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Hyperactive children have problems paying attention, sitting still or controlling impulses to act without thinking. Approximately 9 percent of children have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder 14. The National Institute of Mental Health says ADHD has a median onset of seven years of age. Although ADHD may be treated with behavioral therapy and medication, some foods may cause hyperactivity in children and should be avoided 1.
Many processed foods contain additives such as preservatives, flavors and colorings. A Meta-Analysis of Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Trials; Schab, D.W; Dec 2004'). Red No. 40, Yellow No. 5, 6 and10 and preservatives, such as benzoate, may cause or exacerbate hyperactive behavior in some children.
- Many processed foods contain additives such as preservatives, flavors and colorings.
- 5, 6 and10 and preservatives, such as benzoate, may cause or exacerbate hyperactive behavior in some children.
Pesticides on Fruits and Vegetables
Foods Containing High Levels of Nitrates
Fruits and vegetables are among the healthiest foods, yet some may contain pesticides that cause hyperactivity in children 1. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that boys and girls consume 1 to 2 cups of a variety of fruits and 1 to 2 cups of a variety of vegetables every day to reduce the risk of chronic diseases, including Type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease and cancer. Yet, exposure to chemicals in pesticides called organophosphates may cause hyperactivity in children 1. Organophosphates are especially high in fruits and vegetables, such as strawberries, blueberries and celery, according to Food Safety News in 2010. Research by Maryse Bouchard, Ph.D. published in "Pediatrics" in 2010 found that children who have higher urinary concentrations of organophosphates are more likely to be diagnosed with hyperactivity compared with children who have lower levels and are twice as likely to be hyperactive compared with children who have undetectable levels 1. Most intriguing is research by Chensheng Lu, Ph.D., published in "Environmental Health Perspectives" in 2008 that demonstrates children who switch from a diet of organophosphate contaminated fruits and vegetables to a diet of organic fruits and vegetables without any pesticides for five consecutive days have non-detectable or close-to non-detectable levels of organophosphate pesticides in their urine. This research supports evidence that dietary intake of organophosphate pesticides is a major source of exposure in young children and a cause of hyperactivity 1.
Foods With Added Sugar
Sucrose, high fructose corn syrup and artificial sugars are commonly used in many processed foods and may cause hyperactivity in children 1. Many parents of children diagnosed with ADHD claim that hyperactive behavior follows consumption of foods with sugar or artificial sweeteners. Yet, many researchers say the association between sugar and hyperactivity is weak 1.
Foods Containing High Levels of Nitrates
Can Diet Cause Anger in Kids?
Foods to Avoid on the Feingold Diet
The Effects of Pesticides in Food
Saccharin Safety in Toothpaste
What Are the Causes of Low Serotonin Levels?
Bad Effects of Chemicals in Our Food
10 Worst Food Additives
The Effects of Corn Syrup on Children's Behavior
What Are the Dangers of Preservatives?
- KidsHealth: Hyperactivity
- "Lancet;" Food Additives and Hyperactive Behaviour in 3-Year-Old and 8/9-Year-Old Children in the Community: A Randomised, Double-Blinded, Placebo-Controlled Trial; McCann, D.; Nov 3 2007
- "Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics;" Do Artificial Food Colors Promote Hyperactivity in Children with Hyperactive Syndromes? A Meta-Analysis of Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Trials; Schab, D.W; Dec 2004
- MayoClinic.com: Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Children
Jeffrey Traister is a writer and filmmaker. For more than 25 years, he has covered nutrition and medicine for health-care companies and publishers, also producing digital video for websites, DVDs and commercials. Trained in digital filmmaking at The New School, Traister also holds a Master of Science in human nutrition and medicine from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.