Medical News: FDA Panel Says No Support for Linking Food Dyes, Hyper Kids - in Pediatrics, ADHD/ADD from MedPage Today

Medical News: FDA Panel Says No Support for Linking Food Dyes, Hyper Kids - in Pediatrics, ADHD/ADD from MedPage Today

The (US) FDA's Food Advisory Committee has voted 11-3 that there is not enough evidence to conclude that artificial dyes used to color foods contribute to hyperactivity in children. But the panel didn't rule out that food coloring might have a negative behavioral effect on kids. The committee agreed that more studies need to be done, and split over whether thousands of food products that contain dyes should have to carry labels warning there may be some risk of consuming the chemical colouring. What the research seems to be showing is that for the most part, food colouring doesn't have any behavioural effect on most children, but there is a small subset who have a reaction to these additives. A SMALL subset. Is there a relationship between the food colouring and ADHD? None was found. That means there is no evidence that food colouring causes ADHD, none, but that for some children who have ADHD there MIGHT be an increase in unwanted behaviours because of these additives....but right now there really isn't enough to say that.

Should you avoid food colourings? Go ahead, it won't hurt. But if your child has been diagnosed with ADHD removing food colouring and other additives doesn't mean they will no longer have ADHD. One doesn't cause the other. Feed your child good food. Watch for any reactions they may have to certain foods. Remember, two children might eat the same food. Both have a slight reaction to it. One child has ADHD. That child may act out because they can't tolerate the discomfort. It's really as simple as that for most children. As parents we should focus our attention on treatments and interventions that have been show by science to work effectively, and really not jump to a conclusion that has the smallest chance of being right of all choices. As usual, talk to your family doctor about these concerns. Some children really do have food sensitivity, and if that child has ADHD, low frustration tolerance and problems with impulsivity, they don't need an upset stomach or itchy skin and eyes added to their problems for the day.

For more information on ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, parenting, child behaviour, academic problems and relationship issues, please feel free to visit my website at I also have specific information on ADHD available at and information on my counselling and assessment services can be found at either the British Columbia Psychological Association (click here), Psychology Today (click here) or my AAMFT Family Therapist website (Click here). I am a registered Psychologist here in British Columbia, along with being a Registered Marriage and Family Therapist and teacher of special education. There is also some specific information on treatment for aggression and anger in children on my webpage called "The Angry Child," (Click here)

I look forward to hearing from you.

Dr. Jim Roche
Registered Psychologist
Offices in Burnaby and Vancouver, British Columbia