Parents have long suspected that food colorings and preservatives make their kids hyper, so researchers at the University of Southampton, England, decided to investigate.
In a study of artificial colors and the preservative sodium benzoate, some 300 children drank ordinary fruit juice or mixtures spiked with commercial additives equivalent to two to four snack-size bags of candy. Parents, teachers and trained observers graded the kids on overactive, inattentive and impulsive behavior before and after the six-week trial and determined that the additive-laced drinks increased hyperactive behavior by about 10 percent.
Experts disagree on whether that's a significant rise, and more research will help clarify the issue. Still, if your child is hyper, consider removing or limiting additives in her diet (they're found in everything from candy to salad dressing) and see if it makes a difference.