Skip The Drugs…Change Your Food Sources

Written by H. Sandra Chevalier-Batik of Iconic Woman

August 21, 2008

Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

I was doing some research for a fiend whose child had just been “diagnosed” Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) by a school nurse who suggested drug therapy. My first thought was a Kindergarten version of ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’…dazed and compliant preschoolers.

In the past decade, ADHD, ”Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, a neurobehavioral developmental disorder has become one of the most commonly diagnosed conditions of childhood, and is being increasingly diagnosed in adults. ADHD is characterized by a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity, as well as forgetfulness, poor impulse control or impulsivity, and distractibility. The pharmaceutical medical industrial complex currently considers ADHD a “persistent and chronic condition for which no medical cure is available. Methods of treatment usually involve some combination of medications, behavior modifications, life style changes, and counseling. (BTW side effects aside, MEDICAL TREATMENT is spelled with two-cha-chings!)

So how do most ‘school nurses’, Physicians’ assistants and doctors come up with the very common ADHD diagnosis? Most medical professions use the “Desk Reference to the Diagnostic Criteria From DSM-IV-TR®”, compiled by American Psychiatric Association. Available in a spiral-bound book, and online accessible by computer, or PDA, the diagnostic criteria from DSM-IV-TR® is one of the most commonly used tools used by Physicians and other “prescribing” health care professions. Another ‘tool’, Desk Reference (PDR), which includes every prescription drug package insert. The guides serve as ‘medical cliff notes’, listing symptoms, probably diagnosis, suggested drug protocols, prescription drug side effect information and possible drug interactions.

Guidelines issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend medications like CONCERTA® among first-line therapies for children with ADHD as part of a comprehensive treatment program. Go to the CONCERTA® website(1), READ the SIDE EFFECTS.


What rational person would suggest a little kid’s developing brain be put at risk, to assure social compliance? I knew there had to be a better way to deal with “the fidgets” so I did what Inconvenient Women do best, I looked stuff up, and sent the results out to a few thousand of my closets friends.


In September of 2007, William Atkins did a brilliant, if little noted, piece on hyperactivity in children. I found it on IWIRE one of my favorite obscure resource sources. For the full article go to:

Study links hyper kids with artificial preservatives and colorings

Sodium benzoate and other food preservatives and colorings have been linked with hyperactivity in children. Although such ingredients have been thought in the past to produce adverse behavior in children, this study is considered the first scientific evidence of its kind.

The British study from researchers at the University of Southampton, England, has found that the food preservative sodium benzoate (also called benzoate of soda, with chemical formula C6H5COONa), when found with food dyes and colorings, can increase hyperactive behavior in children. Jim Stevenson, psychologist at the University of Southampton, and lead researcher of the study states, “We now have clear evidence that mixtures of certain food colors and benzoate preservative can adversely influence the behavior of children. We have now shown that for a large group of children in the general population, consumption of certain mixtures of artificial food colors and benzoate preservative can influence their hyperactive behavior.”

Food colorings and preservatives–which are often found in sweets such as ice cream, candy, and soda, what children love to eat–were studied. For six weeks over one hundred fifty randomly three-year-olds and over one hundred forty randomly eight-year-olds, in Southampton, England, were studied as to their diet.

The children displayed behaviors previous to the study ranging from normal to hyperactive.

They were provided food that was free of additives. Each day they were given one drink, either fruit juice or one of two mixtures of sodium benzoate preservative and food colorings. One mixture contained sodium benzoate and sunset yellow, tartrazine, carmoisine, and ponceau. The other mixture contained sunset yellow quinoline yellow, carmoisine, and allura red. They were not told which they were given, the fruit juice or one of the two mixtures.

The children who were given the benzoate preservative and food coloring mixtures showed, in some cases, more hyperactive behavior than the children given fruit juice. However, the increases in hyperactive behavior were not consistent between the two mixtures. The researchers contend that the hyperactive behavior may be linked to sodium benzoate and one or more of the specific artificial colorings, rather than to all of the colorings.

The U.S. $1.5 million study was funded by the British Food Standards Agency (FSA) and written up on September 6, 2007, in the journal The Lancet.


From the website of the Food Standards Agency comes this advise, “Parents of children showing signs of hyperactivity are being advised that cutting certain artificial colours from their diets might have some beneficial effects. The colours – Sunset yellow (E110), Quinoline yellow (E104), Carmoisine (E122), Allura red (E129), Tartrazine (E102) Ponceau 4R (E124), and Sodium benzonate (E211) – were studied as part of new FSA-commissioned research.”

Within the Friday, September 7, 2007, FSA article “Agency revises advice on certain artificial colours”, Andrew Wadge, the FSA’s Chief Scientist, said: “This study is a helpful additional contribution to our knowledge of the possible effects of artificial food colours on children’s behaviour.”

“After considering the COT’s [Committee on Toxicity (COT)] opinion on the research findings we have revised our advice to consumers: if a child shows signs of hyperactivity or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) then eliminating the colours used in the Southampton study from their diet might have some beneficial effects.”

“However, we need to remember that there are many factors associated with hyperactive behaviour in children. These are thought to include genetic factors, being born prematurely, or environment and upbringing.”

“The Agency has shared these research findings with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which is currently conducting a review of the safety of all food colours that are approved for use in the European Union, at the request of the European Commission. This review is being undertaken because of the amount of time that has elapsed since these colours were first evaluated.”

“If parents are concerned about any additives they should remember that, by law, food additives must be listed on the label so they can make the choice to avoid the product if they want to.”

[William Atkins’ note: When buying foods, always LOOK at the labels. What you don’t read may hurt you and your loved ones when you consume such foods.]

Inconvenient Women take action. If you know a mom who is drugging their child at the suggestion of a school nurse or family doctor, ask her to take this or other nutritional research to them and at least try to change their child’s diet before resorting to the BIG PHARM option.


If the child is a little girl, get her to a female pediatrician, specializing in precocious puberty. Girls as young as four and five years old are experiencing what their moms dealt with at twelve and thirteen. (See %%%precocious puberty%%% in Iconic Woman article archive and go to:

Explore every option before “medicating” compliant behavior.


(1) CONCERTA® and OROS® are registered trademarks of ALZA Corporation
© Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. 2008. All rights reserved.
This site is published by McNeil Pediatrics™, Division of Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., which is solely responsible for its contents.
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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.