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Food Therapy: The Right Nutrition for ADHD Symptoms

Medication isn't everything — when it comes to helping ADHD symptoms, eating well can be among the most effective forms of treatment.

11 Comments: Food Therapy: The Right Nutrition for ADHD Symptoms

  1. As an adult who has been picky since childhood and as a mother of a son who is also a picky eater, I strongly disagree with some of the article. I agree that whole foods, grains, etc. are healthy. What I disagree with is simply offering a child what you want him/her to eat, and if he/she doesn’t eat it, they will eventually give in. Most people have foods they find unpleasant or even repulsive. Some of us (dubbed “picky eaters”) have MANY foods we find unpleasant or repulsive. Instead of trying to manipulate your child, why not work with your child to help them figure out what it is about certain foods they dislike and then help them find more they do like? An example: For many years, I wouldn’t eat green beans. But over time I realized it wasn’t the green beans I disliked. It was the onion bits most people put in them. I can’t say I enjoy green beans now, but they are one of the few veggies I will eat.

  2. These articles about healthy eating offer no new or relevant information. A significant number of children who have ADHD have are averse to eating and drinking. The idea that no child will starve is nonsense. My child will indeed refuse to eat if the food offered is not appealing. Period. She does not feel hunger. She does not feel thirst. She only consumes what feels pleasurable. No amount of begging, pleading, bribing convinces her to eat or drink. ADDitude would do is a service to address this common issue rather than rehashing the same entirely obvious “healthy eating” concepts over and over.

  3. I agree with the other comments, this article is full of misinformation and I’m disappointed that ADDitude allows so much non-science backed information. I may return sometime later to address the many other problematic issues with this article but for now I’ll just mention #4. Correlation does not mean causation. If you read the conclusion in the study cited in this article, it states: “These findings support the hypothesis that organophosphate exposure, at levels common among US children, may contribute to ADHD prevalence. Prospective studies are needed to establish whether this association is causal.” There has been no casual relationship found between pesticides and ADHD.

  4. I am very concerned about the anti-science articles being published on ADDitude. As a mom of a child with ADHD as well as a professional who is able to diagnose ADHD, this kind of nonsense helps no one. There is no benefit to eating organic. It also allows the use of pesticides, which are often more toxic and have to be applied more often.

    Regarding artificial colors: a very small minority of people may have a sensitivity to one or two specific food colors. Food colors in general do not cause or exacerbate ADHD symptoms.

    Sugar: the evidence is very clear that sugar does not cause hyperactivity. Many people assume that it does and then view their child through that lens. Often times, brightly colored sugary foods are given at exciting times (parties, holidays, celebrations/rewards) where children are excited or overtired anyway.

    Just because a warning label has been put on something in Europe does not mean the scientific evidence is there. Lobbying groups can successfully get labels put on things without evidence.

    Of course you should limit the amount of sugar your child eats, and encourage eating plenty of fruits and vegetables. Aerobic exercise is great for brain function in all people, and particularly kids with ADHD, who also benefit from mindful activities that promote self-regulation, such as yoga, meditation, and traditional martial arts. But don’t buy into the “clean eating” shame game.

    1. The author is an MD, someone with a strong science background.

      I have a degree in food and nutrition; I’m someone with a strong science background, specifically in food.

      This article is strongly supported by the science I’ve learned (including human metabolism and physiology, biochemistry), the research I’ve done (much of it in neuroscience) and the experience of my clients over the past nine years.

      I’m willing to research the points that diverge from my knowledge and experience because science was never intended to be a static thing. Well done science is dynamic and constantly changing.

      What is your expertise that you are qualified to judge the author or ADDitude? What are your credentials? Where’s a link to your peer-reviewed research?

      Because the impact of micronutrients on neurochemistry is confusing enough for lay people. If you don’t state your qualifications I’m just going to assume you’re quite uneducated about how science works and making noise to inflate yourself.

  5. I’m surprised this article recommends canola oil as healthy, because as of 2005, 87 percent of canola grown in the U.S. was genetically modified, and by 2009, 90 percent of the Canadian crop was genetically engineered. Thank you Monsanto.

    1. I have 3 children with ADHD. One of the best things I have done for them is to feed them a dye free diet with no artificial sweeteners. I avoid processed food. We eat a pescatarian diet. People do not realize the majority of meats are injected with dye and preservatives. Not to mention not always fed a healthy diet. And yes organic foods do use some pesticides they do not use tons of pesticides. Less is more. Do not tear apart this article when you haven’t tried it.

    2. Genetic engineering doesn’t mean “unhealthy” much less “bad for ADHD.” All selectively bred foods (meaning…everything we eat) is genetically engineered, merely using older methods. Ancient crops have mutations that make them less viable as wild plants, such a tetraploidy. They contain trangenic material from bacteria. We look for these errors of nature and breed them until they come true.

      Virtually every large fruit cultivated since Roman times has been a clone. Some new clonal stock is bred but many more are found as mutants of existing clones.

      Canola oil isn’t as good as olive oil, but for entirely different reasons. And it has NOTHING to do with ADHD.

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