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Weak Evidence Aye? May 22, 2008

Posted by Mistress B in Kids, Parenting, Ramblings.
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I was visiting at my mother’s house yesterday to read all her junk mail cos ours didn’t get delivered over the weekend and to read her newspapers cos I was too lazy to go and buy  my own when she mentioned to me that UK is going to start phasing out artificial food colourings and did I know that there were colours in Tim Tam’s and that some australian idiot thinks this isn’t a problem.

I laughed.

She laughed.

We both then made some dark, bitter, sarcastic comments and laughed together.

Food intolerances are a HUGELY misunderstood thing.

I went looking online for news articles relating to the story.

I found the UK study

I found this article containing some responses from a representative of the Food Standards Australia and New Zealand, a Ms Buchtmann, where she said that the study was ‘interesting’ but that the evidence was very ‘weak’.

She went on to say ‘the findings could still be useful for parents of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to help manage their child’s condition.’

I’m confused. Does she think hyperactivity only occurs in children with ADHD?

Does she think that intolerances to food additives only occur in children with ADHD?


No. Really.


Cos my kids don’t have ADHD.

Two of my three are intolerant to food colourings.


Kids can be hyperactive without having ADHD.

Kids can be intolerant to food colourings without having ADHD.

Knowledge of the effects that additives have on children is useful for EVERYONE!

Knowledge of the potential effects these additives could have on their children might make parents think twice about what they feed their children. More selective consumers means more products tailored to meet their needs. More products available that are additive free means less of a headache for parent’s of children who are affected.

Parent’s like me.

Party food in our house when we first started down this road consisted of some fruit, white jelly beans, milk bottles & preservative free lemonade after preservative free sausages on preservative free bread. Sound like fun? Our kids thought so. Their visitors often did not……. But I’m sure their parent’s did when they didn’t have to pick up a hyper child. Merely excited children are  much easier to calm.

Of course these days we have lollies from The Natural Confectionery Company readily available, found a few other suitable options and have an increased tolerance that  allows some laxing of the party food rules.


School parties. Other kid’s birthday parties. The stuff nightmares are made of.

We belong to the kids-who-take-their-own-food club because I would prefer not to have to deal with my children bouncing off walls for the next few days, not being able to think clearly for weeks,  having sleep disturbances or worse, asthma.

And this is just a few of the things the colourings can trigger. Then on top of that my lot also have problems with salicylates. Thankfully we don’t also have allergies to dairy, wheat and gluten like some others that I know of.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand have a ‘fact sheet‘ on their website relating to the topic where they allow that that ‘adverse reactions to foods and food additives occur in a small proportion of the population.’

I would suggest that the proportion is much bigger than they are willing to admit and that despite the so called ‘low doses’ used in our foods that the accumulative effect is the same and parent’s have enough to deal with trying to sort out intolerances and allergies to naturally occurring food chemicals.

We need to get this crap out of our kids food and we need to do it soon.

Get creative people.

Food does not have to be every shade and hue available. Rainbows are for looking at not eating.



1. Pure Evyl - May 22, 2008

So you are saying that it is wrong of me to give the neighbor’s kids Big Reds? Damn, that was my favorite way of getting back at them.

2. Anja - May 22, 2008

Common farkin’ sense, people.

I was talking to “Nancy” she of all things wise about this recently. We have an ‘epidemic’ and it is a freakin’ epidemic of kids wrongly diagnosed with ADHD. When she went to school (she was born in the sixties) there were ‘hyper’ kids – the one that was like a Jack Russell on speed (apologies WS) but would you medicate them? There was no coincidence that the hyper kids were the ones that used to hit the canteen of a morning for a bag full of sugar.

And it’s not just the sweets kids are consuming from school canteens (although I’m pleased to see canteens are cracking down on this rubbish) it’s the packaged foods that are readily available for kids. Maccas may be offering ‘low fat’ alternatives, but they’re still rammed with sugar.

If you read the contents on the side panel of most pre-packaged foods, they’re a freakin’ chemical cocktail. We have a huge rise in asthma, excema, ADHD, conduct disorders in kids. It’s not too hard to realise that the food they are eating combined with the sedentary lifestyles kids have, they’re a mess.

When children start having cholesterol problems (and I’ve seen plenty with it) we have to start realising we’re f***ing up the kiddies. Nancy said in her day meals were made from scratch. Obesity was rare. Hmm… connection here?

Blind Freddy’s guide dog could tell you that if you add a lot of artificial rubbish to kids it will exhibit itself in some toxic way.

3. Suze - May 22, 2008

There’s a lot of things going on with kids today, as mentioned above by Anja, that just didn’t happen not that many years ago.

