ARI Publication 40 – 2013 Version
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of food additives found that they increased
hyperactivity in typical children. This was a large study of 153 3-year-old and 144 8/9-year-old
typical children, and found that either artificial colors or sodium benzoate (a food preservative) at
levels typically found in foods caused hyperactivity.
McCann et al, 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 Lancet 2007 Nov
3;370(9598):1560-7. Erratum in: Lancet 2007Nov 3;370(9598):1542
Individuals with autism appear to be more sensitive than the general population, since they often
lack the sulfate needed to detoxify food additives and preservatives (see Sulfation section).
A major study reviewed the reported benefits of organic foods. It analyzed a total of 17 studies in
humans and 223 studies of food content/contamination. The major differences were:
- Organic foods rarely had detectable levels of pesticides (7%) compared to conventional foods
(37%). Two studies found that children on organic diets had lower levels of pesticides in their
- Organic milk and organic chicken had higher amounts of certain essential omega-3 fatty acids.
Similarly, two studies of mothers found that those who ate mostly organic dairy and meat products
had higher levels of beneficial essential fatty acids in their breast milk compared to mothers on
more conventional diets.
- Vitamins and most minerals were present in similar amounts in organic foods vs. conventional
foods. However, organic foods had higher levels of phosphorus, an essential mineral.
Smith-Spangler C et al, Are Organic Foods Safer or Healthier Than ConventionalAlternatives?
A Systematic Review, Ann Intern Med. 2012;157 CrystalSmith-Spangler,
For more information on diets avoiding unsafe food additives, go to: www.feinqold.org