Rowe 1994: Synthetic Food Coloring and Behavior: A Dose Response Effect in a Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Repeated-Measures Study

Rowe1994-chartJournal of Pediatrics, November 1994, Vol. 135, pp.691-8

150 of 200 children [75%] improved on an open trial of a diet free of synthetic food coloring, and deteriorated upon introduction of foods containing synthetic colorings.

34 other “clear” or “suspected” reactors plus 20 “controls” were studied in a separate double blind study. 82.5% of the “suspected reactors,” 27% of the “uncertain reactors,” and 10% of the “controls” reacted to a mild single-item challenge of tartrazine (Yellow #5).  The kind of reaction and length of time the children were affected depended on the dose.

QUOTE:  “A dose response effect was observed.”

NOTE: Notice on the chart above (click it to enlarge), that this dose effect was obtained by using 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 mg food dye — this is quite an accomplishment and a tribute to the sensitivity of the Rowe questionnaire over the older Conners’ questionnaire for monitoring reactions.

NOTE:  The 200 children who tried the 6-week diet program were drawn from a total population of 800 children who had been referred to the clinic for evaluation of possible ADHD.  These were not children specifically chosen because of the likelihood to be diet-responsive.

NOTE:  10% of the controls reacted to the Yellow 5 challenge — remember, this was a group not expected to react to food dye, and not diagnosed with any disorder.

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