The raison d'etre of this website is to provide you with hard scientific information which may help you make informed decisions in your quest for health (so far I have blogged concise summaries of over 1,500 scientific studies and have had three books published).

My research is mainly focused on the effects of cholesterol, saturated fat and statin drugs on health. If you know anyone who is worried about their cholesterol levels and heart disease, or has been told to take statin drugs you could send them a link to this website, and to my statin or cholesterol or heart disease books.

David Evans

Independent Health Researcher

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Artificial food colourings and preservatives lead to behavioural problems in children

This study was published in the Archives of  Disease in Childhood 2004 Jun;89(6):506-11

Study title and authors:
The effects of a double blind, placebo controlled, artificial food colourings and benzoate preservative challenge on hyperactivity in a general population sample of preschool children.
Bateman B, Warner JO, Hutchinson E, Dean T, Rowlandson P, Gant C, Grundy J, Fitzgerald C, Stevenson J.
Infection, Inflammation and Repair Division, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK.

This study can be accessed at:

The aim of the study was to determine whether artificial food colourings and a preservative in the diet of 3 year old children in the general population influence hyperactive behaviour.

A total of 1,873 children were included in the study, of which some showed signs of hyperactivity and/or atopy (allergies).

For the first week all children were subjected to a diet eliminating artificial colourings and benzoate preservatives (withdrawal phase). They then received, in random order, periods of dietary challenge with a drink containing artificial colourings (20 mg daily) and sodium benzoate (45 mg daily) (active period), or a placebo mixture, supplementary to their diet.

The study found:
(a) There were significant reductions in hyperactive behaviour during the withdrawal phase.
(b) There were significantly greater increases in hyperactive behaviour during the active than the placebo period based on parental reports.
(c) These effects were not influenced by the presence or absence of hyperactivity, nor by the presence or absence of atopy.

To conclude: There is a general adverse effect of artificial food colouring and benzoate preservatives on the behaviour of 3 year old children.