Additives Link to
Hyperactive Children

Removing artificial colourings and preservatives from young children's diets could have a significant impact on reducing hyperactivity.

Recently (2004) researchers studied 300 children who were split into groups and subjected to different diets, some containing artificial additives such as tartrazine and sunset yellow.

They found that the three-year-olds became significantly less hyperactive when they were on diets where the additives had been removed. And they became much more hyperactive when they were put back on the high-additive diet, according to the study in Archives Of Disease In Childhood.

Removing these substances from products could be in the long-term interests of public health. In recent years, manufacturers have come under increasing pressure from campaigners to cut artificial colourings and preservatives from products, particularly those marketed to youngsters.

Manufacturers include additives and E numbers to make foods more attractive. Either they make them look better or taste better. One of the worst offenders is tatrazine, which gives squash and other foods their orange colour. It may also make a significant proportion of children hyperactive. Tatrazine is also an 'anti-nutrient' which means it depletes the body of zinc, an essential mineral for children because it boosts the immune system and reduces the risk of allergy.

In one study, four out of 10 children developed eczema or asthma within 45 minutes of being fed it. Two other main offenders are monosodium glutamate (MSG) found in some potato crisps and caffeine. Both can cause hyperactivity and behavioural problems - and some kids are more badly affected than others. These children may already have a tendency towards hyperactivity, difficulty concentrating and problems regulating their blood sugar, and serious problems arise because these brain stimulants tip them over the edge. Certain chemicals in foods may be acting like drugs in children and should be avoided at all costs.

DIET NOT DRUGS

A quarter of a million NHS prescriptions for Ritalin are handed out each year to children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

More private prescriptions for the drug - an amphetamine with many properties similar to cocaine - are also written by doctors in Britain.

ADHD is now estimated to affect one in 10 boys in the UK, where one in five sufferers are girls. However, around two thirds of the children prescribed Ritalin could see a major improvement in behaviour with a simple change of diet. A third of "hyperactive" children have been found to have a severe intolerance to E numbers and other artificial food additives. A further third have a high sensitivity to natural ingredients such as gluten or lactose.

Only 33 per cent turn out to have mental health problems not affected by diet.

ADDITIVE LABELLING

The magazine Which? believes that the current system of labelling additives is so complex it confuses people who want to avoid them in their diet. Some food labels "read more like a chemistry experiment than something you would want to eat", it said. The use of additives must be approved by an expert panel which also sets safe intake levels. But Which? said that despite safety checks, there was still concern that some additives were linked to health problems (see above).

The magazine accepts that additives are needed to provide safe, convenient food all year round. But it says their use - particularly as a colouring - is probably not justified in all cases. It adds: "We'd like to see one clear labelling system for additives to make it easier to avoid additives and to compare what's in different foods."

FOOD INDUSTRY RESPONSE

Martin Paterson, of the Food and Drink Federation, stressed that food safety was the number priority for the industry. He said: "The use of additives is subject to strict safety controls, and consumers' intake of additives is closely monitored. "A recent European Commission report indicated that consumption of all types of additives was within the strict safety limits set by the legislation, for both adults and children."

He said manufacturers often had to convey a lot of information to consumers on a very small label. "Additive labelling is governed by the EU Labelling Directive. "However, UK manufacturers are always looking at the best way to provide product information within these constraints.

What are 'E' Numbers?

The 'E' stands for EC (European Communities) and is a numbered code applied to a variety of food additives used in many of the food products we buy today. Any chemical that a manufacturer wants to use in his product has to have been through a rigorous series of tests to prove its 'safety'.

Once it has passed these tests it is placed on an 'approved additive list' and given an 'E' number which shows that it has been acccepted for use all over the European community.

E Numbers are divided into the following categories:

E Number Categories
E-Numbers
Type of Food Additive
100 - 180
Food colouring
200 - 252
Food Preservative
260 - 297
Acidities
300 - 385
Antioxidant
400 - 429
Thickener
430 - 499
Emulsifier
620 - 640
Flavour Enhancer
950 - 967
Sweeteners

The Bad 'E's...

