Interesting Study…Lousy Conclusion

In a recent German study, which was presented to the American Thoracic Societies International Conference on May 21st, researchers found that mothers exposed to farms or “farm milk” during their pregnancies conferred protection from allergies to their newborns.

Researchers found that the mothers exposure to farms or “farm milk” affected the babies T regulatory cells. These cells are believed to suppress immune response and therefore maintain and develop a healthy immune system.

“We found that the babies of mothers exposed to farms have more and better functioning regulatory T cells,” explained Bianca Schaub, M.D., who led the research team at University Children’s Hospital in Munich.

“The effect was strongest among those mothers who entered barns or drank farm milk.”

First of all, let’s call it like it is. A duck is a duck is a duck. I find it fascinating that through this entire press release they refer to raw milk as “farm milk.” Pasteurized milk comes from a farm too but you can be sure that this study was not looking at mothers that consumed pasteurized milk.

What is also being said in this study (albeit quite silently) is that you don’t have to live on a farm or be exposed to one to be able to confer these benefits to your child, you can simply drink raw milk. Good news for us suburban and urban dwellers since most of America’s households are 99.8% bacterial free Lysol homes.

Another noteworthy item? This study points out the benefits of drinking raw milk while pregnant. If, as a pregnant woman, you decided to mention to a health care professional that you drink raw milk (I wouldn’t recommend this) you can be quite sure that it will have a “shock and awe” affect quickly followed by a stern lecture. Raw milk consumption is hugely controversial in America and a very big “no, no” while pregnant. Me? I am guilty. Then again I am the mother to a little girl who appears to be allergic and or sensitive to about a million different things on this planet. Okay, that is a bit of an exaggeration. Nevertheless, if the act of drinking raw milk will help repair the damage that has all ready been done to her immune system and possibly spare her sibling the same allergenic fate then I am all aboard. By the way, we’ve been drinking raw milk for over a year with great results.

But my biggest pet peeve? That would be the conclusion that Dr. Schaub (one of the doctors conducting the study) presented:

“It is a long way off,” she concluded, “but these findings may one day hopefully help researchers to develop an effective preventive strategy, perhaps even a vaccine, against allergic diseases.”

Oh, another vaccine. Beautiful. So you take something full of simplicity and truth and you see how you can twist it into your medical model of something to sell. Shocking.

Here is the press release.

Genetically Modified Foods: Do you know what you’re eating?

As if I needed another topic to worry myself over. Between this, celiac, and the BPA plastics issue (this will be coming in another blog post) I am emotionally and intellectually spent. Is anyone else tired of feeling like their family is being bombarded by environmental and physical dangers from every possible direction? I guess I’m getting to the point where I am not shocked why most American’s simply shrug their shoulders and decide to let someone else worry about these things and close their ears to topics such as these. The work that it takes to research a topic, make a decision and then carry out that change in lifestyle is sometimes very difficult. Ok, whine over. Here’s what I’ve been finding and yes, it is disturbing. Another one of those things that I’ve caught wind of several times but never bothered to look into and am now kicking myself because of it.

Definition: Genetically modified (GM) foods are foods produced from genetically modified organisms (GMO) that have had their DNA altered through genetic engineering. GM foods were first put on the market in the early 1990s. The most common modified foods are derived from plants: soybean, corn, canola, and cotton seed oil.

How Common are Genetically Modified Foods?

The general population is unaware of how prevalent genetically modified (GM) food has become within our food chain. For example, if you were to randomly go to the grocery store and pick a boxed item off of the shelf you have a 75% chance of picking up a food with GM ingredients. This is because 7 out of every 10 items have been genetically modified. This is significant!

In a 10 year period, between 1995 and 2005, the amount of land cultivated with Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) had increased from 4.2 million acres to 222 million acres. In 2003, the countries that grew 99% of the worlds transgenic crops (genetically modified, containing DNA from another species) were the following countries:

United States – 63%

Argentina – 21%

Canada – 6%

Brazil – 4%

China – 4%

South Africa – 1%

By 2006, in the United States 89% of soybeans, 83% of cotton, and 61% of maize (corn) were genetically modified.

