Easter Candy and Hyper Kids: A Colorful Connection
Every Easter, millions of children fill up on the jelly beans, chocolate bunnies and hard candies in their Easter baskets and become hyper as they savor their candies all week. Most parents never suspect that petroleum-based food dyes and other artificial additives are the most likely culprits behind their kids’ over activity.
“Even a tiny amount of food coloring can lead to hyperactivity and inattention in children” said Jane Hersey, director of the nonprofit Feingold Association, which helps children with learning and behavior problems. “Feed a child the synthetically dyed and flavored candies in a typical Easter basket, and you have a recipe for disaster!”
Americans now consume almost three times the amount of synthetic food dyes as they did in the 1980s, and a 2009 study from the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine suggests that this increase may be partly responsible for the rise in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which now affects 8.6% of children in this country.
Dr. Sanford C. Newmark, the study’s author, recommended that all families of children with ADHD eliminate artificial colors and preservatives from their children’s diet as much as possible.
Numerous other studies have also linked artificial food additives with hyperactivity and inattention, including a highly acclaimed Lancetstudy, which concluded that synthetic food dyes can trigger these problems in all children, not just those with ADHD. This study credited Dr. Ben Feingold, who developed the low-additive Feingold Diet, with first discovering the link between food additives and hyperactivity.
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