An extract from the book:
I’d started noticing a link between the sweets and drinks that Daniel consumed and his behaviour, so food colourings were the next thing I looked at. The paediatrician agreed that artificial colourings had been linked to hyperactivity, aggression and poor concentration and he gave me a list of specific E-numbers to avoid. While I thought I’d been careful to buy brands free from artificial additives it turned out that the squash Daniel usually drank had one of these colourings in it – Sunset Yellow – and I couldn’t be sure about drinks he had while out and about. For example, his sister went to a dance class once a week and I helped at the tuck shop, which sold those Panda ‘cup’ drinks, which came in lurid colours and, on checking, were full of E numbers. Sometimes Daniel would have one of these drinks and while his behaviour was pretty dreadful anyway, we’d suddenly see a huge explosion of aggression or a meltdown of enormous proportions. Could there be a link?
For weeks I checked every label, every packet and I made sure that not a single E number passed Daniel’s lips. And while the general bad behaviour continued unabated, I did notice that the frequency and severity of the most violent outbursts did recede somewhat. Since then we have tried very hard to exclude colourings and while it wasn’t a solution in itself, I’m sure it has made a difference.
Proof of my theory about artificial colours came one summer when Daniel sneaked a bottle of his favourite Fanta Fruit Twist drink, which he knew he wasn’t allowed because it contained E102. Within minutes of finishing the drink he had a Hulk-like explosion of rage totally out of proportion to the event that triggered it, and in stark contrast to the unusually angelic behaviour that had preceded it! (Fortunately Fanta changed the recipe of Fruit Twist a few years ago so Daniel can now drink it without it having any ill effects on his behaviour.)