Why Should I Be Concerned about Genetically Modified Food?

No one hides the fact that GM food products are everywhere. There is no debate on that. So then, why should you even care? There are many reasons to be concerned.

No Human Studies: To begin, there have never been any studies that test the affects of consuming genetically modified food in humans. The FDA only assumes that GM food products are equivalent to the original in the way our body reacts to them.

Not Easily Contained: Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) are not easily contained. Safety measures, referred to as Biological Containment have to be in place to protect conventional and organic crops from being contaminated with GM crops. There is the possibility that without proper containment (and knowledge of how to do this is in its infancy) that these new GM products could taint and/or wipe out important species in our food supply.

Genetic Alteration May Cause Damage to Digestive and Immune Systems: The actual process of genetic alteration may cause damage to mammalian (that’s us) digestive and immune systems. In 1998, Arpad Pusztai, a researcher in Scotland, performed the first independent, non-industry sponsored study analyzing genetically engineered food and it’s affects on mammals. His study found that rats that were fed transgenic potatoes showed evidence of organ damage, thickening of the small intestine and poor brain development. The transgenic potatoes had been genetically engineered to contain lectin, a sugar binding protein that makes the plant pest resistant. Ironically, the adverse reactions only occurred in the group of rats eating the transgenic potatoes even though the control rats were fed a diet of plain potatoes mixed with lectin from the same source. These results indicate that the damage does not come from the lectin itself but due to the process of genetic engineering. This is a very important distinction. It also means that all genetically engineered products would be at risk of causing harm, not just lectin and potatoes.

Effects on Ecosystems: There is concern over the impact of genetically modified organisms in both farmed and wild ecosystems. If we get to the point where there are weed free and insect-free crops it could result in declines of other wildlife such as birds which feed on weed seeds and/or insects for their food resources. A UK based study found this to be the case with GM sugar beet and GM rapeseed crops .

-Monsanto: Monsanto is a giant biotech corporation that threatens to destroy the agricultural biodiversity that has existed for thousands of years. Up until recently the United States Patent and Trademark Office refused to issue patents on seeds. However, in 1980 the U.S. Supreme Court allowed for seed patents in a 5-4 decision which laid the groundwork for a handful of corporations to take control of the World’s food supply. Since that time Monsanto has become the world’s leader in the genetic modification of seeds and has won 674 biotechnology patents (more than any other company). Farmers who buy their seeds are required to sign strict agreements that lay out how the seeds can be used and they must buy new seeds each year. They are also required not to share the seeds with other farmers. They have both the capacity and ruthless drive to destroy the worlds biodiversity and food supply for their own profit. To watch a video documentary that was aired on French Television please go HERE. Or you can go to You Tube and search for Monsanto and you will be bombarded with many, many videos.

Morgellon’s Disease: Is a new terrifying disease a result of genetically modified foods? As of February 2007, more than 10,000 reports of this mysterious disease have been reported on the Morgellon Foundation’s Wesbite. The reported cases are up from only 2000 cases in 2006. The disease has been reported in 15 nations across the world including Canada, the UK, Australia and the Netherlands as well as all 50 states in the United States. The majority of reports come from Texas, California and Florida. People who have the disease describe it as a feeling of bugs or parasites scuttling around under their skin and it is accompanied by open lesions that heal slowly and ooze out blue, black or white fibers that can be several millimeters long. The CDC has finally put up a web page about the phenomenon and refer to it as Unexplained Dermopathy. Below is a picture of a 3 year old male with the showing the fibers embedded in his lips and a picture of those same fibers removed.


