When it comes to food intolerances or behaviour, who is the best judge of what and how food and its additives affect a child? The parents are.
A recent article in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health wrote that while some children did indeed experience a reaction to some food additives, food intolerances is ‘often confused with a range of adverse symptoms which may be coincidental to the ingestion of food’. It went further and stated that there was no evidence to suggest that food additives such as food colourings or flavours cause clinical symptoms.
On one side of the issue we have Dr Paul Turner and Professor Andrew Kemp of Sydney’s Westmead Children’s Hospital whose research has found that only 1 – 2% of children have ‘medically-verified’ food intolerance. On the other side estimates that 20% of parents currently believe that their children suffer from intolerances to food additives, food or a common ingredient found in food.
Regardless of whether or not the food intolerance is medically verified, parents are always aware that certain foods or their additives or ingredients may affect their child in different ways. We have all heard horror stories of how some children react after consuming red cordial or a lot of diary. Just because it is not officially, medically classified as food intolerance doesn’t mean that your child is not showing intolerance. Some children may not be classified as lactose intolerance and yet will suffer from an upset stomach after consuming. Some children get headaches after consuming foods with yellow, artificial colours added.
As always, if you feel you child may be suffering from an allergy or serious food intolerance you should seek medical advice, however if you child has just a mild reaction you should monitor their diet closely and consider eliminating the food products that contain the culprit. Many of the foods today that cause reactions in children are highly-processed anyway so removing them from your child’s diet is a good idea. Beware of the foods, additives, ingredients that are affecting your child, read the labels, educate yourself for the benefit of your child’s health. If an additive is causing an immediate physical reaction for your child imagine what the long-term impact may be.
Coles Supermarkets have announced recently that they will be removing all artificial colours and flavours, including MSG, from their Private brand products. A great sign that the additives are making a difference to our children and one that will hopefully make shopping for appropriate food that little bit easier.