ADHD is a commonly diagnosed disease amongst children, and most feared by mothers. There are some preservatives that can aggravate symptoms and must be used carefully. Sodium Benzoate and Sodium Dioxide preserve dried fruit, processed foods, fruit juices, and fizzy drinks. Some companies are considering removing these from their products. Artificial colorants, also has seen bans throughout the world. Al the multi-coloured treats that you grab in the shop to keep the kids busy can cause side-effects such as; hyperactivity, mood swings, skin rashes and headaches. By restricting the above mentioned harmful products –in the diet of an ADHD child, you can reduce symptoms and control mood better.

Another one that is commonly known, but always ignored is: Monosodium Glutamate (MSG-E621). You can find it in soups, chips, fast- and frozen food and stock. It is a flavour enhancer that most people love. You sprinkle it on your fries and eggs and enjoy the salty taste without even thinking of what it does to your nerves. Symptoms that one can experience is swelling, rashes, headaches, numbness in the face, neck, nausea, diarrhoea and vomiting. The long-term problems are Alzheimer’s- and Parkinson’s disease.

Aspartame (E951) is a sweetener commonly found in diet cold drinks and sugar-free products. It helps us to lose weight, but what about the effect on our mind. It can aggravate Asthma and ADHD symptoms in sufferers and is not recommended for children under four years of age. The only exception is the substitution of sugar with Aspartame in diabetic patients, which should be done in consultation with a dietician,

It is impossible to avoid every single harmful product on the market, but with a little bit of knowledge and time to read labels, you can give your child the best and limit the nasty side-effects. In healthy children, small amounts in the diet is not a big problem, but if you know that you child is affected by the additives, restrict it as far as possible to avoid that awful symptoms.

Alternatives that are available: Ina Paarman’s stock are MSG free, Woolworths do a great range of products with naturally coloured and flavoured sweets, and some other products states ‘ NO MSG OR TARTRAZINE’.

Please read labels and be informed.

See table for an easy additive guide:





MSG Flavour enhancer

Mono-potassium glutamate

Chips, frozen and fast foods, stock, Hydrolysed vegetable protein, plant protein extract, sodium caseinate, autolysed yeast, hydrolysed oat flour




Soups, custard powder, mustard, marmalade, squash, fizzy drinks



Quinoline Yellow

Smoked haddock, ice-cream- often replaces tartrazine



Sunset Yellow

Squash, jelly, soups, tinned fish, sauces.




Jelly, jams, sweets, yoghurt, packet soups.



Cochineal Red

Jellies, soups, salami, sweets.



Allura Red

Sweets and drinks.



Brilliant Blue

Sweets and drinks.




Diet ‘sweetened’ products



Sodium Benzoate

Margarine, soft drinks, salad dressing, soy sauce, sweets.



Sulphur Dioxide

Dried fruit, soft drinks, salad dressing, soy sauce, sweets.



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