Irritability, temper outbursts, oppositional defiance, restlessness and difficulty falling asleep are the main behavioral effects of food additives. But parents rarely realize that food chemicals can be associated with many other effects including arguing with siblings, making silly noises, speech delay, anxiety, depression or difficulty concentrating. Additive-free children are generally calmer, happier and more cooperative.
Additives used in hundreds of children’s foods and drinks can cause temper tantrums and disruptive behaviour, researchers have found.Researchers found that children as young as three were more likely to lack concentration, lose their temper, interrupt others and struggle to get to sleep when they drank fruit juice dosed with colorings and preservatives. Food additives like these need to be removed from all foods, but especially the everyday foods and drinks which appeal to, and are marketed to, children. Even youngsters with no history of hyperactivity can be affected.
Contrary to what many parents think, additives – more importantly than just sugar – are to blame for behavior problems. Reactions are related to dose, so the more additives children eat, the more likely they are to be affected. Related links: Do You Need to Eat More Fat? Here’s Your Sign!
Which Additives Do We Need To Look Out For?
Learn more about Food Dyes in the report published by CSPI: Rainbow of Risks which discusses risks of cancer, genetic damage, and allergic reactions due to dyes.
Use IATP’s Brain Food Selector to find the dyes in your child’s (and your) favorite foods.
See IATP’s Smart Guide to Food Dyes for more information on health concerns for children from food dyes.
Here are some of the food additives that you should be concerned with:
(in sweets, drinks, takeaways, cereals and many processed foods)
102 tartrazine, 104 quinoline yellow, 107 yellow 2G, 110 sunset yellow, 122 azorubine, 123 amaranth, 124 ponceau red, 127 erythrosine, 128 red 2G, 129 allura red, 132 indigotine, 133 brilliant blue, 142 green S, 151 brilliant black, 155 chocolate brown Natural colour, 160b annatto (in yogurts, icecreams, popcorn etc, 160a is a safe alternative)
200-203 sorbates (in margarine, dips, cakes, fruit products)
210-213 benzoates (in juices, soft drinks, cordials, syrups, medications)
220-228 sulphites (in dried fruit, fruit drinks, sausages, and many others)
280-283 propionates (in bread, crumpets, bakery products)
249-252 nitrates, nitrites (in processed meats like ham)
Synthetic antioxidants – in margarines, vegetable oils, fried foods, snacks, biscuits etc
319-320 TBHQ, BHA, BHT (306-309 are safe alternatives)
Flavor enhancers – in flavored crackers, snacks, takeaways, instant noodles, soups 621 MSG 627, 631, 635 disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, ribonucleotides
Some food additives are worse than others. Here’s a list of the top food additives to avoid:
But What Can I Eat Now?
Looking For Additive-Free Foods, Check Out These Resources:
Eatwild is an extensive directory of more than 1,400 pasture-based farms & ranches in the U.S. and Canada, and it has some International resources too. It is one of the most comprehensive sources for grass-fed meat and dairy products in the United States and Canada. Products include: Beef,Pork, Lamb, Veal, Goat, Elk, Venison, Yak, Chickens, Ducks, Rabbits, Turkeys, Eggs, Milk, Cheeses, Wild-Caught Salmon and more!
Eat Local Grown
The eatlocalgrown project was created to help you Find, Rate and Share Locally Grown Food! There are categories for Farms, Farmers Markets, Grocery Stores/Co-ops, Restaurants, Artisans and more.
There are almost two million farms in the USA. About 80% of those are small farms, and a large percentage are family owned. More and more of these farmers are now selling their products directly to the public. They do this via CSA programs, Farmers’ Markets, Food Coops, u-picks, farm stands, and other direct marketing channels. Locate and support your local farmer by using the map at Local Harvest