Some children seem to react badly to specific dye colours and preservatives. The Hyperactive Children's Support Group recommends that the following E numbers be avoided:-

E102, E104, 107, E110, E120, E122, E123, E124, E127, 128, E132, E133, E150, E151, 154, 155, E160B, E210, E211, E220, E250, E251, E320, E321

Babies and young children should not be given:-

E213, E214, E215, E216, E217, E218, E219, E310, E311, E312, E420, E421, 621, 622, 623, 627, 631, 635

Asthmatic people or those with an aspirin-sensitivity may wish to avoid the following:-

E211, E212, E213, E214, E215, E216, E217, E218, E219, E310, E311, E312, E321, E421, 621, 622, 623, 627, 631, 635

Asthma sufferers should avoid the following E numbers:-

E102, 107, E110, E122, E123, E124, E128, E129, E151, 154, 155, E180, E220, E221, E222, E223, E224, E225, E226, E227.

The following may be carcinogenic (a substance likely to cause cancer):-

E110, E123, E127, E153, E249, E250, E251, E252, E320, E321, 905, 907, E954

The following have been associated with kidney problems:-

E170, E252, E339, E340, E341, E385, E421, 430, E450, E451, E452

Vegetarians should avoid:-

E120, E441, 542, 910, 920, 921, 966

and be careful about:-

E153, E160a, E161g, E252, E270, E322, E325, E326, E327, E422, 430, 431, 432, 433, 434, 435, 436, E442, E470a, E470b, E471, E472a, E472b, E472c, E472d, E472e, E472f, E473, E474, E475, 476, E477, 478, E479b, E481, E482, E483, 491, 492, 493, 494, 495, 570, 572, 585, 631, 635, E640

The problem with many additives is that they can be manufactured by a variety of different methods. The latter E numbers could be being produced from animal origins or have animal content added, even though in the majority of cases it is rather unlikely.

In addition, the UK Vegetarian Society's made the following statement regarding GM foods: -

"Genetically Modified products, or products containing Genetically Modified ingredients, are not acceptable to the Vegetarian Society because the Society believes it is impossible to guarantee that such products are completely in accordance with the Society's vegetarian principles."

These may have been genetically modified in some way:-

E101, E101a, E150a, E150b, E150c, E150d, E153, E160d, E161c, E306, E307, E308, E309, E322, E415, E471, E472a, E473, E475, 476, E477, 491, 570, 572, 620, 621, 622, 623, 624, 625

The Good 'E's

Not all E numbers are bad - the following represent certain vitamins and minerals which are actually good for your kids:-

E101 (Vitamin B2), E160 (Carotene, Vitamin A), E252 (Potassium nitrate - Saltpetre) for preventing botulism, E300-304 (Vitamin C), E306-309 (Tocopherols, like Vitamin E), E322 (Lecithin), E375 (Niacin), E440 (Pectin)

 

Food colourings

E Number
Name(s)
Possible Problems
E100

Curcumin, turmeric

-
E101
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), formerly called lactoflavin (Vitamin G)
likely to be GM
E101a
Riboflavin-5'-Phosphate
likely to be GM
E102
Tartrazine, FD&C Yellow 5

possible allergic reaction

 

Causes hyperactivity in children and may lead to asthma attacks and allergic reactions.
FOUND IN: Orange squash, orange/yellow-coloured sweets and medicines.

E103
Chrysoine Resorcinol
-
E104
Quinoline Yellow
possible allergic reaction
E105
Fast Yellow AB
-
E106
Riboflavin-5-Sodium Phosphate
-
E107
Yellow 2G
possible allergic reaction
E110
Sunset Yellow FCF, Orange Yellow S, FD&C Yellow 6
possible allergic reaction
E111
Orange GGN
-
E120 Cochineal, Carminic acid, Carmines, Natural Red 4
possible allergic reaction
animal origin
E121 Orcein, Orchil
-
E122 Carmoisine, Azorubine
possible allergic reaction
E123 Amaranth, FD&C Red 2
possible allergic reaction
E124 Ponceau 4R, Cochineal Red A, Brilliant Scarlet 4R
possible allergic reaction
E125 Scarlet GN
-
E126 Ponceau 6R
-
E127 Erythrosine, FD&C Red 3
possible allergic reaction
E128 Red 2G
possible allergic reaction
E129 Allura Red AC, FD&C Red 40

possible allergic reaction

 

Can exacerbate asthma and rhinitis.

