How Food Additives Can Affect Child (and Adult!) Behaviour

24th January 2014

Within the last decade, the notion that food additives can affect behaviour has been identified.

Does your child have a lot of tantrums? Are they addicted to certain foods?

Are they moody, aggressive or argumentative? Do they dominate other children during play? 

Are they good, then difficult, then good constantly?

Do they find it difficult to concentrate? Then you need to read this book!

I’ve always been aware that certain foods can cause awful things like the big ‘C’ if eaten too much, and that sugar can make children go hyper, but I never knew that certain additives can cause behaviour and mood problems… until I read this book!

The Additive Puzzle, is written by foster carer Judy Bowers, who accidentally came across the link between certain foods and her then foster son’s behaviour ten years ago.

Her foster son had diagnosed autism, which came with some challenging behaviours.

She noticed his behaviour or mood would become more challenging after eating certain foods, and she noticed the same additives in all of the foods.

Additives are chemicals added to food to preserve them, colour them, sweeten them, improve flavour or thicken them.

Judy researched the additives and was shocked at what she found. The additives can cause the following symptoms in both children and adults:

-Muscle Spasms
-Weight gain/ Loss of appetite
-Acid Reflux
-Vision/Hearing problems
-Memory Loss
-Heart palpitations
-Joint pain
-Can trigger/worsen brain tumours/MS
-Chronic fatigue
-Parkinson’s Disease
-Some cancers

Unlike America, the UK have been quite slow in banning certain additives, so whilst I was growing up in the 80s and 90s, I was being unknowingly fed lots of foods with these additives, which explains how awful my mood swings were!

There are four main additives that need to be avoided, which Judy talks about in detail, and she also lists the different names that some sneaky companies can label them as, to help you look out for them when food shopping.

The biggest two are MSG (monosodium glutamate) and Sodium Benzoate. Certain stock cubes, gravies, soft drinks and even baby bath toiletries can contain these, and some additives mixed together in some baby bath oils can actually create a chemical that causes cancer!

Avoiding these additives where you can will help to reduce a lot of behavioural and emotional symptoms, but do remember that if your child is on the autistic spectrum, has learning needs or ADHD, this will not remove these conditions. It will, however, help to manage some of the symptoms!

I totally recommend getting this book, because it is written in a very easy-to-read way, without all the usual jargon you can get in food/parent books, and there are useful examples of how Judy’s advice has helped adults and children with a range of behaviours/moods.

It shows you how to avoid these additives when you do your food shop, and Judy has also included some useful recipes for parents with children that do not like certain healthy foods, which I’m definitely going to be attempting!

Overall, it’s opened my eyes to important things I feel the government should have already informed all parents, and more importantly, they should have had all of these chemicals banned by now! Some additives have now been banned, but as the book will show you, there are still quite a few that need to be banned too!

Would love to hear what foods you have found that need to be avoided! 

My first find was Bisto, Oxo and Robinsons no added sugar squash.

Thankfully, a lot of companies are starting to remove these chemicals, so let’s hope they all get on board soon!

You can buy this book on Amazon here.

*Contains affiliate links, so if you purchase the book I may receive a tiny commission via Amazon*


  • Unknown

    25th January 2014 at 2:02 pm

    Thanks for the great review my web site is and the book is available through Amazon or Troubadore the ebook can be ordered through Troubadore as well (see the link on my website)

  • Optimistic Existentialist

    26th January 2014 at 4:39 pm

    I've been trying to be much more aware of additives lately. This is an informative post 🙂

  • Rebecca Smith

    13th April 2014 at 10:17 pm

    Great post – thanks for linking up!

  • Sarah Bailey

    19th April 2014 at 1:40 am

    Wow that's actually really scary – I have a couple of the issues on the list as well, so glad to hear companies are starting to remove them.


  • Tina at

    30th October 2014 at 11:03 am

    I'm just learning about the dangers of additives and this looks like a really helpful book! Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday on!

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