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Within children’s bodies and minds artificial flavorings and colorings can reach toxic levels much more quickly than in adults. A 2004 medical study published in Archives of Disease in Childhood examined four hundred children in Britain for signs of hyperactivity related to diet. Parents were asked to keep the children on a strict diet, free of all artificial preservatives and additives, for one month. Then for a week the children were given fruit drinks each day, laced with a cocktail of chemical additives–four colorings and one preservative–typical of what most children encounter with regularity.

“The observed effect of food additives and colorings in this community sample is substantial,” concluded the medical team of researchers. Parents did daily ratings of their child’s behaviors, and the results showed without equivocation that the additives affected their attention spans, moods, and ability to get along with others. One of the study authors, psychologist James Stevenson, said the study transformed his entire perspective on the relationship between food additives and the brain. “I’d worked in hyperactivity for a number of years and originally thought that diet was probably important only in an exceptional, odd group of children. Having done this work, I’ve changed my mind. Additives seem to be shifting behavior towards the more hyperactive end.

The Hundred-Year Lie by Randall Fitzgerald, pg. 105-06.

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