Hyperkinesis and Learning Disabilities
Linked to the Ingestion of Artificial
Food Colors and Flavors
Ben F. Feingold, M.D.AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS
New York Hilton Hotel
November 8, 1977On November 8, 1977, Dr. Ben Feingold, pediatrician and Chief of Allergy at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, presented a paper entitled "Hyperkinesis and Learning Disabilities Linked to the Ingestion of Artificial Food Colors and Flavors" to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The following are excerpts from this paper, in which Dr. Feingold reported about hyperactive children's reactions to the Feingold Program (formerly called the "K-P Diet").
Our initial observation of a behavioral disturbance linked to the ingestion of food additives was in an adult, a woman aged about 40 whom we observed about 15 years ago. The patient presented with a complaint of agioedema of the face. She was managed with the K-P Diet with a favorable response. About ten days following the patient's response, I received a call from the Chief of Psychiatry of our medical center, inquiring as to what we had done for this patient whom he had in psychotherapy for two years because of her behavioral disturbances, her hostility toward her husband, her peers and others about her. Psychotherapy had failed, but on the diet both her angioedema and her behavior were controlled. The patient confirmed that on the diet she was completely controlled, while any infraction induced a complete return of the entire pattern.
We alerted the staff and found not only other adults but also a number of children. These children presented with somatic or physical complaints, e.g. nasal or skin conditions, etc. In the course of management with the K-P Diet [Feingold Program], when that was indicated, the parents frequently reported not only a control of the somatic complaint, but also a favorable improvement in the child's behavior. These children had a behavioral pattern characteristic for the hyperkinetic impulse disorder, at times dating to infancy, characterized by aggression and disruption both at home and at school, conflict with peers, failing at school, and frequently [were] on various behavior-modifying medications. When managed with the K-P Diet [Feingold Program], they experienced not only an improvement in the somatic complaint, but also a rapid reversal of the behavioral pattern, requiring no further medication.
In order to confirm what the parents reported, it was necessary to go outside the Allergy Department to obtain patients whose primary complaint was a behavioral disturbance.
Since the initial case report, we have now observed about 458 of these children, most of them representing failure to respond to the conventional management recommended by various professionals. Initially, our favorable response for improved behavior were 30 to 50 percent, depending upon the sample and the age of the child. Today, with emphasis upon the elimination of BHT and BHA, our success for control of behavior is between 60 to 70 percent of the children. Any infraction, either deliberate or inadvertent, induces a reversal of the behavioral pattern within two to four hours, which persists for 24 hours to four days."
The comment of Dr. Theodore Cooper, former assistant HEW Secretary for Health is very significant: "Thousands of parents from around the country who report favorable responses to the K-P Diet [Feingold Program] indicates there must be something there."