Food Additives Linked To Hyperactivity
Most parents have been aware of this for a while, but recent research by the Food Standards Authority suggests more strongly than ever that there could be a link between certain food additives and hyperactivity.
The study of 300 children could only say that "We have revised our advice to consumers: if a child shows signs of hyperactivity or ADHD then eliminating the colours used in the... study from their diet might have some beneficial effects." The FSA's Chief Scientist also said that there were many factors associated with hyperactivity including genes, being born prematurely, environment and upbringing. More boys than girls are diagnosed with the condition, and children with ADHD can struggle academically, often behaving poorly in school.
The test itself looked at the effects of certain food colourings on a group of three-year-olds and a group of eight and nine-year-olds. The children involved were randomly given one of three drinks, one of which contained a high level of colourings and additives, one which roughly matched the average daily additive intake of a child of their age, or a drink which contained no additives or colourings at all.
The testers' hyperactivity levels were measured before and after the drink was taken. As you'd expect the drink with the very high levels of additives, had what researchers called 'a significantly adverse' effect when compared with the drink with no additives at all.
A spokesperson for the Food and Drink Federation said that the test didn't represent how additives and colourings were used in food, while Dr Paul Illing, of the Royal Society of Chemistry told the BBC he thought the small number of testers made the validity of the test difficult to establish.
Which Additives?Sunset yellow (E110) - Colouring found in squashes
Carmoisine (E122) - Red colouring in jellies
Tartrazine (E102) - New colouring in lollies, fizzy drinks
Ponceau 4R (E124) - Red colouring
Sodium benzoate (E211) - Preservative
Quinoline yellow (E110) - Food colouring
Allura red AC (E129) - Orange / red food dye