Why kids go berzerk after eating glowing orange mac ‘n cheese…the answer may surprise you


Greetings Health Fans! Welcome back. I would like to continue providing recommendations for healthier eating today. Recall that I compared to cleaning up our diets like peeling back the layers of an onion because there are several things to be done and dealing with one at a time can be helpful. In previous postings, I covered the first 2 layers:

First Layer:  Protect your gut health, digestion and immunity

–  Eliminate antibiotic and hormone-containing foods such as conventional meats and dairy; choose meats and dairy that are free of these nasties or go fully organic

–  Eliminate GMO’s primarily from processed foods containing conventional corn, high fructose corn syrup (AKA corn sugar) and soy

–  See 10/28/13 Blog Post (How to Keep Calm and Eat Healthier) for details

Second Layer:  Protect your pancreas’ ability to regulate blood sugar and prevent fatty liver disease

–  Eliminate artificial sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup (AKA corn sugar) and reduce the amount of refined sugar, especially from energy and soft drinks

–  See 10/31/13 Blog Post (Keeping in Calm and Healthy, Part Deux) for details

Peeling back the first two layers is a huge accomplishment and will go a long way toward protecting your gut, pancreas and liver health.  Better digestion, immunity, and blood sugar regulation will result. Now we will move on to the next layer.

Third Layer:  Protect your and your children’s ability to think and concentrate

-Eliminate artificial colors, flavors and additives especially from sodas, candies and processed foods

I was surprised to learn it’s not just sugar that causes kids to go berzerk. Studies have been done which link the artificial crap in processed foods (like glowing orange Kraft Mac and Cheese, bright kids’ medicines and vitamins) to behavior changes in kids. The information I will provide on this topic was sourced from The Unhealthy Truth by Robyn O’Brien, Broadway Books, 2009.  Robyn refers to one such pivotal study as The Southampton Shocker, which was published in an online edition of The Lancet.

In September 2007, a research team from the U.K.’s University of Southampton’s School of Psychology and Medicine shocked much of the conventional medical community with their dramatic findings about the effects on children of artificial colors and preservatives. The researchers studied 153 three-year-olds and 144 eight-year-olds, which is an impressively large number as previous studies had included perhaps dozens only. The children were chosen from the general residential population of Southampton, England, and they represented the full spectrum of childhood behavior, from normal through hyperactive. For six weeks, the kids were given a diet free of the additives the study was focusing on. The kids were also given something to drink each day: One group got a mix of artificial colors and the preservative sodium benzoate, which is used in most sodas and soft drinks. The other group got a “neutral” drink free of these substances, known as a placebo. Note also that both drinks looked and tasted the same, so neither the children nor their families know which group they were in. Furthermore the researchers who handed out he drinks did not know either, which made this a double-blind study.

After the children were given the drinks, their behavior was described by their parents and teachers, as well as an observer from the study who watched them at school. The results were strikingly clear. The children who consumed the mix of food coloring and sodium benzoate were significantly more hyperactive: they moved more, they were more impulsive, and they had trouble keeping focusing their attention on a particular topic. (The researchers pointed out that this does not mean that artificial food additives will prevent all hyperactive disorders as many influences are at work, but this at least is one a child can avoid.) Interesting, huh?

Robyn quotes other studies which reached the same conclusion:

–          One published in The Australian Paediatric Journal in 1988

–          One published in the British  Archives of Disease in Childhood in 1993

–          An  Australian study of tartrazine (AKA E102 or FD&C Yellow #5 in the aforementioned glowing mac ‘n cheese) in 1994 which indicated that this additive affected children’s sleep, mood, and behavior

–          A Brazilian study of tartrazine in 2007 which suggested that it could cause serious health problems in rats, elevating white blood cells which could also play a major role in provoking allergic reactions

Finally, an Australian study published in the May 24, 2008 edition of the British Medical Journal followed up on the Southampton Shocker. In this double-blind study, 297 children aged three to nine years were included, none of whom had ever been diagnosed with ADHD.  Yet even these normal children, when given a mix of synthetic colors and sodium benzoate that “approximated that found in 56 gram bags of sweets” (or about two two-ounce bags of candy), displayed increased hyperactive behavior.

The net: avoid the processed foods and drinks with ingredient lists a mile long that require an advanced degree in chemistry to decipher! Focus on food from the produce and meat sections, as free of pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and GMO’s as possible.

And now a final note before wrapping up. Notice how none of these studies were done in the US? Another example of how we are not informed of the facts and get fed the most artificial, damaging slop that the rest of the world won’t tolerate. However, if we take a stand, our voices will be heard! The good news is that Kraft is finally considering removing the most damaging artificial colors from its mac ‘n cheese, as they do in other parts of the world ALREADY:  http://naturalsociety.com/kraft-remove-artificial-colors-macaroni-cheese-products/.

That’s all for this week! Keep up the good work and happy wholesome eating!