The God Role: So this is just my very unscientific and emotionally laden argument but I’m sure it exists more eloquently somewhere out there on the ‘net. Even if you dismiss the possibility of God and approach it from a natural or mother earth perspective the notion that we, as humans, with very limited knowledge and perspective can upturn and modify nature to suit our needs and wants without consequence to the natural order of things seems naive. I myself believe in God and I believe that if God wanted DNA from this substance to be mixed with that substance he very well would have taken care of it himself. We have been given dominion but the abuse of that dominion will have powerfully devastating effects if left unchecked.

What Can I do? How Can I avoid Genetically Modified Food?

So how do you know if a food you are eating is genetically modified? Well, frankly, if you are buying it from the grocery store you don’t. But there are things you can do to dramatically decrease your exposure.

-Stay Away From Processed Foods: This is of course, easier said then done. This means that foods that come in packages (unless 100% organic) have high potential (at least 75%) of containing genetically modified ingredients. Most processed foods contain corn and soy products and most corn and soy products are genetically modified (61% and 89% respectively in 2006). This goes for fast food and restaurants as well. You have no way of knowing whether or not the food has been genetically modified. Your best bet is to stick with whole foods, that are in their original state that you prepare yourself. And yes, that is a big commitment.

-Buy Organic Whenever Possible: By definition food that is certified organic must be free of all GM organisms.

Examine Produce Stickers: The PLU code for conventionally grown fruits consists of four numbers. Organic contains five numbers prefaced by the number 9. GM fruits contain five numbers prefaced by the number 8.

-True Food Shopping Guide: Get to know and use the True Food Shopping Guide which is a list of acceptable products and brands that do not contain GM products.

-Grow your own Food: Start your own garden and purchase seeds that have not been genetically modified. Not only can you control what happens to the food you grow but you are cultivating a skill that will bless your entire family and subsequent generations.

-Shop Local: Buy produce and foods from local sources whenever possible. Not only are you helping to sustain our resources but you are helping your community and reducing your exposure to GM crops. Most GM crops are large industry crops. By supporting the little guy there will be less demand for high yield crops which are more likely to contain genetically modified organisms.

-Demand Better: Use your dollar to set the demand. These crops can not thrive if there are no consumers to buy them. Use your voice to tell your elected officials how you feel about GM crops. Ask your grocery stores to stock more organic foods.

Video’s, Documentaries and Other Links

VIDEO: The Future of Food

LINKS:

Wikipedia: A vast amount of information and sources are available

Dr Mercola: This is just one of many links that Dr. Mercola has on the subject. There are links to many other articles within this one or you can search on his website.

Human Genome Project Information: Information on Genetically Modified Foods.

USDA Data Sets: Some statistics

Sunbutter: The Peanut Butter Alternative

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy, Happy, Happy, Joy!

I can not tell you how happy I was to learn about Sunbutter. The topic came up on a pregnancy forum that I frequent in regards to moms that are avoiding peanut butter during pregnancy for fear that it leads to peanut allergies in their offspring. I’m not sure I agree with that theory but I am so happy to have learned about Sunbutter.

Peanut butter and I were best friends before my daughter came down with a peanut allergy. I’m not sure any other food allergy could have come at such a blow to my own personal dietary preferences. Now of course, her health comes before my food cravings so we have not kept it in the house since we first learned of her peanut allergy, which requires the use of an Epi Pen, upon exposure.

Once upon a time we tried Soy Butter which was the nastiest concoction I have ever tasted and I shudder just thinking about trying to pass that off as a peanut butter alternative to my daughter. A few months ago I tried Almond Butter and all though tasty it is not something I am willing to allow Camden to try since we have been counseled to avoid all tree nuts (her only reaction thus far has been to peanuts).

Sunbutter must be a direct inspiration from Heaven, I’m sure. It is soooo good. Even my husband when he went to take a whiff of the can said, “Wow, it smells exactly like peanut butter!” And truly, it does. It tastes a lot like peanut butter too but is delicious in it’s own right. Camden’s verdict? She absolutely loves it and is asking for Sunbutter constantly. We had homemade waffles for dinner and my love for waffles is back because I was able to top them with a bit of Sunbutter and dip them into maple syrup. Mmmm, that is the only way to eat waffles. I am looking forward to making our first batch of “peanut butter” cookies made with Sunbutter and all the other yummy baked goods that we’ve missed at Christmas times because we’ve had to go peanut free.