FOUND IN: Red-coloured sweets such as wine gums, red drinks and red toothpaste.

E130 Indanthrene blue RS
-
E131 Patent Blue V
possible allergic reaction
E132 Indigo carmine, Indigotine, FD&C Blue 2
possible allergic reaction
E133 Brilliant Blue FCF, FD&C Blue 1
possible allergic reaction
E140 Chlorophylls and Chlorophyllins: (i) Chlorophylls (ii) Chlorophyllins
-
E141 Copper complexes of chlorophylls and chlorophyllins (i) Copper complexes of chlorophylls (ii) Copper complexes of chlorophyllins
-
E142 Green S
possible allergic reaction
E150a Plain Caramel
likely to be GM
E150b Caustic sulphite caramel
likely to be GM
E150c Ammonia caramel
likely to be GM
E151 Black

possible allergic reaction

 

Can trigger asthma and allergies.

FOUND IN: Drinks such as cola, and black sweets.

E152 Black 7984
possible allergic reaction
E153 Carbon black, Vegetable carbon
likely to be GM
possibly of animal origin
E154 Brown FK, Kipper Brown
possible allergic reaction
E155 Brown HT, Chocolate brown HT
possible allergic reaction
E160a Alpha-carotene, Beta-carotene, Gamma-carotene
-
E160b Annatto, bixin, norbixin
possible allergic reaction
E160c Capsanthin, capsorubin, Paprika extract
-
E160d Lycopene
likely to be GM
E160e Beta-apo-8'-carotenal (C 30)
-
E160f Ethylester of beta-apo-8'-carotenic acid
-
E161a Flavoxanthin
-
E161b Lutein
-
E161c Cryptoaxanthin
likely to be GM
E161d Rubixanthin
-
E161e Violaxanthin
-
E161f Rhodoxanthin
-
E161g Canthaxanthin
possibly of animal origin
E162 Beetroot Red, Betanin
-
E163 Anthocyanins
-
E170 Calcium carbonate, Chalk
-
E171 Titanium dioxide
-
E172 Iron oxide/hydroxide
-
E173 Aluminium
-
E174 Silver
-
E175 Gold
-
E180 Pigment Rubine, Lithol Rubine BK
-

Food Preservatives

E200
Sorbic acid
-
E201
Sodium sorbate
-
E202
Potassium sorbate
-
E203
Calcium sorbate
-
E210
Benzoic acid

possible allergic reaction

 

Preservative which can affect digestion and trigger allergies.

FOUND IN: Squashes, flavoured waters and syrups.

E211
Sodium benzoate
possible allergic reaction
E212
Potassium benzoate
possible allergic reaction
E213
Calcium benzoate

possible allergic reaction

 

Preservative which can affect digestion and trigger allergies.

FOUND IN: Squashes, flavoured waters and syrups.

E214
Ethyl para-hydroxybenzoate
possible allergic reaction
E215 Sodium ethyl para-hydroxybenzoate
possible allergic reaction
E216 Propyl para-hydroxybenzoate
possible allergic reaction
E217 Sodium propyl para-hydroxybenzoate
possible allergic reaction
E218 Methyl para-hydroxybenzoate
possible allergic reaction
E219 Sodium methyl para-hydroxybenzoate
possible allergic reaction
E220 Sulphur dioxide

possible allergic reaction

 

Common preservative which can lead to bronchial problems and anaphylactic shock.

FOUND IN: Fruit cereal bars and dried fruit to prevent it losing colour.

E221 Sodium sulphite
possible allergic reaction
E222 Sodium hydrogen sulphite
possible allergic reaction
E223 Sodium metabisulphite
possible allergic reaction
E224 Potassium metabisulphite
possible allergic reaction
E226 Calcium sulphite

possible allergic reaction

 

Preservative which can cause bronchial problems, low blood pressure and anaphylactic shock and is banned in US.

