Objective: Sodium benzoate, a common additive in popular beverages, has recently been linked to ADHD. This research examined the relationship between sodium benzoate-rich beverage ingestion and symptoms related to ADHD in college students.
Method: College students (N = 475) completed an anonymous survey in class in fall 2010. The survey assessed recent intake of a noninclusive list of sodium benzoate-rich beverages and ADHD-related symptoms using a validated screener.
Results: Sodium benzoate-rich beverage intake was significantly associated with ADHD-related symptoms (p = .001), and significance was retained after controlling for covariates. Students scoring ≥4 on the screener (scores that may be consistent with ADHD; n = 67) reported higher intakes (34.9 ± 4.4 servings/month) than the remainder of the sample (16.7 ± 1.1 servings/month).
Conclusion: These data suggest that a high intake of sodium benzoate-rich beverages may contribute to ADHD-related symptoms in college students and warrants further investigation.
Keywords: ADHD; beverage consumption; college students; sodium benzoate.