You would think that I know this by now...that what you feed your kids can have a huge impact on their mental and behavioral health (as well as yours). I spent years studying this; we experienced this in our own home; we fought schools over this; I even changed my career path from being a lawyer to an entrepreneur making wholesome all natural spelt (ancient grain) breads, bagels, and pizza dough as a result of this. See www.speltrightbaking.com detailing our story. Yet, something about certain holidays -Christmas, Halloween, Easter - I get lulled into a stupor thinking that perhaps "just a little bit" of the commercial crap (artificially flavored, colored, and preserved candies) won't make an impact. But, inevitably they do. And, the crash is hard. For more information on how additives can impact you and your kids, see www.feingold.org
Our entire family's life changed when we finally realized that our young son's diet was directly impacting his health and behavior. We have told our story many times, but are telling it again because we believe that this is such a huge issue for families.
From 2-8, our son had many health (many digestive issues) and behavioral problems, and received numerous provisional diagnoses. I was very skeptical of the diagnoses, because he did not fit the diagnostic criteria all of the time. Sometimes, he was fine; others not - either distant, miserable, off-the-wall, hyper, upset. I wanted to know what was triggering him. It all seems to obvious to me now, but it wasn't at the time.
He is very sensitive to one food in particular (common wheat - but not all gluten based products), and definitely cannot tolerate certain additives in foods: the preservatives: BHT, BHA, and sodium benzoate; artificial reds and yellows; high fructose corn syrup. Our response was to remove wheat (and substitute with spelt) and remove ALL artificial food additives. There are just too many artificial additives out there, so to be safe, we removed them all.
The results have been profound. Our son no longer experiences the health and behavioral problems he did as a younger child and he is not on any medications.
There are plenty of studies out there demonstrating the connection between diet and behavior and I will post them as I find them. One such study was published in the Lancet (the British equivalent of the American Medical Association journal) in September 2007. Here is a link. http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140673607613063/abstract
Please check out our website for more details on our story. www.speltrightbaking.com