The best part about Sunbutter is that it is safe. It is produced in a peanut free facility and is safe from any cross-contamination. Even better? It is healthy. It contains double the fiber, more iron and 30% less saturated fat than typical peanut butter. It contains no hydrogenated oils and also has 27% of the adult requirement of vitamin E, per serving. It is also Gluten Free.

We bought our first jar of Sunbutter from a store called Haggen’s for about $3.89 and it is the Sunbutter brand. We later went to Trader Joe’s and realized that they carry Sunbutter as well and it is actually made by Sunbutter but is under the Trader Joe’s label. Next time we will buy the Sunbutter from Trader Joe’s. It is only $3.50 a jar and unlike the product under the Sunbutter label the Trader Joe variety does not contain any preservatives. It has 3 ingredients: roasted sunflower seeds, evaporated cane juice and salt. Whereas the Sunbutter we purchased under it’s own label has the following ingredients: sunflower seeds, sugar, mono-diglycerides to prevent separation, salt and natural mixed tocopherols to preserve freshness. For me, I run under the simpler is better approach. 3 ingredients is better than 5. I also tried the Trader Joe’s version, which I picked up for a friend, and I prefer the taste and texture of the TJ version much more even though they are made by the same company.

I think this product is such great news for everyone. It is not just peanut allergic kids that are affected by peanut allergies. It is their siblings, their parents, their extended families, their daycares and preschools and public schools and even beyond that airlines and public places in general are affected. A product like Sunbutter allows for a very tasty and safe alternative. In some taste tests people have actually preferred the taste of Sunbutter over Peanut Butter. As a peanut butter lover I can say that I love Sunbutter (though I’m not sure I’d go so far as to say that I’d choose Sunbutter over peanut butter). I honestly won’t miss peanut butter with this alternative. I am astounded by how good it is.

Sunbutter can be found at grocery stores and health food stores nationwide. It can be found at stores such as the following: Albertsons LLC, Andronico’s, Bristol Farms, Gelson’s, Giant, Kroger’s, Publix, Super Target, Trader Joe’s, Wegmans, Winn-Dixie, and Whole Foods. I found mine at Haggen’s which is a chain in the Pacific Northwest. I live in Eastern Washington but will be traveling back over to the west side next month and will visit Trader Joe’s again. If anyone would like a jar and can’t find any near them please let me know and I’d be happy to ship you a jar, or two or three. :)

I do want to point out that some parents of peanut allergic children may still avoid and not want to have Sunbutter in their homes or for their children to eat it and it is important for people to try and be understanding with this choice. Their reasoning is that Sunbutter looks and tastes like peanut butter and they don’t want their children to become confused on what is and is not safe for them to eat. Since my daughter’s food environment is very controlled (by myself) and she is never exposed to food unless I okay it, I don’t necessarily have this concern. I did take time to sit down with her and explain why she could eat this and that it wasn’t peanut butter and was made from Sunflower Seeds and that unless mommy or daddy gave it to her she was not allowed to eat Sunbutter.

Vaccinated Milk??

The world of food allergies is quickly becoming a more encompassing world. And Milk allergy is at the top of the list, rising to that position within the last 10 years. Here is an interesting article that explores the introduction of rBGH in the 1990’s in the form of vaccines given to cows to increase their milk supply and the political and health impacts that this action has had.

My own child is unable to consume pasteurized milk and will break out in hives that she will scratch until she bleeds. All though she does better on Organic milk than regular milk she still gets hives. She tolerates raw milk just fine however. There has also been concern that these extra hormones in the milk are leading to earlier puberty, obesity, cancer, yeast infections, and breast buds in boys among other suspected results. It is important to note that the use of rBGH (rBST) does not improve the quality of milk, only the quantity. By the way, unless your milk specifically says on the label that it doesn’t contain rBGH or rBST than it most likely does.

