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Read the paragraph and fill in the missing words using the vocabulary 1.
Reporter: The about food additives and children’s behavior continues, this time with a study linking food additives and a common preservative to hyperactivity. But not everyone is convinced this latest research is definite. Certain food colorings and other additives can worsen hyperactive behaviors in children aged 3 to 9, UK researchers report. Tests on more than 300 children showed differences in their behavior when they drank fruit drinks mixed with food colorings and preservatives, say Professor Jim Stevenson and colleagues at the University of Southampton.
“These findings show that effects are not just seen in children with extreme hyperactivity but can also be seen in the general population,” the researchers write.
Stevenson’s team, which has been studying the effects of food additives in children for years, made up drinks to test in a group of 3-year-olds and a second group of children aged 8 and 9. Children received ordinary fruit juice or a drink in look and taste that contained common additives. Some children were given a drink containing colorings typically found in a couple of 50 gram bags of candy. Others were given a higher level of colorings, equal to the additives in four of these bags. Parents, teachers, and the researchers then studied the children’s behavior. Both mixtures significantly affected the older children, when compared with the regular drink. “Although the use of artificial coloring in food might seem , the same cannot be said for sodium benzoate, which has an important preservative function,” the researchers write. “The changes to food additive rules could be .”
The issue of whether food additives can affect children’s behavior has been controversial for decades. Dr. Benjamin Feingold has written books arguing that not only do artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives affect children, but so do natural chemicals found in some fruits and vegetables.
Several studies have contradicted this notion. And some have only found an effect of food additives on the behavior of children diagnosed with extreme hyperactivity. In this latest research, children generally reacted poorly to the mixtures.
“We have found an adverse effect of food additives on the hyperactive behavior of 3-year-old and 8- to 9year-old children,” the researchers write.
Stevenson has this message for parents: “Parents should not think that simply taking these additives out of food will prevent all hyperactive disorders. We know that many other influences are at work, but this at least is one a child can avoid,” he says.
Dr. Sue Baic says that the study is well-designed and “potentially very important.” “It supports what scientists have known for a long time: that feeding children on diets that mainly heavily processed foods which may also be high in fat, salt, or sugar is not for health.”
Others disagree. “The paper is not a demonstration of cause and effect,” says Dr. Paul Illing.