An eminent American physician, Dr. Benjamin Feingold, put forward the hypothesis
that certain chemical substances -some occurring naturally, some added artificially
to food - could affect the brain function of some children.His hypothesis was borne
out by extensive research and one of the outcomes was the formation of the Feingold
Association of the United States. The HACSG was formed in 1977 to promote Feingold's
work in the UK. In 1980 Dr. Feingold visited Britain and delivered a lecture to a
packed audience. The Feingold Food Programme remains, with some modifications, the
cornerstone of our work with hyperactive children.
Since the late Dr. Feingold's discoveries, there have been many developments-some
good, some not so good-in the fields of food production and medicine. There has been
an enormous increase in the manufacturer's need for longer product shelf-life, improved
flavour and brighter colours. An inevitable consequence of this has been a corresponding
increase in the use of chemical food additives, some of which have been shown to
have adverse effects on many children. There are indications that some of the larger
food companies are becoming attuned to this problem ( in some cases due to the work
of the HACSG and other food-aware pressure groups) and have taken action to reduce
or eliminate altogether artificial additives from foods, especially those consumed
Some guidance as to the additive content of foods bought is made available in the
form of the E numbers coding, which is the obligatory form of food additive labelling.
For example, a commonly used flavour enhancer Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is labelled
with the E-number E621. A parent whose child may well be affected by some food additives
( or by a cocktail of these substances, since products contain more than one additive-some
packets of sweets may contain six or more!) would do well to study the ingredients
label of any product before making a purchase. A section of the HACSG Parent's Guide
is dedicated to food additives.
However, not all "suspect" ingredients are man-made. There are a number of naturally
occurring substances ( some used in foods for their colouring and preservingproperties)
to which many children react adversely. One such chemical is salicylate, an aspirin-like
substance, which occurs in many fruits and some vegetables.
It is in the selection or avoidance of certain foods and drinks, and in the adherence
as closely as possible to the Feingold Food Programme, that the Group aims to help