Other posts about raw (unpasteurized) milk:

Raw Milk…Why?

Welcome to Real Milk

This article was taken from AllergyKids.com.

Got Milk Allergy? What the Labels (and Docs!) Don’t Tell Us

According to CNN and a recent study published in the Journal of Allergy and Immunology, milk allergy is the most common food allergy, having established itself in the number one position in the last ten years.

Interestingly, a new protein was introduced into the American milk supply just over ten years ago. Children with a milk allergy are allergic to the proteins found in milk.

Are these recently introduced proteins responsible for the milk allergy epidemic? You decide.

What the leading pediatric allergists (funded by Big Food and Big Pharma) failed to tell us…

In the early 1990s, one of the world’s largest chemical companies, in conjunction with a global pharmaceutical corporation, invented a vaccine that could be injected into cows to increase their milk production.

This vaccine contained a new protein that was designed to manipulate the hormones of cows in order to force them to produce more milk. More milk out of cows meant more money for the corporations, so their concept was a hit.

The only snag was that the vaccine that they were injecting into the cows contained a manipulated protein engineered to be a growth hormone. Because of the hormonal disruption that this protein created, increasing evidence showed that this manipulated protein was proving to cause breast, colon and prostate cancer . Mounting evidence also showed that cows injected with this protein showed increases in infertility, birth defects and fetal loss.

Because of these health consequences, government agencies around the world decided NOT to allow this manipulated protein and growth hormone into their milk and beef supplies. In the US, however, it was a different story.

In order to ensure passage through the FDA, the corporation who stood to profit from this cow vaccine, employed a strategy of placing their employees in critical decision making positions by essentially creating a revolving door between their corporation and the FDA.

For example, at this corporation, a Ph.D. named Margret Miller assisted in the development of this manipulated growth hormone. When it came time for the FDA to approve this hormone, Ms. Miller jumped ship to join the FDA and take a role in its scientific and safety evaluations!

Given Ms. Miller’s success at playing both sides of the field, Michael Taylor, an attorney at this same corporation, became a lobbyist and drafted guidelines that exempted milk producers from labeling dairy products from cows that had been treated with rBGH.

The revolving door strategy became so successful that this corporation continued to staff regulatory, scientific and positions of influence from both sides of the aisle right up to the Supreme Court where they placed their former attorney, Clarence Thomas, who provided legal clout in the manipulation of America’s food supply.

As a result, in 1993, this genetically manipulated milk protein, rBGH, was controversially approved and allowed to enter the American food supply – in the form of milk, cheese, yogurt and beef. Today, 1 in 8 women has breast cancer, 1 in 6 men has prostate cancer, and milk allergy is the most common food allergy in children.

Has the financial relationship that leading pediatric allergists have with this chemical corporation affected their ability to fully disclose the risks presented by the introduction of this protein in 1993?

To learn more about What’s In Your Milk? , there are three things that you can do right away!

  • Buy milk, cheese and yogurt that is labeled “rBGH-free”
  • Purchase beef that is also labeled “rBGH-free”

Signs of a milk allergy may include but are not limited to:

  • Stomach aches, colic, gastrointestinal discomfort
  • Allergic Shiners (dark circles beneath the eyes)
  • Eczema, rashes and skin disorders (including acne)
  • Migraines, headaches and other neurological symptoms
  • As well as the classic allergic symptoms like hives, swelling, difficulty breathing and possible anaphylaxis (as detailed at www.allergykids.com)

According to a November 2007 report from the FDA, the FDA “does not have the capacity to ensure the safety of the nation’s food supply” putting “American lives at risk.”

So stay smart, stay savvy…and keep asking questions! In a system that is failing our children, mothers can’t! There is so much that you can do to protect the health of your family! Learn more at www.allergykids.com

NOTE: One of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies assisted in the development of the controversial rBGH vaccine.

