My daughter, now in her late 20s, first got asthma in her early teens. Recently she told me the story of her very first asthma attack. She was away from home camping with friends, when they treated all the children to a soft-serve ice-cream. Within a short time she was having troubles breathing. The other adults identified that she was having an asthma attack, severe enough that they were contemplating taking her to hospital. Prior to having this first attack, my daughter did not have many additives in her diet. I just didn’t let my children have lollies, cordials, snack foods, etc as I didn’t think they were healthy, and I did a lot of home cooking. Soft-serve ice-cream was just not something that she had ever been given. Over the years, she noticed for herself that if she had soft-serve ice-cream, or drinks and lollies with a certain yellow colour in it, that this would quickly trigger an asthma attack, and that if she didn’t consume these things that the number of her asthma attacks were less.

With hindsight (isn't it a wonderful thing) all of my children have got asthma as a result of additives. It was only watching your "Fed Up" DVD that let us work it out. My daughter already knew that certain ice-creams and 102 gave her asthma, but we hadn't realised that other additives, that don't give such an immediate effect, could also be involved. Asthma is in their father's family and their grandmother gets bad asthma, so I was expecting that at least one of my children would get asthma as well. When none of my children had any symptoms of asthma I was relieved. That was, until all three of them got asthma about the same time. My daughter was aged about 13 and the two boys were about 10 and 8. It was very confusing at the time as why all three would suddenly get asthma when none of them had had any symptoms previously. The only thing that changed about that time was that all three of them were getting access through their friends to types of foods that I had never allowed them to have before, like processed snacks that I have now learned are high in additives. At the same time as this, realising that I was not going to be able to stop them from eating whatever they wanted to when they weren't at home, and because of other family pressures, our diet was changed at home so that the snacks, foods and drinks that I now know are full of additives began to be consumed at home. The change was therefore from a largely additive-free diet to the average Australian additive-packed diet. So three asthma-free children changed to three asthma-prone children who all needed to be put onto medication. If only I had known then what I know now.  – by email