The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), an independent health advocacy organization, is blaming the abundance of food dyes in processed foods for promoting hyperactivity in children. They point to studies that support the idea that, basically, food dyes are bad. One study published in the Lancet found an increase in hyperactive behavior in two different groups of children after they consumed a test drink containing artificial food coloring and a common preservative, sodium benzoate. Following the study, Britain’s Food Standards Agency issued an advisory to parents to limit their children’s intake of additives if they noticed an effect on behavior.
Here in the U.S., the FDA has not done much in terms of regulating food additives. That being said, it is still possible to avoid their use by eating whole and organic foods. Here is a list of some foods that may contain food dyes:
- flavored gelatin
- ice cream
- jams and jellies
- salad dressings
- brightly colored cereal
Taking a supplement designed for kids may also be beneficial. Nutrients like zinc, EPA, DHA, magnesium and vitamin B6 may also support attention span. Talk to a nutritionist or your GP for more information regarding these supplements.