Monday, January 18, 2010

Food coloring and ADHD

pictures courtesy of google search
When it comes to food we live in a colorful world. But what if those dyes changed your child's behavior? Southampton University in England has found a link to food dyes and hyperactive behavior in children. The research does not prove that food colorings actually cause ADHD behaviors but there does seem to be a link. The results were published in The Lancet medical journal in September of 2007.

Susan Jebb, nutrition scientist at Britain’s Medical Research Council, stated, "Such additives are most likely to be found in foods that we would like to see children eating less of – i.e. soft drinks, confectionery and so on – and so it reiterates the general healthy eating messages of encouraging healthier food choices."

While there are many suspected causes for ADHD behaviors, some are easy to eliminate.

  • Eliminate foods with large quantities of dyes.
  • Reduce or eliminate sugary drinks.
  • Plan a consistent routine in the home.
  • Snack on whole foods as found in nature instead of packaged snacks.
  • Look for allergens in the home and see if eliminating them helps.
Another component to ADHD behaviors is structure. School schedules and all the after school participation can raise havoc with home structure. It is difficult to find a home with a consistent suppertime. Schedules are disrupted with
  • Before school practices
  • Scouts
  • Band trips
  • Piano lessons
  • Dance lessons
  • After school practices
  • Ball games
  • Church activities

Routines and consistent schedules make life more predicable for an ADHD child. A child with hyperactive tendencies is easily set off by disruptions in a schedule. Try and build routine into the before and after school schedules at home.