Artificial colourings and preservatives can have negative effects on us all. Children in particular can be dramatically affected by food colours and preservatives leading to behavioural problems and worsening of autism spectrum, ADHD and learning difficulties. If your child has any of these problems a trial off the offending food additives can make a significant change. Some children will have a dramatic improvement by cutting down on the additives while others might need complete elimination.
The best way to avoid the offending additives is to minimise processed foods. If processed foods are in the diet then careful checking of labels will identify those foods that should be avoided.
The following artificial food colours should be avoided:
E102, E104 ,E107, E110, E122, E123, E124, E127, E128, E129, E132, E133, E142, E151, E155, natural colour E160b (annatto).
The following preservatives should also be avoided:
Benzoates E210-213 mainly in drinks, sauces, processed foods, Sulphites E220-228 mainly in sausages, soft drinks, dried fruit, Nitrates, E 249-252 mainly processed meat e.g. bacon.
Also avoid flavour enhancers E621-626,627,631,635 and artificial sweeteners.
Safe colours are – Turmeric yellow 100, Riboflavin yellow 101, Cochineal red 120, Chlorophyll green 140, Copper chlorophyll green 141, Caramel brown 150a, Betacarotene yellow 160a, Yellow 160e, Beet red 162, Anthocyanins red, blue, violet 163, Saffron 164, Calcium carbonate white 170, Titanium dioxide white 171, Iron oxides yellow/red /black 172.
A great resource is the Food Intolerance Network. They also have handy cards with the offending additives so that you can check items while you’re shopping.