FOUND IN: Burgers and biscuits and other products with a shelf-life.

E227 Calcium hydrogen sulphite
possible allergic reaction
E228 Potassium hydrogen sulphite
possible allergic reaction
E230 Biphenyl, diphenyl
-
E231 Orthophenylphenol
-
E232 Sodium orthophenylphenol
-
E233 Thiabendazole
-
E234 Nisin
-
E235 Natamycin, Pimaracin
-
E236 Formic acid
-
E237 Sodium formiate
-
E238 Calcium formiate
-
E239 Hexamethylene tetramine, Hexamine
-
E240 Formaldehyde
-
E242 Dimethyl dicarbonate
-
E249 Potassium nitrite
-
E250 Sodium nitrite
-
E251 Sodium nitrate, saltpetre
-
E252 Potassium nitrate, saltpetre
possibly of animal origin

Acidities

E260 Acetic acid
-
E261 Potassium acetate
-
E262 Sodium acetates (i) Sodium acetate (ii) Sodium hydrogen acetate (sodium diacetate)
-
E263 Calcium acetate
-
E264 Ammonium acetate
-
E270 Lactic acid

Acid, Antioxidant
possibly of animal origin

E280 Propionic acid
-
E281 Sodium propionate
-
E282 Calcium propionate
possible allergic reaction
E283 Potassium propionate
-
E284 Boric acid
-
E285 Sodium tetraborate, borax
-
E290 Carbon dioxide
-
E296 Malic acid
Acid
E297 Fumaric acid
-

Antioxidants

E300 Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C)
-
E301 Sodium ascorbate
-
E302 Calcium ascorbate
-
E303 Potassium ascorbate
-
E304 Fatty acid esters of ascorbic acid (i) Ascorbyl palmitate (ii) Ascorbyl stearate
-
E306 Tocopherol-rich extract (natural)
likely to be GM
E307 Alpha-tocopherol (synthetic)
likely to be GM
E308 Gamma-tocopherol (synthetic)
likely to be GM
E309 Delta-tocopherol (synthetic)
likely to be GM
E310 Propylgallate
possible allergic reaction
E311 Octylgallate
possible allergic reaction
E312 Dodecylgallate
possible allergic reaction
E315 Erythorbic acid
-
E316 Sodium erythorbate
-
E317 Erythorbin acid
-
E318 Sodium erythorbin
-
E319 Butylhydroxinon
-
E320 Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)

possible allergic reaction

 

Preservative which can cause hyperactivity and is possibly carcinogenic
(a cancer trigger).

FOUND IN: Cakes and biscuits.

E321 Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)
possible allergic reaction
E322 Lecithin

likely to be GM

possibly of animal origin

E325 Sodium lactate
possibly of animal origin
E326 Potassium lactate
possibly of animal origin
E327 Calcium lactate
possibly of animal origin
E329 Magnesium lactate
-
E330 Citric acid
-
E331 Sodium citrates (i) Monosodium citrate (ii) Disodium citrate (iii) Trisodium citrate
-
E332 Potassium citrates (i) Monopotassium citrate (ii) Tripotassium citrate
-
E333 Calcium citrates (i) Monocalcium citrate (ii) Dicalcium citrate (iii) Tricalcium citrate
-
E334 Tartaric acid (L+, L-)
Acid
E335 Sodium tartrates (i) Monosodium tartrate (ii) Disodium tartrate
-
E336 Potassium tartrates (i) Monopotassium tartrate (cream of tartar) (ii) Dipotassium tartrate
-
E337 Sodium potassium tartrate
-
E338 Phosphoric acid
-
E339 Sodium phosphates (i) Monosodium phosphate (ii) Disodium phosphate (iii) Trisodium phosphate
-
E340 Potassium phosphates (i) Monopotassium phosphate (ii) Dipotassium phosphate (iii) Tripotassium phosphate
-
E341 Calcium phosphates (i) Monocalcium phosphate (ii) Dicalcium phosphate (iii) Tricalcium phosphate
-
E343 Magnesium phosphates (i) monomagnesium phosphate (ii) Dimagnesium phosphate
-
E350 Sodium malates (i) Sodium malate (ii) Sodium hydrogen malate
-
E351 Potassium malate
-
E352 Calcium malates (i) Calcium malate (ii) Calcium hydrogen malate
-
E353 Metatartaric acid
-
E354 Calcium tartrate
-
E355 Adipic acid
-
E356 Sodium adipate
-
E357 Potassium adipate
-
E363 Succinic acid
-
E365 Sodium fumarate
-
E366 Potassium fumarate
-
E367 Calcium fumarate
-
E370 1,4-Heptonolactone
-
E375 Nicotinic acid, Niacin, Nicotinamide

