ADHD and Feingold Diet
The Feingold diet was developed in the 60s and 70s. Dr. Feingold was a pediatrician and allergist. He noticed that many people who were sensitive to chemicals and other environmental agents were also having trouble with foods. Many of the foods we eat are not all natural. They contain chemical additives to add coloring, flavor, texture and shelf life. No one knew for sure at the time what was in these additives.
Some of Dr. Feingold's patients who suffered from chemical sensitivities were also suffering from ADHD. He noticed that the diet he developed for these sensitivities also affected changes in the children with ADHD. He was able to help many of them.
First, let us say that the Feingold diet is not a cure-all. While it did help many people with ADHD, it did not help all of them. But, changes in diet have been proved to affect the body in different ways, so it could be worth the time to see if it does change or reduce symptoms in your ADHD child.
The Feingold Diet
The main function of the diet is to return to a simple eating plan. Dr. Feingold recommends removing food additives, artificial sweeteners and aspirin compounds from the diet. ADHD children showed marked improvement in their behavior due to these changes.
The first step is to eliminate artificial sweeteners, coloring, preservatives, and other additives. Here are some examples:
* BHA and BHT
* All artificial colorings (they say “red dye,” “yellow dye” and “blue dye” but many are made from petroleum products)
* Artificial flavorings (some are made from synthetic chemicals)
* Artificial sweeteners (the chemical process used to produce them involves using hazardous substances like chlorine) – aspartame is eliminated completely
* Other food additives (nitrites and nitrates are found in hot dogs and lunch meats)
* Salicylates (related to aspirin, these derivatives are found in perfumes, medicines and solvents) – many fruits and some spices and condiments contain salicylate derivatives
You will have to read a lot of food labels to find out what to eliminate. This doesn’t mean that you have to give up all of your conveniences (pre-packaged foods). Taking more time to see which ones are more organic in nature will mean healthier meals for the entire family, not just the one suffering from ADHD.
Observe your child for several weeks. If their behavior improves even over the medicine they are taking, then it is very likely that there was something in their diet that they were sensitive to. Now, you can add back in one banned food a week to find out the actual culprit that was causing their sensitivity.
In the off chance that your child’s behavior doesn’t change, try eliminating other foods like high-fructose corn syrup and MSG. Stick with fresh fruits, vegetables and lean meats. Re-evaluate any changes. The Feingold diet has been shown to help many children suffering from ADHD.