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The Latest and (not-so) Greatest on ADD and ADHD

by Wendy Burt-Thomas

Scientists now know that many factors can play a role in the development of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children. From food dyes and second-hand smoke to toxic chemicals and genetics, both internal and external influences may affect the severity of symptoms. Regardless of the cause, there are a variety of treatments to help decrease the effects of ADD/ADHD in your child's life. Here are just a few to consider:

Food Dyes
On June 3, 2008, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, urging it to ban eight artificial food dyes. According to CSPPI, the following eight dyes are believed to increase hyperactivity and other behavior problems in children:

  • Yellow 5 and 6
  • Red 3 and 40
  • Blue 1, 2 and 3
  • Orange B

It's not a new theory. Since the 1970s, numerous studies from around the world proved that some children's behavior "worsened" with the consumption of the dyes. In fact, the British government is already pressuring food companies to use safer colorings - thanks to the latest studies.

But dyes aren't the only consideration when worrying about outside causes of ADD and ADHD. Two recent British studies found that the preservative sodium benzoate may be to blame.

Test: Omit food products with artificial food dyes from your child's diet. Look for organic products or those that list only naturally colored ingredients (such as cereal colored with beet or carrot coloring). Whole, non-processed foods are generally a better choice for anyone.

Solution: If your child seems more focused, less hyperactive or generally less anxious, talk to a Registered Dietician about better food options. When in doubt, look for foods that are labeled as organic or made with no preservatives.

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