According to Congress, a provision was added to the Homeland Security Act just prior to passage that shields the pharmaceutical industry from billions of dollars of anticipated lawsuits over vaccines, removing liability for any injuries that may result from vaccines they manufacture.

The provision was added so late that most members of Congress were not even aware that it had been added to the 470-plus page bill. And it was so similar to a defeated vaccine bill from 2002 that an aide even commented that the provision was actually in a different font than the rest of the Homeland Security Act, as if someone had cut and pasted it into the new bill.

Despite concerns over vaccines’ toxicity, allergenic risks and the 100,000,000 DNA fragments that each vaccine is allowed to contain, the FDA lacks funding and does not conduct independent tests to assess the safety of these vaccines, relying on industry-funded research conducted by the pharmaceutical and chemical corporations themselves.

Raw Milk…Why?

Based on a conversation my husband had with his Dr. Brother and based on the fact that my husband doesn’t really know anything about raw milk I thought I would post the power point that I sent to Dr. Brother. It is a great starting point for learning about raw milk including some of the myths associated with it and what risks it actually carries. The slide show includes the sources on the bottom right of the slides. It is a long slide show but well worth the read and poses as a great starting place to learn about the topic and the biases placed on raw milk.

Be patient. It takes a few minutes to load. I suggest right clicking on the link and saving it and then opening it from your hard drive. If you don’t want to do that then just click it and open it and it will take a few minutes to pull up.

http://www.realmilk.com/ppt/08rawmilk.ppt

The power point was obtained from www.realmilk.com

Here is one of my other posts about raw milk.

One of my favorite slides:

Raw milk is often blamed for causing infection with Listeria Monocytogenes, a deadly food pathogen that can cause severe illness and fetal death, premature birth or neonatal illness and death.

In a 2003 USDA/FDA report: Compared to raw milk

515 times more illnesses from L-mono due to deli meats

29 times more illness from L-mono due to pasteurized milk

On a PER-SERVING BASIS, deli meats were TEN times more likely to cause illness

FDA: “Raw milk is inherently dangerous and should not be consumed

Where are the FDA’s charges that deli meats are “inherently dangerous and should not be consumed? Where is the FDA’s exhortation to “everyone charged with protecting the publish health” to “prevent the sale of deli meats to consumers”?


Intrepretive Summary – Listeria Monocytogenes Risk Assessment
,
Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition,
FDA, USDHHS, USDA, Sept. 2003, page 17

Halloween in Crunchville – Dye Free Candy

yummyearth_-_jonah_and_rose_fly_with_organic_lollipops.jpg

I grew up celebrating Halloween like millions of other kids in America. I enjoyed it. Probably for no good reason other than it was fun to dress up and I like candy. Is that a good reason to perpetuate the Holiday? I don’t know but frankly I’m not ready to morally question Halloween yet. I like it and for now that is enough. Rather than a moral dilemma, I have had a bigger concern with how to allow my daughter to participate in Halloween without being bombarded with artificial dyes and flavors that turn her into a raving lunatic as well as peanut containing products which could send her to the Hospital in anaphylactic shock.

I was VERY happy to have stumbled upon Yummy Earth candies. We purchased their 5lb bag of Organic Assorted Lollipops at a 50% discount since we are Feingold members. We received the suckers within days and let me just tell you these things are DELICIOUS! They taste way better than any store-bought suckers not to mention they are all natural. The flavors in the assorted bag are delectable – pomegranate, watermelon, tango mango & lemon. They are literally the best suckers I have ever had.

So for those of you also concerned with how to get your artificial dye sensitive child some safe candy you can purchase lots of different varieties online. We just plan on letting her Trick-or-Treat like normal and at the end we will exchange all of her candy for the “safe” candy. If I had more time and felt like it I would just pre-visit my neighbors and ask them to reserve the safe candy for her.

