No doubt about it – our food system is horrendously compromised. Between GMO (genetically modified foods), pesticides, and sewage sludge fertilizer, a lot of the foods we eat have a host of negative effects on our physical and mental health. Food additives, in particular, artificial colorings and preservatives, have a detrimental effect on the mental health of children. Dr. Kenneth Bock, author of Flourishing with Food Allergies, found that food additives can effect children’s focus and concentration; along with making them easily distracted and significantly more impulsive.
Numerous scientists, doctors, and nutritionists have found that there is a significant link between food additives and exacerbation or onset of ADD/ADHD behavior. In fact, exposure to these chemicals among others has been shown to effect the brain development of children in the womb. A recent comprehensive study conducted by the University of Southampton has solidified this connection. Corn syrup sweeteners are harmful enough, but when combined with a plethora of food dyes and food flavors= children suffering with ADD or ADHD don’t really stand a chance. Even children that don’t suffer from hyperactivity exhibit ADD/ADHD behaviors when they ingest these substances.
There are thousands of additives present in our food – artificial colors and flavors are added to make food look more attractive and appeal to our taste buds in a scientific bid to make us crave more. These chemicals could easily be replaced by less harmful substances; instead, a number of food companies, enabled by less than stringent restrictions by the FDA, have made the conscious decision to continue to use additives known to cause harm to those that ingest them.
Some of the most harmful culprits are sodium benzoate, a common preservative and artificial colors including, Blue #2, Yellow#5, Yellow#6 and FD&C yellow and red. The best way for parents to guard against their children’s intake of these ingredients is to become avid label readers. Food dyes are found in a surprisingly large number of foods including salad dressings, snacks, cereals, juice drinks, baking mixes, and even canned fruits and vegetables. Also, as much as possible avoid brightly colored, high sugar, and processed foods.
A number of highly prescribed drugs, used to treat ADD/ADHD in children have been tied to significant long-term problems including slowing of brain development, behavioral problems, and even heart related issues. Parents of children that have been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD should consider significant dietary changes as well as a variety of natural and homeopathic supplements offered by natural practitioners.