Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Hyperactivity in children

Has anybody noticed how children behave in public these days?
My personal theory is that there is too much sugar in the kids diet. Talking to a friend I was put onto the efforts of this woman, Sue Dengate, who has been campaigning for twenty years against the adverse reactions caused by food additives not only to children but to adults.

Do you suffer from food allergy or food intolerance?

Allergy: hayfever, eczema or asthma

Intolerance: migraine, irritable bowel symptoms, behaviour problems

skin (rashes, swelling)

airways (asthma, stuffy or runny nose, frequent colds and infections)

gastrointestinal tract (irritable bowel symptoms, colic, bloating, diarrhea, vomiting, frequent mouth ulcers, reflux, bedwetting, 'sneaky poos', 'sticky poos')

central nervous system (migraines, headaches, anxiety, depression, lethargy, impairment of memory and concentration, panic attacks, irritability, restlessness, inattention, sleep disturbance, restless legs, moodswings, PMT).

Let's talk about bread.

Bread preservative and the need for change

Manufacturers of Australia's two biggest selling brands of bread – Tip Top and Mighty Soft - are currently phasing out their use of the bread preservative calcium propionate (282) due to consumer concerns.

What has happened with the bread preservative is important because it shows that current medical thinking about food additives is wrong. The prevailing scientific model says that only a few children are affected by food additives so the greater good of the community is served the continued use of these additives. However, the move against the bread preservative shows that many more children are affected than authorities admit, and that the greater good of the community would be best served by the removal of harmful additives.

A paradigm shift

It also means that the use of other harmful additives should be re-evaluated. A change in scientific thinking like this is called a paradigm shift, and usually occurs because of something other than scientific research. In the case of food additives, it seems that the shift will be due to consumer demand.

When the Food Intolerance Network used the Freedom of Information Act to ask our food regulators (FSANZ) for scientific evidence to show that 282 is safe, they were unable to provide any scientific studies at all. Consumers often say, ‘the government wouldn’t allow it if it wasn’t safe’, but they are misled. As far as children’s behaviour and learning goes, the government is not looking.

Meanwhile, our kids are in crisis. Last year, a quarter of children who attended outpatient services at Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne were there for learning difficulties and behavioural problems rather than medical conditions. A recent ACER survey showed that 30% of Year 9 students lacked basic literacy skills.

The bread preservative is not the only additive to cause problems. Twenty years ago, when more than 800 schools in
New York City removed artificial colours and two preservatives from their school lunches, the numbers of learning disabled kids halved. This finding was ignored by authorities and since then, the use of harmful food additives has increased dramatically. Many new additives have been introduced or used in larger doses, including the bread preservative. In my experience this is the worst of all additives, often associated with speech delay or learning difficulties and behaviour problems.

Avoid these additives

from www.fedup.com.au




natural colour 160b (annatto)


Sorbates 200-203

Benzoates 210-213

Sulphites 220-228

Nitrates, nitrites 249-252

Propionates 280-283


Gallates 310-312

TBHQ, BHA, BHT 319-321


Glutamates incl MSG 620-625

Ribonucleotides 627, 631, 635

Hydrolysed Vegetable Protein (HVP)


No numbers since they are trade secrets

Ribo Rash (flavour enhancer 635 or ribonucleotides E635, 627, 631)

Welcome to our special feature on the effects of new additive ribonucleotides (flavour enhancer 635, a mixture of 631disodium guanylate and 627disodium inosinate), which cause what we call Ribo Rash.

This set of additives seems to be very different from all other additives. As well as the usual effects of food additives (such as children's behaviour problems, headaches, heart palpitations, irritable bowel symptoms) this group can cause an unbearably itchy rash or welts and/or possibly life-threatening swelling of the lips and tongue up to 48 hours after consumption. The rash can come and go and last for up to two weeks and can affect people who have never in their lives before suffered from itchy rashes.

The delayed long-lasting reaction means that most people don't realise the cause of their symptoms. Some consumers have suffered an unbearably itchy rash for years before identifying these additives as a problem. In some people and possibly unborn babies, a reaction to 635 seems to have triggered severe multiple food intolerance.

Flavour enhancer 635 (ribonucleotides) was approved in Australia in December 1994. This new additive is a combination of disodium guanylate (627, originally isolated from sardines, now made from yeasts) and disodium inosinate (631, originally isolated from the Bonito fish, now made from yeasts).

