Our regular readers, and any parent struggling to cope with a child who suffers from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), will know just how far off the mark health officials are who insist that artificial food colourings pose absolutely no danger to children’s health.
Ignoring the facts
Earlier this year, an American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) food advisory committee decided that no written warnings are needed on products that contain artificial food colourings… However, they do go so far as to admit that food additives and synthetic food colourings may worsen ADHD in “certain susceptible children”. They added that these behavioural problems “appear to be due to a unique intolerance to these substances and not to any inherent neurotoxic properties.”
Here’s how I understand what they’ve said: We know this stuff can cause harm, but we’re not going to label food products to tell you it’s in there, because the real problem lies with the children and not the products!
What kind of a crooked and skewed message is that!
ADHD: Falling on deaf ears
The truth is, this “unique intolerance” is actually very common!
A recent Norwegian study, led by Dr Lidy Pelsser, found that more than 60 per cent of children diagnosed with ADHD were actually experiencing a hypersensitivity to certain processed foods. The researchers found that a 5-week food elimination diet, which determined which foods were causing the problem, produced astounding results… which were then published in The Lancet. After following the diet, all the children suffering from ADHD were behaving normally.
A 2007 study, conducted by the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA), found that the consumption of foods containing dyes could increase ADHD behaviour in children. In the study of 3-8-and 9-year-olds, children were given three different types of beverages to drink. Then their behaviour was evaluated by teachers and parents.
One of the drinks contained artificial food colourings, including sunset yellow, carmoisine, tartrazine and ponceau. The second drink contained quinoline yellow, allura red, sunset yellow and carmoisine. The third drink was a placebo and contained no additives.
The researchers found that hyperactive behaviour in the 8 and 9-year-olds increased with both the drinks containing artificial colouring additives. The hyperactive behaviour of 3-year-olds increased with the first beverage but not necessarily with the second. They concluded that the results show an adverse effect on behaviour after consumption of the food dyes.
Of course, this is not the first research that’s been done on the effects of additives and children’s behavioural problems.
Fifty years ago, paediatrician Dr. Benjamin Feingold began research that eventually revealed a strong link between food additives (colourings, flavours, etc.) and behavioural problems in certain children and adults. However, as expected, Dr. Feingold has been belittled by the mainstream for decades and judging by the FDA’s half-hearted admittance, the mainstream is not likely to change their minds any time soon.
Of course, food manufacturers are very happy with the FDA’s decision, which is why the Grocery Manufacturers Association recently came out with this statement: “All of the major safety bodies globally have reviewed the available science and have determined that there is no demonstrable link between artificial food colours and hyperactivity among children.”… I can’t help but wonder where they got their facts from?
Perhaps if the FDA would wake up and force manufactures to label this poison for what it really is – diluted industrial dyes – a lot less people would actually buy these products.
Once again, consumers are left to read between the lines to find the true warnings.
I can only shake my head in disbelief.
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Background Document for the Food Advisory Committee: Certified Color Additives in Food and Possible Association with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Children, FDA, March 30-31 2011, fda.org
F.D.A. Panel to Consider Warnings for Artificial Food Colourings, Gardiner Harris, New York Times, 3/29/11,nytimes.com
Artificial Dye Safe to Eat, Panel Says, Gardiner Harris, New York Times, 3/31/11, nytimes.com
Food colouring linked to ADHD? Ditch those gummy bears, published online 30/03/1, cbsnews.com
Food Dye and ADHD, published online, webmd.com
Food Colouring Confirmed Bad for Children, published online, i-sis.org.uk
Potential relief factors for restless legs syndrome? Sleep Medicine, Vol. 14, No.4, April 2011, sleep-journal.com