Weiss 1980: Behavioral responses to artificial food colors

weiss1980Science, 1980. March 28;207 (4438): 1487-9.

QUOTE:  ”Twenty-two young children, maintained on a diet that excluded certain foods, were challenged intermittently with a blend of seven artificial colors in a double-blind trial. Parents’ observations provided the criteria of response. One child that responded mildly to the challenge and one that responded dramatically were detected. The latter, a 34-month-old female, showed a significant increase in aversive behaviors. These results further confirm previous controlled studies.”    (emphasis added)


  • The children were not diagnosed as hyperkinetic (hyperactive).
  • Not all parents restricted the salicylate-containing fruits and vegetables Dr. Weiss had requested that they avoid.
  • 35.26 mg of mixed colors were used as the “challenge.” Compare to 150 mg in one Tb green ketchup.
  • Lastly, when a challenge does not provoke worse behavior, it does not mean that the diet did not “work” but that the challenge did not “work.”  It is surprising how many researchers themselves seem to get this wrong.

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