Sarantinos 1990: Synthetic Food Colouring and Behavioural Change in Children with Attention Deficit Disorder: A Double-Blind, Placebo Controlled, Repeated Measures Study

Proceedings of the Nutrition Society of Australia, 1990 pg. 233.

Sarantinos studied 13orange-coloring children,  4-14 years old, who had been at least 6 weeks on a diet free of synthetic food dyes as part of their treatment for ADHD.  The behavior of 9 of them had improved, according to the parents, while parents of the other 4 weren’t sure whether they had improved.

Sarantinos performed a double-blind placebo-controlled study on these children, using both the traditional Conners scale and the more sensitive Rowe scale to measure symptoms, and found that only a few of the children reacted to the dye challenges.  Nevertheless, he said, a dye-free diet may be useful for some.

QUOTE:  “As part of their overall management, a diet excluding synthetic food colourings may be of benefit in modifying the behaviour of a small number of children with attention deficit disorder.”

NOTE:  Sarantinos used only 10 mg Yellow 5 or Yellow 6.  That is less than half the too-small amount that even the Nutrition Foundation recommended for researchers to use.  No matter how beautifully designed the study, when you use only a tiny amount of food dye as your “challenge,” you should not expect to get dramatic results.

NOTE:  He put his small amount of dye in orange juice.  As any Feingold mom can tell you, orange juice is a salicylate and all by itself may cause problems (which Sarantino noted for two of the children).  Giving a salicylate-containing juice for both placebo and challenge material will certainly dilute any response you hope to receive.

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