As a group, these additives are known collectively as ribonucleotides, nucleotides or scientifically as 'the 5 prime nucleotides'. In the USA, these additives are called Food Flavor Enhancers Disodium Inosinate (DSI or IMP), Disodium Guanylate (DSG or GMP), and the combination of IMP and GMP (I&G). IMP, GMP and I&G are also known as nucleotides. Reactions can range from a single itchy rash to life-threatening swelling of the lips and tongue. If you eat these additives once a week or more, you may appear to have a chronic rash. You don't need a history of rashes or food allergy. Anyone can be affected.

Effects of MSG increased 10-15 times

Scientists have recently found that the flavour enhancing effect of MSG is increased up to 10 to 15 times when MSG is used in combination with ribonucleotides. See 'Yeast Extracts: production, properties and components' by Rolf Sommer, paper given at the 9th International Symposium on Yeasts, Sydney, August 1996, www.ohly.de/publications/publications.html.

'No added MSG'

MSG (monosodium glutamate) is normally listed as flavour enhancer 621, but can also be listed as hydrolysed vegetable protein (HVP), hydrolysed plant protein (HPP), 'yeast extract' or even 'natural flavour'. Many products claiming no added MSG will contain ribonucleotides as well as a source of natural glutamates.

Not for babies and young children

Ribonucleotides are not permitted in foods intended specifically for infants and young children, and people who must avoid purines for conditions such as gout are advised to avoid these additives.


Reactions to nucleotides can range from a single itchy rash to life-threatening swelling of the lips and tongue. If you eat these additives once a week or more, you may appear to have a chronic rash. You don't need a history of rashes or food allergy. Anyone can be affected. Some people are affected by the more usual reactions to food additives – irritability, children’s behaviour problems, headaches, irritable bowel symptoms - but what makes these additives different is the number of rash reactions in people who are usually affected in other ways.

Reactions to ribonucleotides are difficult to identify because they are not a true allergy. They can occur within minutes or can be delayed for hours or even days.


Most doctors, allergists and dermatologists appear to have no knowledge of the effects of these additives.

Symptoms have been variously misdiagnosed as a virus (including chickenpox and pityriasis), psoriasis, shingles, chronic eczema, dermatitis, dandruff, allergy to soaps and detergents, food allergy "but it could be any one of a thousand foods, you'll never work it out", a "non-specific reaction which will eventually disappear", hypersensitive vasculitis, allergy to sunlight (rash on face and neck), pregnancy, menopause, 'emotional', foot-and-mouth disease (rash inside mouth), ideopathic anaphylaxis, and "it couldn't be a food additive because the reaction wouldn't last that long".

As a final note I should say that I personally suffer from many food intolerances and have allergic reactions to many different foods and drinks. The latest bad reaction was to red wine I had last week. Thank God for single malt scotch.


Hammer said...

Thanks for the info. that is sobering information.

My niece and nephew both have severe reactions to some of those additives and if they get them they are sick for a week. Rash, blood in their stool, hyperactivity etc..

I knew one kid who's behavior went form normal to psychotic everytime he got an apple. We don't even know what all they spray on our fruits and vegetables.

Paul F. said...

We tend to buy foods where you can pronounce all the ingredients. Not always, but rule of thumb....

It'll cost a bit more, but it's better that going to the hospital and paying for that. You know what I mean?

The Phosgene Kid said...

It's not the sugar as much as it is the lead and industrial chemicals I can't begin to pronounce. Corn Syrup caused the downfall of America.

Paul F. said...

I have to agree with that statement. There is this high-fructose corn syrup in just about everything liquid that has sweetness to it. I'm going on an anti-high-fructose corn syrup campaign right away.

Jeannie said...

My mother rarely bought processed food. I rarely bought processed food until I worked but still prefer homecooked anything. So do my kids. I have a problem eating wheat and I'm beginning to suspect it's more white flour products than whole grain...also react to nitrates in meats. My kids don't have any issues as of yet (in their 20's).
I would say that kids do get too much sugar - it's in everything these days - but I don't think it makes them hyperactive. It makes them active because they have immediate energy from it and need to burn it off - it's how they are made. A hyperactive kid would be unable to keep still regardless of the diet. And these kids learned to cope back in our day - they jiggled their legs or tapped fingers rather than behave badly.
There is an epidemic of bad parenting as well as food additives.