As shared in Exchange Every Day, from Child Care Information Exchange, a new study reports a link between consuming food dyes and sodium benzoate, and hyperactivity in children.

A UK study reported in Work & Family Life (November 2007;
demonstrates the impact of food additives on children’s behavior.
Researchers at the University of Southampton served 300 children in two
age groups (3’s and 8-9’s) three different fruit drinks daily.
One-third of the children were served a drink that contained the amount
of food dye and sodium benzoate typically found in a British child’s
diet. The second drink contained a lower concentration of those food
additives, and the third was free of additives.
Over three
seven-day periods, teachers, parents, and graduate students used
standardized evaluation tools to measure the children’s concentration,
restfulness, fidgeting, and talking or interrupting too much. Those
doing the testing did not know which children received which drinks.
The children in both age groups were found to be significantly more
hyperactive when drinking the beverage with higher levels of additives.
The greatest impact was observed in the three-year-olds! In response,
the British Food Standards Agency issued an advisory to limit
children’s intake of additives if parents noticed an effect on behavior.

Reprinted with permission from ExchangeEveryDay. To sign up for a free subscription to this daily newsbrief, go to

2 thoughts on “Diet and Hyperactivity

  1. Volunteers at the non-profit Feingold Association of the US are glad to see one more study that shows the link between petroleum-based food dyes and ADHD. Since 1976 the organization has been helping families test out a simple diet and determine if the symptoms they are seeing are being triggered by the worst of the synthetic food additives. The web site ( is filled with information on how parents can help their children as well as abstracts from numerous other studies linking diet and behavior.

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