We all want to feed our children with the best nutrition possible. But with so many artificial foods and ingredients on supermarket shelves, it can be difficult to be sure if what we’re feeding them is healthful. Even if we read the labels and attempt to select nourishing choices, we may inadvertently skip over food additives we’re not aware of. And many reports and studies have suggested that these additives may affect children’s behavior negatively.
As per WebMD, “Artificial food colorings, preservatives, and other additives may play a role in increasing hyperactive behavior among young children. British researchers found removing food additives from the diet of a group of 3-year-olds caused a reduction in the children’s hyperactive behavior reported by their parents. And when the food colorings and preservatives were added back into the children’s diets, the parents reported an increase in hyperactivity.”
What to do? According to Whole New Mom, “Generally speaking, the more natural a food is, the less likely it is to cause a severe behavioral reaction. Keep in mind that there are plenty of individual differences in how children react to specific foods and additives.”
Shopping for organic, all-natural foods is your best bet if you are not label-savvy. Activate recommends, “A balanced diet that includes protein, a variety of fruits and vegetables, complex carbohydrates, and plenty of fiber.” You can also consult with your child’s pediatrician or a nutritionist for tips and advice.
Perhaps the U.S. will make changes as some other countries have. According to the Child Development Institute, “Many countries have banned artificial coloring due to the detrimental effects these chemicals have on children. Linked to ADHD, anxiety, hyperactivity, and headaches in children, artificial coloring can also cause significant behavioral changes. Because artificial coloring is found in many sugary foods, parents often blame behavioral changes on sugar.”
While it is difficult to eliminate all food additives from your child’s diet, being aware is the first step. And the earlier you start making conscious changes to your eating habits at home, the better. As per SAHSSI, “Infants and children are more vulnerable to food additives because their immature digestive systems cannot break down the chemicals efficiently.”
Every child is different, but as a parent, it is our duty to be informed and make healthy choices for feeding our children. Even if you do not find that your child’s behavior is altered by food additives, a well-balanced and nutritious diet is always beneficial for their overall well-being.