Problems with food additives in the household blog post - Charlotte Ingram

Food additives – are they affecting your household?

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Charlotte Ingram

It’s not unusual for little (and big!) people to present at the clinic with issues that are related to food additives, colours and preservatives. Food can have a huge impact on our bodies, and this impact can be magnified in children.

With her parents’ permission, I’d like to share with you the story of 2 year old *Jane.

Jane came in just before her second birthday with a rash under her nose that had spread to her chin and eyes. Her GP diagnosed staph and eczema, and prescribed Keflex (antibiotic) and Bactroban (topical antibiotic).

The rash continued to spread despite this treatment, so Jane’s parents brought her in to see me.

After some trial and error (dairy elimination diet and challenge- no change), I went over Jane’s diet diary.

Mum had been making meals from scratch, and used worcestershire sauce and soy sauce which contained flavour enhancer 635. This makes your food taste great, but for some people can result in an unbearably itchy rash, or classic ‘ribo rash’ reaction- so named because it is also known as ‘Disodium 5’- ribonucleotides.

I spoke to mum about checking labels, and suggested the Chemical Maze app- this is an amazing resource, and well worth the spend to have at your fingertips.

It makes looking up ‘numbers’ very easy, and gives you a red angry face, neutral face, or green smiley face so you know where you stand.

These pictures are taken 3 weeks apart.

Cutting out artificial colours, additives and preservatives

Not everyone will react to ‘numbers’, but many do. It may not be skin reactions- a lot of the kids I see in clinic respond with anger outbursts, irritability, behavioural issues, headaches, asthma, and more.

At first, it can feel overwhelming when you do an audit of your pantry. You are likely to find many food products that you will want to discard.

Don’t throw things out- if you have a local ‘Food is Free’ cupboard, you could pop your cleared out items in there for someone else to use.

The next step is to find ‘clean’ label products. A lot of the time this just involves a simple brand switch.

For example:

  • Zooper Doopers (artificial colours including tartrazine) to Sugar Freezies or Smoozes
  • Kewpie mayonnaise (621- MSG) to Macro Organic mayonnaise (or make your own)
  • Movietime popcorn (artificial colours) to Cobbs popcorn
  • CCs Nacho Cheese corn chips (621, 627, 631) to Macro Organic/Thomas Chipman corn chips

Avoiding additives doesn’t mean no treats or fun foods- it just takes a little time to learn the new skill of reading labels.


I highly recommend the Chemical Maze app, which you can purchase for a little over $10.

If funds don’t stretch that far, the Additive Alert app is also great and has the same information, just in a less visually appealing format.

Do you need some inspiration for kid friendly food?

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Want to work with me?

I’m available naturopathy consultations at my clinic in Belgrave Heights or online to help guide you, work out your triggers, and cheer you on while you make changes.

Click here to book an appointment


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