweets, biscuits and foods. Colorings in products such as sodas, fruit snacks, and chips could spark behavior changes in up to a quarter of toddlers.
Research into a group of three year-olds found they were more inclined to lack concentration, lose their temper, interrupt others and struggle to get to sleep when they drank fruit juice dosed with colorings and preservatives.
Following the study, food watchdog The Food Commission has found that 200 children’s foods and drinks contain one or more of the additives called into question by the research.
The Commission is calling for the additives to be removed from the everyday foods and drinks which appeal to children in England. We can hope the US will soon follow their example. Even children with no history of hyperactivity can be affected, said the scientists. They concluded that all children could benefit from the removal of specified artificial food colorings from their diet.
A group of 227 three-year olds from the Isle of Wight took part in a month long project by the UK Asthma and Allergy Research Center. For two weeks the children drank a daily fruit juice dosed with 20mg of artificial colorings and 45mg of preservative, which are either equal to or below permitted levels. The additives tested were the artificial food colorings Tartrazine E102, Sunset Yellow E110, Carmoisine E122, Ponceau 4R E124, and the preservative Sodium Benzoate E211. All five were given at the same time in a single drink.
For the other two weeks the children drank a fruit juice which was identical in appearance but without the additives. Parents filled in reports assessing their child’s behavior on criteria such as interrupting, fiddling with objects, disturbing others, difficulty settling down to sleep, concentration and temper tantrums. The report said the results showed the artificial food colorings and sodium benzoate preservative had ‘substantial effects’ on behavior.
The scientists concluded that significant changes in children’s hyperactive behavior could be produced by removing colorings and additives from their diet. They added: ‘The findings suggest that benefit would accrue for all children from such a change – and not just for those already showing hyperactive behavior or who are at risk of allergic reactions.’
More than 3,000 food additives — preservatives, flavorings, colors and other ingredients — are added to foods in the United States. While each of these substances are legal to use, whether or not they are entirely safe for long-term consumption — by themselves or in combination — is a different story altogether.
Could merely changing what they snack on solve their behavior issues? It’s simple. Look out for some of these ingredients.
Which Additives Do We Need To Look Out For?
1. Sodium Nitrate (also called Sodium Nitrite)
2. BHA and BHT
3. Propyl Gallate
4. Trans Fats
8. Food Colorings (Blue 1, 2, Red 3, Red 40, Green 3, Yellow 6)
9. Potassium Bromate
10. Sodium Benzoate
The list above if from Dr. Mercola. He states that these are all linked to cancers. Please understand that these additives are in countless products from baked goods and chewing gum to chicken soup base, cereal, luncheon meats, vegetable oils and potato chips. If you eat a highly processed food diet, you are therefore potentially exposing yourself to cancer-causing toxins at every meal!
Not only are behavior issues a possibility, but look out for rashes, headaches, bed wetting, stomach aches, constipation or asthma. Parents of asthmatic children are usually unaware that sulphite preservatives (220-228) in foods such as dried fruits, sausages, cordials and some fruit drinks can irritate airways.
For years we blame sugar for making our kids hyper, but with this study, we need to take a closer look into the colorings and preservatives in our foods. Do your own study with your kids. After feeding them something you know has one of the above ingredients, watch them closely. It’s amazing how many of our parenting dilemmas could be solved by simply being aware of what is in their snacks.
What can you do?
Check labels…If you can’t pronounce it, don’t buy it.
Cut back on processed foods!
Get creative in the kitchen with your kids!