Artificial flavors are getting the axe. Dr. Jim Stevenson and his team of researchers from the University of Southampton, U.K., just published the results of their study in the September issue of the Lancet. “Food additives and hyperactive behavior in 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children in the community.” Stevenson and his team tested 297 children in a double-blind-placebo-control study. Each child was given a drink with artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. Then their parents and teachers subsequently rated their behaviors. The juice “cocktails” consisted of popular azo dyes and sodium benzoate. The researchers used a global hyperactivity aggregate to measure the outcomes.
Results of the Artificial Flavors, Colors, and Preservatives Study
Older children were also given a computer exam to test their ability to attend to tasks. The researchers determined that artificial flavors colors and/or sodium benzoate increased levels of hyperactivity in preschool aged and 8-9 year old children within the general population. The results of the study prove that artificial flavors, colors and preservatives are harmful to all children in general. Why? The study shows that all children who consume artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives exhibit behavioral changes.
Products on the market are loaded with these artificial ingredients. It is common to find sodium benzoate in your child’s cold medicine. And artificial colors are also found in common cold, allergy, and flu tablets bought through prescription and over the counter. Look for manufacturers that will, in the future, start producing products without artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. If we know these ingredients are not healthy for our children to consume, then we should make a conscious effort to avoid them.
If You are Afraid Your Child has ADHD
The idea that artificial flavors, colors and preservatives make kids hyper shouldn’t come to a surprise for most mothers. On a long ride home from a holiday party most will agree that it takes a lot of patience to deal with little kids filled up with colored frosting from a birthday cake, Twinkies, boxes of sugar-laden artificial juice drinks, and bags of chewy, artificially colored gummy candies.
“These findings show that adverse effects are not just seen in children with extreme hyperactivity (ie, ADHD),” the report states, “but can also be seen in the general population and across the range of severities of hyperactivity. Our results are consistent with those from previous studies and extend the findings to show significant effects in the general population” [Lancet,7].
The implications of this research on artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives are huge. This report should send a wake-up call to the entire pharmaceutical-driven medical community that is quick to drug children suffering from chemical sensitivities that affect behavior. And it should also tell manufacturers of over the counter drugs that safe alternatives without artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives are needed.
Stevenson’s report concludes: “We have found an adverse effect of food additives on the hyperactive behaviour of 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children. Although the use of artificial colouring in food manufacture might seem superfluous, the same cannot be said for sodium benzoate, which has an important preservative function. The implications of these results for the regulation of food additive use could be substantial” [Lancet,7].
This artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives report has given credence to the work that the Daily Mail has been doing in the U.K. They are trying to remove artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives from kid’s candies. Several major supermarkets in Britain have pledged to get rid of the dyes in their “in-house” products.
A spokesman for Haribo [info [at] uk.haribo.com] claims that,
“By the end of 2007 all of our bagged gums and jellies will be clear of all artificial colours.”
Asda, a U.K. retail giant that is part of the Walmart Family, claims it will eliminate artificial additives from its 9,000 own-label food and soft drinks by the end of the year.
Judith Batchelar of Sainsbury’s said:
“I’m very proud that Sainsbury’s is the first major food retailer to remove artificial colouring, flavour enhancers and benzoate preservatives from virtually all our own-brand food and soft drinks. We’re proud to be at the forefront of this and are happy to support the Mail’s campaign.”
Mars and Cadbury have also announced plans to remove artificial coloring from their candy in Britain.
The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends dietary changes for children suffering from symptoms of ADHD (ADHD and Food Additives Revisited).
Artificial Flavors, Colors and Preservatives Update:
Just wanted to add a link to a Nov. 13, 2008 article from the Daily Mail.
“Ministers have backed a ban on six food additives linked to hyperactivity in children.
The decision follows a call from the Food Standards Agency earlier this year for the food industry voluntarily to remove the chemicals.
The news is a major breakthrough for the Daily Mail’s ‘Ban the Additives’ campaign.
It follows research that found children became hyperactive when fed a cocktail of additives used in hundreds of products.”
Now if only the U.S. would follow suit!