I used to think that most people who said that artificial food additives were wrong/crazy/ conspiracy theorists. Then I read this article in the Lancet. And now, I’ll significantly increase my avoidance to artificial food additives.
Also note, they indicate sodium benzoate, which I think is in all soft drinks. Meaning, that maybe it isn’t such a good idea to drink diet pop. I do, 2 a day. No longer.
We undertook a randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, crossover trial to test whether intake of artificial food colour and additives (AFCA) affected childhood behaviour.
153 3-year-old and 144 8/9-year-old children were included in the study. The challenge drink contained sodium benzoate and one of two AFCA mixes (A or B) or a placebo mix. The main outcome measure was a global hyperactivity aggregate (GHA), based on aggregated z-scores of observed behaviours and ratings by teachers and parents, plus, for 8/9-year-old children, a computerised test of attention. This clinical trial is registered with Current Controlled Trials (registration number ISRCTN74481308). Analysis was per protocol.
16 3-year-old children and 14 8/9-year-old children did not complete the study, for reasons unrelated to childhood behaviour. Mix A had a significantly adverse effect compared with placebo in GHA for all 3-year-old children (effect size 0Â·20 [95% CI 0Â·01-0Â·39], p=0Â·044) but not mix B versus placebo. This result persisted when analysis was restricted to 3-year-old children who consumed more than 85% of juice and had no missing data (0Â·32 [0Â·05-0Â·60], p=0Â·02). 8/9-year-old children showed a significantly adverse effect when given mix A (0Â·12 [0Â·02-0Â·23], p=0Â·023) or mix B (0Â·17 [0Â·07-0Â·28], p=0Â·001) when analysis was restricted to those children consuming at least 85% of drinks with no missing data.
Artificial colours or a sodium benzoate preservative (or both) in the diet result in increased hyperactivity in 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children in the general population.
a. School of Psychology, Department of Child Health, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
b. School of Medicine, Department of Child Health, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
c. Department of Paediatrics, Imperial College, London, UK