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Sleep and Other Behavior Problems Linked to Food Additives

MSG (monosodium glutamate) is a common flavor enhancer found in numerous foods. High levels of MSG, food colors, and other additives can affect young children, and have been associated with hyperactivity, sleep disorders, and even autism.

A study cited in the journal Pediatrics reported that more than 50 percent of hyperactive children show fewer behavior problems and had less trouble sleeping when put on a restricted diet free of all artificial and chemical food additives, chocolate, monosodium glutamate (MSG), preservatives, and caffeine. Large quantities of sweets and refined foods can also lead to hyperactivity.

If a child has trouble getting to sleep, staying asleep, or sleeping soundly, try eliminating all food products that contain these chemicals. To help calm a child before bedtime, offer chamomile tea (iced or regular).

"The Role Of Diet And Behaviour In Childhood."
Breakey J. J Paediatr Child Health 1997 Jun;33(3):190-4.

This article reviewed the results of the most important research published in 1985-1995, on the relationship between diet and behavior in children. Particular emphasis was placed on double-blind, placebo-controlled studies. A wide range of foods and foods additives were found to adversely affect behavior, and the symptoms triggered were typical of those of children labeled with attention-deficit disorder, hyperactive disorder, sleep disturbances and mood swings.

See also:

"Hyperactivity"
http://www.goodness.co.uk/hyper.shtml

"Sleep Disorders"
http://www.merck.com/pubs/mmanual_home/sec6/64.htm

"Food Additives to Avoid"
http://www.cspinet.org/reports/food.htm

"Best and Worst Children's Foods"
http://www.cspinet.org/kids/10b&w.htm

"ADHD & Diet: How Food Affects Mood"
http://www.mothering.com/14-0-0/html/14-2-0/14-2-adhd101.shtml

"ADHD Report and Parent's Guide"
http://www.cspinet.org/diet.html

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