European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. Sep;26(9): 1067-1079
In her review of the research, Dr. Ly discusses the use of elimination diets for ADHD and autism from the point of view of the interaction of the metabolic, immune, endocrine, and neural systems.
QUOTE: “Benefits of food additives exclusion diets have been suggested in children diagnosed with ADHD. However, the observed effects are small, which makes food additives exclusion diet not qualified as stand-alone treatment. Nevertheless, given the positive, albeit small effects of this intervention in children with ADHD as well as in children from the general population, and the fact that food additives do not provide any health benefits, it is recommended that children preventatively minimize consumption of processed food products with these ingredients.”
NOTE: I agree with Dr. Ly that all children should minimize consumption of foods containing the various additives, regardless of any diagnosis. I can also appreciate that continuing to include the old studies actually funded/designed by the food additive industry itself, creates the illusion that the benefits of such a diet are small. I would love to see a review one day that excludes the studies reviewed by the 1982 NIH Consensus Development Conference which referred to them as studies that “do not appear to have addressed adequately the role of diet in hyperactivity.”
My son has ADD. Which ingredients should we avoid the most?
-Artificial food dyes
-Artificial flavorings (including sweeteners)
-3 preservatives: BHA, BHT, TBHQ (E320, E321, E319)
-At beginning of diet: eliminate aspirin and foods with aspirin-like chemical called salicylates.
But don’t try this alone — it is hard and labels on foods can be deceiving. See the Feingold website where you can buy books for guidance, Foodlists, etc. It’s worth it — http://www.feingold.org
If you do not live in the US, see http://www.ADHDdiet.help for the Caveman version of the diet. It’s more limited, but is a good clean diet and a place to start.
Although sugar itself is not real good for anybody, it does not normally have to be eliminated. Use cane sugar if possible, not beet sugar or corn syrup (or high fructose corn syrup). Plain stevia, honey, coconut sugar are all okay.