Colour Retention Agent

possible allergic reaction

E380 Triammonium citrate
-
E381 Ammonium ferrocitrate
-
E385 Calcium disodium ethylene diamine tetra-acetate (Calcium disodium EDTA)
-

Thickeners

E400 Alginic acid
-
E401 Sodium alginate
-
E402 Potassium alginate
-
E403 Ammonium alginate
-
E404 Calcium alginate
-
E405 Propane-1,2-diolalginate (Propylene glycolalginate)
-
E406 Agar
-
E407 Carrageenan
possible allergic reaction
E407a Processed eucheuma seaweed
-
E410 Locust bean gum (Carob gum)
-
E412 Guar gum
-
E413 Tragacanth
possible allergic reaction
E414 Acacia gum (gum arabic)
possible allergic reaction
E415 Xanthan gum
likely to be GM
E416 Karaya gum
possible allergic reaction
E417 Tara gum
-
E418 Gellan gum
-
E420 Sorbitol (i) Sorbitol (ii) Sorbitol syrup
-
E421 Mannitol
-
E422 Glycerol
possibly of animal origin
E425 Konjac (i) Konjac gum (ii) Konjac glucomannane
-

Emulsifiers

E430 Polyoxyethylene (8) stearate

possible allergic reaction

possibly of animal origin

E431 Polyoxyethylene (40) stearate
possibly of animal origin
E432 Polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan monolaurate (polysorbate 20)
possibly of animal origin
E433 Polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan monooleate (polysorbate 80)
possibly of animal origin
E434 Polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan monopalmitate (polysorbate 40)
possibly of animal origin
E435 Polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan monostearate (polysorbate 60)
possibly of animal origin
E436 Polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan tristearate (polysorbate 65)
possibly of animal origin
E440 Pectins (i) pectin (ii) amidated pectin
-
E441 Gelatine
animal origin
E442 Ammonium phosphatides
possibly of animal origin
E444 Sucrose acetate isobutyrate
-
E445 Glycerolesters of wood rosins
-
E450 Diphosphates (i) Disodium diphosphate (ii) Trisodium diphosphate(iii) Tetrasodium diphosphate (iv) Dipotassium diphosphate (v) Tetrapotassium diphosphate (vi) Dicalcium diphosphate (vii) Calcium dihydrogen diphosphate
-
E451 Triphosphates (i) Pentasodium triphosphate (ii) Pentapotassium triphosphate
-
E452 Polyphosphates (i) Sodium polyphosphates (ii) Potassium polyphosphates (iii) Sodium calcium polyphosphate (iv) Calcium polyphophates
-
E459 Beta-cyclodextrine
-
E460 Cellulose (i) Microcrystalline cellulose (ii) Powdered cellulose
-
E461 Methylcellulose
-
E462 Ethylcellulose
-
E463 Hydroxy propylcellulose
-
E464 Hydroxy propylmethylcellulose
-
E465 Ethyl methylcellulose
-
E466 Carboxy methylcellulose, Sodium carboxymethylcellulose
-
E468 Crosslinked sodium carboxymethylcellulose
-
E469 Enzymically hydrolysed carboxymethylcellulose
-
E470a Sodium, potassium and calcium salts of fatty acids
possibly of animal origin
E470b Magnesium salts of fatty acids
possibly of animal origin
E471 Mono and diglycerides of fatty acids (glyceryl monostearate, glyceryldistearate)
likely to be GM
possibly of animal origin
E472a Acetic acid esters of mono and diglycerides of fatty acids
likely to be GM
possibly of animal origin
E472b Lactic acid esters of mono and diglycerides of fatty acids
possibly of animal origin
E472c Citric acid esters of mono and diglycerides of fatty acids
possibly of animal origin
E472d Tartaric acid esters of mono and diglycerides of fatty acids
possibly of animal origin
E472e Mono and diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono and diglycerides of fatty acids
possibly of animal origin
E472f Mixed acetic and tartaric acid esters of mono and diglycerides of fatty acids
possibly of animal origin
E473 Sucrose esters of fatty acids
likely to be GM
possibly of animal origin
E474 Sucroglycerides
possibly of animal origin
E475 Polyglycerol esters of fatty acids
likely to be GM
possibly of animal origin
E476 Polyglycerol polyricinoleate
likely to be GM
possibly of animal origin
E477 Propane-1, 2-diol esters of fatty acids, propylene glycol esters of fatty acids
likely to be GM
possibly of animal origin
E478 Lactylated fatty acid esters of glycerol and propane-1
possibly of animal origin
E479b Thermally oxidized soya bean oil interacted with mono and diglycerides of fatty acids
likely to be GM
possibly of animal origin
E481 Sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate
possibly of animal origin
E482 Calcium stearoyl-2-lactylate
possibly of animal origin
E483 Stearyl tartrate
possibly of animal origin
E491 Sorbitan monostearate
likely to be GM
possibly of animal origin
E492 Sorbitan tristearate
possibly of animal origin
E493 Sorbitan monolaurate
possibly of animal origin
E494 Sorbitan monoleate
possibly of animal origin
E495 Sorbitan monopalmitate
possibly of animal origin

