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The Feingold Diet for ADHD Treatment

Updated on March 12, 2011

The Feingold Diet is designed for children with Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. This diet helps with hyperactivity, impulsive and compulsive actions, emotional concerns, short attention span, neuro-muscular difficulties, cognitive, perceptual disturbances, physical complaints and sleeping problems.

Many people with ADD or ADHD that have tried the Feingold Diet have found that it improves their symptoms and increases concentration levels. The Feingold Diet is more of a specific treatment program than an actual diet, simply because it involves more than just eating. There are two stages of the Feingold Diet. The first stage eliminates foods that contain additives and chemical compounds from the diet, such as artificial colorings and salicylate. Preservatives like petrochemicals and artificial flavorings are also eliminated. The second phase of the program teaches the patient which foods can be tolerated.

Dr. Benjamin Feingold proposed in 1973 that salicylates, artificial colors, and artificial flavors caused hyperactivity in kids.  In order for the Feingold Diet to work, patients must be 100 percent in compliance with the program, which often means a complete lifestyle change. Many aspects of the Feingold Diet program can be found online, including lists of foods that can be tolerated, as well as those that should be eliminated from the ADHD diet.

There are no side effects to the Feingold Diet, which makes it a sufficient alternative to medications and other forms of ADHD treatment for concerned parents and adults with attention deficit disorders. However, therapists emphasize that not all aspects of ADHD in children are related to food. It is important for kids with these kinds of disorders to also learn to manage their emotions and stress levels, as well as their reactions to certain events. Learning difficulties are still very common in children with ADHD, even with effective treatment. The Feingold Diet is intended to be used in conjunction with other non-invasive treatment methods.

ADD and ADHD are known to affect approximately three to five percent of all children in the USA alone. The cause of attention deficit disorders is not known, and there is currently no cure for ADHD. Because it is a neurobehavioral condition, overcoming attention deficit disorder often involves the use of ADHD diets, proper therapy methods, and, in some instances, medication.

Children with ADD and ADHD need a high protein diet which includes omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. Children with ADD or ADHD should avoid candy, sugar, white flour and honey. They need more of a complex carbohydrate such as whole wheat and brown rice. These will help reduce sugar cravings. Eating at the same times everyday will also help stabilize blood sugar levels.  Studies have shown that following the Feingold Diet does greatly improve symptoms in children with ADD and ADHD.


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