How do your children behave at home, at play and in school? Does their behavior leave a lot to be desired? Research has shown that food additives such as sugar, food coloring and other chemicals may cause some children to experience poor health, poor learning, and unacceptable behavior.
Recently, I was speaking with an elementary school teacher about the snacks and drinks that children bring to school in their lunch bags. She stated that some children who bring junk foods to school have difficulty learning and usually exhibit behavior problems.
Dr. Benjamin Feingold, a noted allergist, believed that sugar and other food additives can cause behavioral and other learning problems in children. A recent report by the Center for Science in the Public Interest identified 17 studies suggesting that diet may adversely affect the behavior of at least some children. Most of the studies focused on artificial colors in foods consumed by children. The kinds of behavioral problems cited include the inability to concentrate and restlessness, which could contribute to difficulty with schoolwork.
In the African American, Latino and low-income white communities, many children are drinking intensely concentrated, sweetened, colored drinks and eating ice pops with the same ingredients. The ingredients listed on the labels of these drinks, including artificial colors, artificial flavors, preservatives, BHA, BHT, and TBHQ, could spell danger to children who are sensitive to these substances. Another ingredient, sulfite, has been found to cause asthma attacks in susceptible individuals. Reports indicate that African-American children experience a greater frequency of asthma attacks than other children.
In addition, excessive sugar intake contributes to obesity, tooth decay, and even diabetes in those genetically at risk for the disease. High-sugar diets may also prevent children from eating of more nutritious food.
If you want your children to function at their full capacity in school, I suggest that you read the list of ingredients on snack foods and beverages. That small but beautiful computer in the head, known as the brain, depends on good nutrition. There is a saying, “If you put junk in the computer, you’ll get junk out.”
I have created a poster about Drinks that Drain the Brain. It reads: If you drink red, you may lose your head, if you drink green, it may make you scream, if you drink blue, you may feel blue, if you drink yellow, it may make you mellow.
In our educational systems, when children misbehave or do poorly in their studies, they are placed in special education classes and sometimes given drugs to keep them calm and quiet. If your child has difficulty in school, you may be able to do something about it by paying more attention to what he or she is eating and drinking. After producing such beautiful children, think about keeping them beautiful by avoiding chemical additives.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest may be contacted by visiting or by writing to them at Suite 1875 Connecticut Ave., Washington, D.C. 20009.
The Feingold Association produces a monthly newsletter for parents and schools. To get a copy, contact the Feingold Association of the United States or go to
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