LEAN GREEN CAFE:
A MENU FOR OPTIMAL HEALTH
• RESEARCH AND RESOURCES
•RECIPES AND REFERRALS
• Social Worker, Cancer Survivor
Thursday, April 15, 2010
ADHD: Hyperactivity findings.
Here is an article on ADHD by Dr. Stephen Chaney on the drug side effects, and the causes of Hyperactivity....
Each year between 3 and 10% of school aged children
hare diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity
disorder (ADHD), also known as hyperactivity.
Most of these children are currently being treated with
And these drugs have side effects - ranging from
relatively minor (loss of appetite, weight loss,
insomnia and mood swings) to major (suicidal thoughts,
psychotic behavior and drug abuse).
So it is only natural for parents to ask whether there
is a more natural approach that they could follow and,
more specifically, whether diet could make a
To answer that question lets start by looking at just
one aspects of children's diets - the increasing
prevalence of artificial food colors and preservatives
in the diet.
The average child today is consuming over 10 pounds of
food additives every year!
The idea that food additives - specifically artificial
colors and preservatives - might be responsible for
hyperactivity was first raised by Dr. Ben Feingold over
30 years ago. He devised the Feingold Diet - a diet
that was free of artificial food colors, preservatives
and other artificial food additives.
Some small scale clinical studies suggested that the
diet might be successful and millions of parents used
the diet for their hyperactive children with great
But the medical authorities pooh-poohed the Feingold
Diet. They pointed out that when parents are putting
their child on a special diet they are also giving that
child more attention - and it might be the parent's
increased attention that decreased the child's
They also pointed out when you eliminate food additives
from the diet you are decreasing the "junk" food and
increasing fresh fruits and vegetables - in short the
child's diet is much healthier.
So eventually the Feingold Diet lost popularity - but
the idea that artificial food colors & preservatives
might trigger hyperactivity has refused to go away.
In fact, a couple of recent studies have substantially
strengthened the link between artificial ingredients
The first study was a meta-analysis of 15 previous
studies looking at the effect of artificial food colors
and preservatives on hyperactivity (Journal of
Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, 25: 423-434,
This meta-analysis concluded that artificial food
colors & preservatives caused an increase in
hyperactivity in 28% of the children tested.
Almost all of the children in those previous studies
were selected for the study because they had been
diagnosed as hyperactive (ADHD).
However, a more recent study looked at 297 children
from Southampton England who had not been diagnosed as
hyperactive (Lancet, 370: 1560-1567, 2007).
After an 8 week elimination phase in which artificial
food colors and preservatives were removed from their
diets, they were given a one week challenge consisting
of fruit juice containing one of two different mixtures
of four artificial food colors and the preservative
sodium benzoate or a placebo.
The amount of artificial food colors and sodium
in the fruit juice drinks was designed to match the
average amount found in the English diet (which isn't
all that different from the American diet).
Once again, the results were clear. The amount of
artificial food colors and preservatives found in the
typical child's diet is enough to trigger hyperactivity
in many children.
So what does that mean to you if you have a hyperactive
Could the simple act of eliminating artificial colors,
flavors & preservatives from your child's diet
eliminate hyperactivity and give you back that calm,
sweet child that you love?
The available data suggest that removing artificial
food additives from your child's diet can make a
difference in their behavior, but I tend to side with
experts who suggest that a holistic approach is best.
Eliminating food additives from your child's diet is
important, but also make sure the diet is a healthy
one, that your child is getting all of the nutrients
that they need and that they are getting all of the
attention and support that they need.