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Saturday, February 4, 2012

How Food Dyes Effect Child Behavior and How to Manage It?

Do you know that food color or dyes are resposible for hyperactivity, ADD/ADHD and related behavioural problems?These dyes—petrochemicals, mostly—are often used to simulate the presence of healthy, colorful fruits and vegetables. Artificial colors or food dyes make the presentation attractive but these preservatives or food colours are not safe for children. Our children are addicted to chocolates, candies and similar stuff which may cause disruptive behaviour, restlessness and lack of concentration.

Children with (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder )ADHD often have strong sugar cravings, and this has contributed to the belief that sugar and candy consumption can cause hyperactive behavior. Ingredients in nonchocolate candy (sugar, artificial food colors), components in chocolate candy (sugar, artificial food colors in coatings, caffeine), and chocolate itself have been investigated for any adverse effects on behavior. New research has shown that commonly used food dyes, such as Yellow 5, Red 40, and six others, are linked to hyperactivity, impulsivity, learning difficulties, and Attention Deficity Hyperactivity Disorder in many children. The Center for Science in the Public Interest has petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to ban the use of these dyes, many of which are already being phased out in Europe.

Hyperactivity is a general term used to describe behavioural difficulties affecting learning, memory, movement, language, emotional responses and sleep patterns. ADHD is more than just hyperactive behaviour. Research funded by the FSA has suggested that consumption of mixes of certain artificial food colours and the preservative sodium benzoate could be linked to increased hyperactivity in some children.

How to manage it?
If your child shows signs of hyperactivity, or if on the basis of this information you have concerns, you might choose to avoid giving your child food and drinks containing the following artificial colours:
  • sunset yellow FCF (E110)                                                                      
  • quinoline yellow (E104)
  • carmoisine (E122)
  • allura red (E129)
  • tartrazine (E102)
  • ponceau 4R (E124)
These colours are used in a wide range of foods that tend to be brightly coloured, including some soft drinks, sweets, cakes and ice cream. Parents may wish to check the labels of brightly coloured foods if they want to avoid certain colours.

For details: FSA advice to parents on food colours and hyperactivity

Useful links:

* Download FREE 20 page PDF report:  "A Parent's Guide to Diet,ADHD & Behaviour"

Food colours are linked with hyperactivity of your child

Foods containing artificial food dyes must have warning label in Europe

Hyperactivity: The Food Additives Argument

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