So many kids have allergies, so many have food intolerances, so many had conditions such as athsma, eczema, and behavioural issues. TV flogs products to keep your home “germ free”. Kids have little or no natural immunity to bugs. No worries, let’s give them antibiotics as soon as they sniffle.

Personally, I’m concerned ADD and ADHD are massively over diagnosed. Pop your child full of Ritalin, let’s counteract the drugs in food, with another drug. Cool!

It’s all a huge problem.

4. Dorothy Stahlnecker - May 22, 2008

Good post, thanks for the information.

Dorothy from grammology
remember to call gram

5. Frogdancer - May 22, 2008

Great. I just ate two tim tams before reading this. Now I’ll be bouncing off the walls….

(should be entertaining for my classes…)

6. Bettina - May 22, 2008

Evyl – lol. Yes, it’s wrong, but a little nortiness now and then is so good for us 😉

Anja – I know. It is absolutely freakin ridiculous the number of kids disagnosed with ADHD because it’s an easy answer. Personally I think it’s the lazy answer. I am not against the use of medication in genuine cases, but there you are kids who could simply use a change of diet and some help with a learning problem or three that shouldn’t be on meds.

Suze – yes it’s a massive problem. And just look at all the studies coming out now saying that overprotective parents are harming their kids. Well duh!

Dorothy – you’re welcome.

Frogdancer – who knew that chocolate needed colouring!!

7. Gemisht - May 22, 2008

I had my kids on the Failsafe diet, but we fell off the wagon and haven’t got back on yet. I did notice a big difference with both of them. And can you believe the number of things that have colours and/or flavours in them. It makes quick lunch box treats an absolute nightmare.

And don’t start me on preservatives, MSG and antioxidants too. All of it mostly unnecessary, but done to improve the look of food and long shelf lives to appease retailers.

8. widdleshamrock - May 22, 2008

Celtic Dingo was firstly diagnosed as ADD. I disputed it as we noticed we could time him on certain foods.
He is already a high energy kid and add ‘bad’ foods and he is off the wall.
We were poo pooed at the time, but have since met other parents who agree.

9. Jayne - May 22, 2008

FB was first diagnosed as having ADHD (by one of the several drop-kick f&*ktard paeds we saw) and wrongly medicated against my better judgment after the snotty-nosed paed declared he wouldn’t continue to treat FB unless I followed his instructions.
After 2 days FB was violently ill from side effects of the Ritalin and I told the paed what I thought of him and his reputation.
After he was properly diagnosed with autism we followed a very strict diet with no gluten, dairy, sugar, yeast, colourings or preservatives and hey presto, a totally different kid!
He’s outgrown most of his food intolerances but you can still time a crappy mood by Macca’s he’s eaten while out and about if there’s no take away sushi available. Hmmm yummy sushi….

10. Trish - May 22, 2008

so hard with childrens parties – even a one year party had lollies in reach of my kids – try telling them no and hear them roar.
I try to but natural confectionery ones too.
I didn’t know that about tim tams !

11. leechbabe - May 22, 2008

It is a nightmare trying to feed the kiddies right these days.

12. planningqueen - May 22, 2008

We are lucky the we don’t have any allergies in our house, but I still avoid products jam packed with all MSG, colourings etc.

This is actually one of the reasons I bake so often. I like the kids to have interesting things in their lunch boxes, but I actually want to know what ingredients are in them. 🙂

Thanks for all the links in the post, great references!

13. Hilary - May 23, 2008

Our Jaylen is like Feral Beast, on a very strict diet. When he’s coming to my place I make sure and have rice milk in the fridge and if he needs more we go out for chips (can you believe chips are a major feature of a very restricted diet?) or nori rolls. I can’t believe how hard it is to find food that is suitable for him. You really have to shop int the specialist sections of the supermarkets. Or health food stores. I guess it will eventually get to the point that the companies making crap food are going to lose sales and the health food aisle will be jammed with trolleys.

14. river - June 22, 2008

Growing up i never drank milk because it made me feel sick and I avoided green lollies and soaps etc because they made me itch. colourings and additives were never given any thought until years later I noticed my third child was always over excited after we’d been drinking Coke, but never when we’d been drinking Pepsi. Coke is made with red colouring and Pepsi isn’t so we avoided red things for a while, then gave her Coke and made our own conclusions. I’ve since found out by my own trial and errors that it’s the blue colouring in green things that makes me itch and I have a dairy intolerance where I can have milk in my coffee or things like custard where the milk has been cooked, but I can’t drink a glass of straight milk.
I agree that there are WAY too many kids wrongly diagnosed these days. For heavens sake people! Kids are SUPPOSED to be lively, bouncy, full of energy and inquisitiveness. As long as they also have quiet moments and are able to listen and learn there’s nothing wrong with most kids.

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