Food Additives Finally Recognized as Causing Hyperactivity


A study published in September 2007 issue of The Lancet “Food additives and hyperactive behaviour in 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children in the community: a randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial,” conducted by Donna McCann and her team in the UK, has received further acknowledgment. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has recognized that dietary intervention is a valid treatment for children with ADHD by stating in the February 2008 issue of their publication, AAP Grand Rounds. “Despite increasing data supporting the efficacy of stimulants in preschoolers with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), parents and providers understandably seek safe and effective interventions that require no prescription. A recent meta-analysis of 15 trials concludes that there is “accumulating evidence that neurobehavioral toxicity may characterize a variety of widely distributed chemicals.” Some children may be more sensitive to the effects of these chemicals, and the authors suggest there is a need to better identify responders. In real life, practitioners faced with hyperactive preschoolers have a reasonable option to offer parents. For the child without a medical, emotional, or environmental etiology of ADHD behaviors, a trial of a preservative-free, food coloring–free diet is a reasonable intervention.” It is a victory for parents and practitioners everywhere who have been very frustrated at the medical community’s ignorance of the effects of these artificial additives.  In the editor’s note, it’s stated, “Although quite complicated, this was a carefully conducted study in which the investigators went to great lengths to eliminate bias and to rigorously measure outcomes.  In each case increased hyperactive behaviors were associated with the food additive drink in virtually every assessment.  Thus, the overall finding of the study are clear and require even we skeptics, who have long doubted parental claims of the effects of various foods on the behavior of their children, admit we might have been wrong.”

Julie Matthews is a Certified Nutrition Consultant who received her master’s degree in medical nutrition with distinction from Arizona State University. She is also a published nutrition researcher and has specialized in complex neurological conditions, particularly autism spectrum disorders and ADHD for over 20 years. Julie is the award winning author of Nourishing Hope for Autism, co-author of a study proving the efficacy of nutrition and dietary intervention for autism published in the peer-reviewed journal, Nutrients, and also the founder of Download her free guide, 12 Nutrition Steps to Better Health, Learning, and Behavior.