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Originally published September 27 2007
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Ground-Breaking Study Links Food Additives to Hyperactivity in Children

by Adam Miller

(NaturalNews) In a landmark study published in The Lancet, commonly used artificial food colorings and the preservative sodium benzoate have been strongly linked to hyperactivity in children, triggering renewed vigor in the decades-long campaign by activists to ban artificial food additives from food marketed to children.

"We now have clear evidence that mixtures of certain food colours and benzoate preservative can adversely influence the behaviour of children." said Dr. Jim Stevenson, lead author of the study.

The study, performed out of the University of Southampton in the U.K., consisted of 153 three-year-olds and 144 children between the ages of eight and nine. Each child was assigned to one of two groups drinking either juice spiked with a cocktail of artificial additives at levels ordinarily found in sweets, beverages, and other common foods or an unadulterated fruit juice acting as a placebo. 

The additives used included Sunset Yellow (E110), ponceau 4R (E124), carmoisine (E122), tartazine (E102), quinoline yellow (E104), allura red (E129), and the common preservative sodium benzoate.

The participants who would consume the additive-laden beverages were further divided into two subgroups consuming one of two different cocktails -- "A" and "B". The second group ("B") was given about twice the amount of chemicals, approximating a UK child`s average daily intake of food additives.

The children were evaluated using what is referred to as a "global hyperactivity aggregate," based on a computerized test and ratings from teachers and parents in addition to observations made by trained professionals.

After six weeks, Mix A had a significant effect on the behavior of the three year olds although results from Mix B varied. Both mixes had a significant effect on the eight and nine year olds, causing a measurable and cogent increase in hyperactivity. These findings "lend strong support for the case that food additives exacerbate hyperactive behaviors (inattention, impulsivity, and overactivity) in children at least up to middle childhood," wrote the authors.

In the aftermath of the study, various agencies around the world including Britain`s Food Standards Agency (FSA) are warning parents to be mindful of the possible deleterious effects of these type of additives, especially in children exhibiting signs of overactivity. Other agencies are reserving judgement for either a review of scientific merit or for further investigation to be carried out.


About the author

Adam Miller is a student of life who has dedicated literally thousands of hours of personal research on top of formal institutional training in Dietetics to learn the secrets of achieving vibrant health and extended lifespan. His passion and dedication is in bringing the best ideas for self-empowerment through nutrition and nutraceuticals as well as alternative therapies, technology, and information to the public through various means.

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