Here is a list of all natural and dye free candy:

Yummy Earth

Jewels of Denial

Squirrels Nest

Pure Fun

Divvies

Dolphin Natural Chocolates

Simon’s Candy Company

Sunspire

CrispyCat Candy Bars

Glee Gum

YC Chocolate

You may also have good luck finding dye free and natural candies at places like Trader Joe’s & Whole Foods.

It’s About Time

ka_j10_sf_ka_man.gif

The immature side of me wants to say “neiner, neiner, neiner” and “I told you so!” But instead I will clap my hands and be thankful that finally some scientific studies that corroborate what observant parents have known for a long time and that is that food additives (food coloring and flavoring) can cause far reaching effects in children’s behavior and health. This study simply addresses a short term exposure of 6 weeks and explicity examines hyperactivity but it is a good start.

Here is the article on the study:

New study links food additives to hyperactivity in children
23 hours ago
PARIS (AFP)
A cocktail of artificial colours and the commonly-used
preservative sodium benzoate are linked to hyperactivity in children, according to a ground-breaking study published Thursday by The Lancet.
The implications are far-reaching, say the investigators, who suggest that by
vetting their child’s diet, parents have a simple tool to help them tackle
hyperactive behaviour.
Researchers at Southampton University recruited 153 local three-year-olds and 144 children aged eight or nine and assigned them to either of two groups.

One group received an ordinary fruit juice and the other was given a drink
identical in look and taste that contained common commercial additives. Both
drinks were supplied to parents in identical, sealed anonymous bottles.

The “additives” group itself was split into two batches. Some children were given “Mix A,” a drink which contained artificial colourings typically found in a couple of 56-gramme (two-ounce) bags of sweets.

Others were given “Mix B” which had a higher level of colourings, equivalent
(in the dosage for the eight-year-olds) to consuming the additives in four
such bags of sweets.

Both mixes had the same amount of sodium benzoate.

Before the six-week trial began, the researchers asked parents and teachers
to assess the child for overactive, impulsive and inattentive behaviour — the
hallmarks of hyperactivity.

A third yardstick was given by trained observers (in fact, psychology
graduates), who sat discreetly in the classrooms and noted each child’s behaviour according to an international set of measures.

For the first week of the trial, the children followed their typical diet.
After that, sweets and drinks with additives were withdrawn, and parents were asked to substitute with the trial drink instead.

The amount of the drink given to the child was in proportion to the amount of
artificial colouring removed from their usual diet. The parents did not know
whether the drink was Mix A, Mix B or the placebo.

Six weeks later, the children were assessed again for hyperactivity.
Mix A had a “significantly adverse” effect on the three-year-olds, although
Mix B made no difference on this group. In the older children, both Mix A and
Mix B had a strong effect.

“Overall, children who took the mix moved about 10 percent closer to the
definition of being hyperactive,” lead author Jim Stevenson, a professor of
psychology at the university, told AFP.

“We now have clear evidence that mixtures of certain food colours and
benzoate preservative can adversely influence the behaviour of children,” said Stevenson.

“However, parents should not think that simply taking these additives out of
food will prevent all hyperactive disorders. We know that many other
influences are at work, but this at least is one a child can avoid.”

The first caution about food additives and their impact on child health were
made more than three decades ago, but evidence to give flesh to this warning has been scant or contested as unscientific.

In the past decade, hyperactivity has — apparently — ballooned into serious
proportions in some countries, stirring controversy along the way.

US doctors commonly see hyperactivity as a medical condition
(attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, ADHD) and prescribe a potent drug, ritalin, to treat it.

Other experts speculate that hyperactivity has social causes such as home
instability and poor education, and say use of powerful, mind-altering drugs is
dangerous.

In the new study, Mix A comprised 45mg of sodium benzoate and 20mg of
artificial food colourings, namely sunset yellow (European food code E110),
carmoisine (E122); tartrazine (E102); and ponceau 4R (E124).

(P.S. neiner, neiner, neiner!)

Here are other things I’ve written about food additives and artificial dye:

Eating a Rainbow

Bathing in a Rainbow

Dangerous Popcorn