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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 September 2007, 09:19 GMT 10:19 UK
'Additive-free life was no easier'
sweets
Eliminating foods high in additives made no difference to Lauren's behaviour
From the moment she could move, Lauren Hasan, who is now 15, started making life very difficult for her parents.

The Hasan home in Greenwich, London had a "minimalist" feel - mainly because she tried to wreck anything she could reach.

"If she could climb up to it, she'd try to break it - we had to live in a bare house," said her father Huseyin.

While they knew something was wrong virtually from birth, it was a few years before a diagnosis of ADHD could be made.

There was absolutely no improvement at all
Huseyin Hasan

One of the things experts urged the family to try was to remove all processed food, and its additives, from her diet.

"We cut out everything we could - ate completely home-made stuff, really healthy," said Huseyin.

"And it made not a jot of difference. There was absolutely no improvement at all. It was really disheartening.

"On top of having ADHD, we had a little girl who couldn't eat what she wanted, which just made things worse."

Huseyin does believe that food additives cause bad behaviour in children - just that they have no role in Lauren's ADHD.

"I've seen it for myself. Other children are given a bag of crisps or sweets and they just go off the scale - really awful behaviour."

Other children are given a bag of crisps or sweets and they just go off the scale - really awful behaviour
Huseyin Hasan

He believes that her condition is more likely to be driven by a genetic fault, and that some children with severe ADHD are being "lumped together" by doctors with children who have a simple reaction to additives, and no other problems.

"I can see the point of removing additives completely from your diet. After all, there's certainly no harm in eating healthily," he said.

"But while it will make a big difference for some children, for others, there will be little or no benefit."


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