Ban preservatives and colours in our food to save our children

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Whether a child has a diagnosed behavioural disorder (such as ADHD), or is simply going through a difficult stage, latest research has confirmed that food can be a contributing factor. 

For some of the population, artificial food additives (colours, preservatives and flavour enhancers) can cause adverse reactions, including behavioural issues. A preservative commonly used to prevent bread from going mouldy, called calcium propionate, can cause irritability, restlessness, inattention and sleep disturbances in children prone to food sensitivities.

Additionally, one famous study has also found food colourings (particularly red, yellow and orange), and the preservative sodium benzoate, can cause hyperactivity in some children. While findings did cause some controversy initially, due to inconsistent findings between age groups, a recent 2010 report by the US Center for Science in the Public Interest has also called for artificial colours to be replaced by natural colourings, due to health concerns.

In Australia, these food colourings are still approved for use, and unfortunately, for those affected, foods to avoid include many popular children’s treats, like confectionary, soft drink, cordial, flavoured milk, cakes and biscuits.

My 12 year old son, when he was 2-3, was mistaken by others to have ADHD. After 2 weeks of strict diet change and ensuring he had no preservatives in his diet, his behaviour had a huge turn around and he was such a well behaved little boy. Even though I was quite strict there were alot of things, foodwise, that were out of my control, such as meat additives, snacks on the run, what he was fed at daycare and what friends and family fed him when they babysat. Not to mention I was on a pension and preservative free food is much more expensive. After 2 more children, being back at work full time, and the time restrictions that come with life nowadays,  my 6 year old daughter has been diagnosed with Dysfunctional mood disregulation disorder. This causes her to have sudden, long and emotional outburts which is out of her control. She is also unable to regulate her own sleep and has to be on melatonin. I feel that additives in food is a major factor in childhood behaviour and developmental deficits. 

We need to change the way that additives are regulated in Australia and what is going into our foods. 

 



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