Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Gee, ya think?

Food additives appear to increase hyperactivity.

Allow me to respond to this, bit by bit.

Artificial food colouring and preservatives commonly found in many of the foods children regularly eat appear to lead to increased levels of hyperactivity, finds a study in The Lancet.

Increased levels of hyperactivity? Try causing hyperactivity. Visit a classroom party at an elementary school, resplendent with orange pop and chocolate, and try to convince me that I'm wrong.

The study found that it wasn't just children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) who were affected, but all the children had trouble with inattention, impulsivity, and overactivity.

Not just the previously labelled children. All of the children.

A team led by Jim Stevenson of the University of Southampton in Southampton, UK, had 153 three-year-old children and 144 children aged eight or nine years consume one of three drinks:

Mix A, which contained artificial food colouring;
Mix B, which contained the preservative sodium benzoate and artificial food colouring;
or a placebo drink.

The food colourings used were: tartrazine, sunset yellow, carmoisine, and ponceau. The amounts of the chemicals in each drink were adjusted for each of the two age groups.

Behaviours were measured by a global hyperactivity aggregate (GHA) based on ratings by teachers and parents, plus a computerized test that measured attention spans for the older age group.

The researchers found that, among the three-year-old children, mix A had a significantly adverse effect on hyperactivity compared with placebo in GHA. The effects for mix B were mixed, with greater variability in the response to the active challenges than placebo in this group. Among the eight and nine-year-old children, they showed a significantly adverse effect when given mix A or mix B.

Colour me surprised. /sarcasm

"This study provides evidence of deleterious effects of AFCA on children's behaviour," the authors write, while adding that it remains unclear which specific compounds in their drink mixed were responsible for the behaviour changes. They say that should be further investigated in subsequent studies ... They say further investigation would also need to establish whether the age-related difference noted in their study -- i.e.: the effects of mix A being greater for three-year-old children than for the older children -- can be replicated.

Further investigated? Are you kidding me? What more needs to be discovered?

The researchers note that increased hyperactivity is associated with the development of educational difficulties, especially in relation to reading.

Ya don't say.

Myriad factors came into play when we made the decision to pull our son out of the public school system in order to educate him at home. Nutrition was one of them. For the first four years of William's formal education, my diligent efforts at sending a well rested, well nourished child off to school were regularly negated by the lowest common denominator - ie those other parents who thought that Cheetos were an appropriate snack for 5 year olds. I can confirm this study's findings that artificial food colouring (and Gawd knows what else is found in Cheetos) turn children into wolverines. Yeah, that's it. Wolverines. On steroids. And Cheetos.

Gawd only knows how much more time I would have spent in the Principal's office had I toed the party line and allowed my child to partake in the school breakfast and lunch programmes. Sugar-coated donuts, grape juice, and chocolate milk do not lead to a state of readiness to learn. Breaded, deep fried popcorn shrimp is not an adequate source of protein. Broccoli that is limp and brown no longer confers any nutritional benefit. I have not conjured these examples out of thin air. This is what I observed on a regular basis as a dedicated PTO mommy who volunteered at the school nearly every day.

It begs the question: How many of the children who have been diagnosed with ADHD at the behest of the school system are just acting up because of poor nutrition? What would happen if the cafeteria stopped poisoning their tiny little bodies with all of those food additives? How many of the children who truly do have ADD or ADHD receive diluted interventions and services because there are so many kids in the system with tartrazine-induced craziness?

The afore-linked article alludes to the need for "further research." Bunkum.

Here's all that they need to know:

Stop feeding crap to children. End of discussion.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sharon Roadhouse was complaining about artificial food colouring affecting Matthew's behavior in the early 1980s.