Flavour Enhancers

E620 Glutamic acid
possible reaction
likely to be GM
E621 Monosodium glutamate

possible reaction
likely to be GM

Widely-used flavour enhancer which can lead to hyperactivity, chest pain, headaches and nausea. FOUND IN: Flavoured crisps, Chinese food and stock cubes.

E622 Monopotassium glutamate
possible reaction
likely to be GM
E623 Calcium diglutamate
possible reaction
likely to be GM
E624 Monoammonium glutamate
possible reaction
likely to be GM
E625 Magnesium diglutamate
possible reaction
likely to be GM
E626 Guanylic acid
-
E627 Disodium guanylate, sodium guanylate
-
E628 Dipotassium guanylate
-
E629 Calcium guanylate
-
E630 Inosinic acid
-
E631 Disodium inosinate
possibly of animal origin
E632 Dipotassium inosinate
-
E633 Calcium inosinate
-
E634 Calcium 5'-ribonucleotides
-
E635 Disodium 5'-ribonucleotides
possibly of animal origin
E636 Maltol
-
E637 Ethyl maltol
-
E640 Glycine and its sodium salt
possibly of animal origin

Sweeteners

E950 Acesulfame K
-
E951 Aspartame

possible reaction


Commonly used sweetener, which can cause headaches, blindness and seizures. FOUND IN: Squash drinks, diet drinks, bubble and chewing gum and in some reduced sugar products such as baked beans.

E952 Cyclamic acid and its Na and Ca salts
-
E953 Isomalt
-
E954 Saccharin and its Na, K and Ca salts
-
E957 Thaumatin
-
E959 Neohesperidine DC
-
E965 Maltitol (i) Maltitol (ii) Maltitol syrup
-
E966 Lactitol
animal origin
E967 Xylitol
-

What E numbers are Halal? Check here

What E Numbers are Kosher? Check here

WHAT TO AVOID

The Following Products are most likely to contain 'E' Number additives:

Most fizzy drinks, most squashes and cordials, most tap water (drink filtered or bottled), Flavoured crisps and snacks containing flavour enhancer (Monosodium Glutamate 621), Products containing artificial sweeteners, diet products claiming "No added sugar" or "Sugar free", Most sweets, chocolate, chewing gum, packet mixes, gravies and stock cubes, Sugary/corn/chocolate cereals.