Weeping Water, NE--A study published in the British Journal, The Lancet, has a lot people questioning whether artificial food coloring, so prevalent in foods now, is causing ADHD.
According to the study, there was a marked increase in hyperactivity for kids tested in the three year old age group and the 8-9 age group.
The research findings were so convincing the British government asked food manufacturers to stop using six different artificial food colors. Just three months ago, Maryland legislators debated whether to ban food coloring from public schools and to force labels on products containing these artificial additives.
None of this is news to the Keckler family. Two years ago, when a teacher suggested their now 10-year old daughter, Sydney, had ADHD, they didn't want to medicate her. Instead, they researched and eventually adopted the Feingold Diet, a program that removes food colorings like Red 40, Yellow 5 as well as other artificial additives.
Mom, Tiffani, says within days there was a noticeable difference. "It was amazing, it really was." She says even Sydney's gymnastics coach remarked on the change after a week.
Today, Sydney is still active and energetic, but she can also sit still and focus. Tiffani says she's not sure if food coloring can solve every child's hyperactivity, "I don't know that it's all of the solution, but it's a huge part of it."
Doctors aren't so sure. Psychiatrist Joan Daughton says the one study is well-done but it is only one and there needs to be more research.
"Is this some kind of allergic reaction going on; is this some kind of pharmalogic effect from the additives and that kind of thing? That answer, we don't have that."
Daughton says it is perfectly fine for parents to try to make some dietary changes; she just cautions that it be done in conjunction with professional treatment and input. Even if there is a link, she says it probably only affects a small number.
"It doesn't seem to be a wide-spread treatment that's going to be effective for most kids," Daughton adds.
The Food and Drug Administration contends food colorings are safe and are tested frequently. In its literature, however, the government agency acknowledges there may be some kids who suffer adverse reactions to food dyes.
How to eliminate these additives from a diet can be a daunting task. The colorings are used to make food more appealing and appetizing and are found in everything from candy to ice cream to frozen waffles to cereal and popular kids snacks.
Tiffani says there are plenty of foods that are all natural, it just requires switching brands and reading labels. But she admits when she started, it was a time-consuming task.
Still in the two years, she says her family has benefitted from making the changes with better sleep, less allergy congestion and feeling healthier.
Reported by Carol Wang, firstname.lastname@example.org