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Is an azo-free diet nutritionally superior than one containing azo-dyes?

By K. Y. W. Lok, K.E.C. Grimshaw, Donna C. McCann and Jim E. Stevenson


Background: Few data are available in the literature as to<br/>whether an additive-free diet is more nutritious when<br/>compared to one that contains azo-dyes. The aim of this<br/>study was to investigate whether there is a significant<br/>difference in the nutritional content of an azo-free diet<br/>compared to one that contains azo-dyes. This formed<br/>part of an extension of a study that looked at the effect<br/>of food additives on behaviour of children (Bateman,<br/>2004).<br/><br/>Methods: Azo-dyes [(E102), (E104), (E110), (E122),<br/>(E123), 4R (E124), (E127), (E128), (E129), (E131), (E132),<br/>(E133), (E142), (E151), (E154), (E155), (E180)] and a<br/>preservative [(Sodium benzoate (E211)] were eliminated<br/>from the diet of children. The study dietitian advised<br/>families on how to avoid foods that contain food colours<br/>and preservatives such as those found in certain brands of<br/>beverages, sweets, cakes, ice lollies, desserts, jam and<br/>crisps. To aid compliance to the diet, suitable alternatives<br/>were recommended. The parents of 21 children (11<br/>females) aged 8–9 years completed a 7 day food diary<br/>(baseline) before and during week 3 of the diet period.<br/>The food diaries were collected and coded for portion<br/>sizes by the study dietitian and analysed using CompEat.<br/>Nutrient values were compared to the recommended<br/>nutrient intake. The data was analysed using SPSS 12 and<br/>paired samples t-test (significance level P £ 0.005).<br/>Results: There was no significant difference in energy,<br/>protein or fat intake between baseline diet and the azo-dye<br/>free diet. There was a reduction in the mean intake of<br/>carbohydrate (P = 0.000), sugar (P = 0.000), phosphorous<br/>(P = 0.005), magnesium (P = 0.002), potassium<br/>(P = 0.005), chloride (P = 0.003) and vitamin C (P = 0.002)<br/>when an azo-free diet was followed.<br/>Discussions: Any dietary manipulation may effect overall<br/>nutrient intake. The effect may result in a nutritionally<br/>superior diet but this is not always the case (Isolauri<br/>et al., 1998). The children in this study showed that<br/>eliminating azo-dyes from their diet resulted in their<br/>intake of two micronutrients (potassium and magnesium)<br/>and one macronutrient (carbohydrate) being below<br/>that recommended for their age (Department of Health,<br/>1991).<br/><br/>Conclusion: Elimination diets may have a detrimental effect<br/>on nutritional intake, even when the food that is<br/>eliminated is perceived as unhealthy. Any nutritional<br/>manipulation should be made with caution and the resultant<br/>diet should be assessed to ensure its nutritional adequacy

Topics: R1
Year: 2006
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Provided by: e-Prints Soton
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