Is there a particular ADHD diet for children? Can diet provide a treatment for ADHD without medication? What is known?
Diet does help many ADHD children. Over time different research teams in different parts of the world have shown that diet does help ADHD children. Because the diet needed is not exactly the same for all children and does not improve all ADHD children many professionals say it is not proven. But with what is now known you can find out if it can decrease problems such as hyperactivity, concentration and impulsivity in your child. In fact diet has been shown to change these problems and more! One important finding in the research was that, while diet changed the ADHD features the symptom it most changed was mood, especially irritable, touchy and cranky. Among other changes are a decrease in excitability, low frustration tolerance, tantrums, settling and sleep problems. Where these improve parents report that their management then works better. The change in touchiness means that parents report changes such as the mother who reported with tears that in the 11 years of her child’s life this was the first time he enjoyed a hug! Unfortunately there are no tests to show just who is food sensitive. However you can find out if food sensitivity is present by doing what I call diet detective work.
The Diet Detective Process
You may have seen reactions in your child but they may not happen every time, or just excluding some particular additives or foods may have not made a very great difference. Now you can use your own one of the natural remedies for ADHD using the Detective Diet process which excludes all the known suspect food additives and chemicals known to cause reactions. After four weeks you can then challenge with excluded foods so you clarify that your child definitely is food sensitive. Because it is a natural cure, diet does not have any side effects and does not interfere or interact adversely with any medication you need to have. Tolerance improves with age with children managing an occasional high risk food by age 10. Some grow out of their need for diet. Others realise it is a question of using the diet more strictly when needed and relaxing the diet where good concentration is not necessary and self management of behaviour has improved.
Each child has his or her own diet
The research has shown that diet in ADHD children is not simple. The ADHD diet for children involves more than just suspect additives. Most diet sensitive ADHD children also react to natural chemicals such as salicylates, such as tomato sauce, amines, such as chocolate, and monosodium glutamate in Asian foods. Environmental factors such as smells are also important. By doing diet detective work each family can work out just which foods need to excluded and over time test foods so the diet does not need to be so strict.
Can diet provide a treatment for adult ADHD too?
Yes. Adults diagnosed with ADHD find that using the diet detective process they can work out their diet. It may not need to be as strict with many suspect foods just limited not excluded. The ADHD parents and relatives of food sensitive children also report that diet helps them as well.
Diet changes more than ADHD
Much research into food chemical sensitivity was done in ADHD children and through this I and others recorded improvements in other symptoms in family members. If a child’s ADHD has improved and other family members have other symptoms such as eczema, headaches tummy aches, car sickness, IBS or migraine, then diet is likely to improve their symptoms as well. Diet investigation is worthwhile.
The ADHD diet for children or as a treatment for adult ADHD is more than two pages of diet information. Excluding just additives will help less than one quarter of food sensitive children. While the process of managing diet is straightforward it does involve detail so I have written a book Are You Food Sensitive? to explain the whole process with all the details that mean you will get the maximum diet effect possible in your family.