Is the Feingold Diet an ADHD Cure?


"Why don't we hear more about the Feingold Diet? All three of my kids are on it, and it seems to have cured their ADD."

Dr. Larry Silver specializes in treating children with attention deficit disorder (ADHD).

In his 1974 book Why Your Child Is Hyperactive, Benjamin Feingold, M.D., argued that ADHD can be caused by food additives or preservatives and that symptoms go away once a child changes his diet. But numerous studies conducted since the book's publication have failed to support this controversial theory, for either children or adults.

The studies did suggest, however, that about one percent of people with ADHD can become "hyper" for about an hour after consuming certain food dyes, especially red dye. If someone with ADHD is known to have this sensitivity, it certainly makes sense to avoid this dye.

If you really believe that the diet is helping your children, continue to use it. But if there's any uncertainty, I urge you to consider proven treatments.

Larry Silver, M.D., is clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and director of training in child and adolescent psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine. He is a former acting director and deputy director of the National Institute of Mental Health, as well as the author of Dr. Larry Silver's Advice to Parents on AD/HD and The Misunderstood Child: Understanding and Coping with Your Child's Learning Disabilities.
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