Goyette 1978: Effects of artificial colors on hyperkinetic children: a double-blind challenge study

chocolate cookies Psychopharmacology Bulletin, 1978. April;  14(2):39-40

Goyette performed two studies:

Experiment One:  16 children were put on the diet and were much improved according to both parents and teachers.  Then they were challenged with two cookies per day (with or without food dyes).  There were no significant differences.

  1.  The cookies were given AFTER a meal — one after breakfast and one after lunch.
  2. The cookies only had 13 mg food dyes in them … a very small “dose.”
  3.  The author reported that there was a “trend towards performance deficits following consumption of challenge materials” … but not after placebo … which “failed to reach statistical significance.  With only 16 children, you need a really big result to get a statistical significance.

The author noted that younger children reacted more strongly.  All children were given the same amount of food dyes — so for a younger child, 13 mg would be a bigger “dose” per body weight than it would be for an older/bigger child.

Experiment Two:  13 younger children were used in a similar study. They had a 45% reduction in behavior problems when put on the diet, and they had clear reactions to the challenge cookies but not to the placebo cookies.

QUOTE:  “These data firmly establish that artificial colors may be particularly disruptive to younger children…”

NOTE:  Medical doctors surely know that medication dosage must be adjusted to the weight of the child.  If you did a headache study using only baby aspirin, you might find that it only cures headaches in babies. 

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