Government warns parents of food-colouring danger
Chemicals: bad for kids
Parents are being warned of a link between disruptive behaviour and hyperactivity in children and certain food additives.
Research conducted by the Food Standards Agency established that children behave impulsively, and lost concentration after drinking a cocktail of additives and preservatives. Some 300 children were involved in the study, which was carried out at the University of Southampton.
The children, aged from three to nine years, were given a drink containing four artificial colours (sunset yellow (E110), quinoline yellow (E104), carmoisine (E122), allura red (E129)) and the preservative sodium benzoate (E211). The mix was designed to reflect the composition and quantity of additives a child was likely to consume in a typical day.
They were also given another mix, identical to that in a previous study. This contained E102 (tartrazine) and E124 (Ponceau 4R), as well as sunset yellow, carmoisine and sodium benzoate. There was also a placebo, containing no additives at all.
After the drink, some, but not all of the children showed signs of hyperactivity. The response was not limited to those participants already identified as being hyperactive.
The researchers said that based on the two mixes the children consumed, they couldn't specify which of the chemicals was the trigger for deteriorating behaviour. But as sodium benzoate was in both mixes, and the results were inconsistent, it was likely to be one of the food colourings.
Dr Andrew Wadge, the FSA's chief scientist, said: "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."
There are many other factors thought to contribute to hyperactivity, and the researchers stressed that there was no suggestion that eliminating additives will be a panacea for the disorder.
The agency has also passed its findings onto its European counterparts, the European Food Safety Authority, which will now decide whether or not to update European safety guidelines.
But critics say the government has not gone far enough. Professor Jim Stevenson, who headed the Southampton study, told The Guardian that his personal view was that the government could easily take a tougher stance, and ban the chemicals used in the study.
Meanwhile, the Hyperactive Children's Support Group told the paper that while it welcomed confirmation of the link, it questioned the practicality of the advice. Is it practical, it asked, to expect parents to interrogate schools about their meals, or friends about the contents of party bags?
Others advise caution in extrapolating from such a small study to the wider population.
You can read more on the research here. The work is published in The Lancet. ®
Chemicals: bad for kids
says it all. What do you think happens when you eat or drink chemicals?
Also, I don't care what happens to me because of aspartame. Yum! Diet Coke!
research dept finds 20 year old paper and decides to release it!!!!!!
i have known this for years, E numbers in diet = horrible kids (and a few adults)
as to robinsons not making any drinks without aspartame i suggest the gent looks at their HI-JUICE range it is the only one i have found with only a few preservatives in (no artificial colours or flavourings)
i take kids camping with scouts and we see a difference in about 2 days but the minute they top up on sweets and E numbers you have less than 30 minutes before mayhem breaks out again
this E number thing is so old hat, how many super markets now openly advertise on their own brand sweet "no artificial colours or addatives". they see it as marketing because so many parents have been actively looking for such sweets for so long they have responded to market demand and due to demand once they were on sale the range of goods with no e numbers etc has increased
Jelly Beans Get Me Zonkered
Sure you would think its just the sugar, but buy a pack of jelly beans and gobble about half of them.
Purists may wish to try all red or all green.
The buzz is unmistakable, but please don't be telling any parents, the doctors prefer that you spend thousdands "treating" these effects, instead of simply removing chemical dyes from their diet.
The hangover is a bitch too.