A study published in The Lancet has shown a restrictive diet may be helpful in reducing symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in young children.
- 100 children between the ages of 4 and 8 were placed on a diet containing no processed foods for five weeks.
- The restrictive diet began with a diet called the “few foods diet,” which includes just rice, meat, vegetables, pears and water. The researchers then complemented this diet with certain foods, such as potatoes, fruits and wheat.
- ADHD symptoms diminished in 78 percent of them.
- When suspected trouble foods were reintroduced into the diet, two-thirds of the children experienced a relapse in symptoms.
The study’s authors had this to say regarding the results;
A strictly supervised restricted elimination diet is a valuable instrument to assess whether ADHD is induced by food… We think that dietary intervention should be considered in all children with ADHD, provided parents are willing to follow a diagnostic restricted elimination diet for a five-week period, and provided expert supervision is available.
Children with ADHD have trouble focusing, paying attention and can be hyperactive.
Sugary foods have long been considered the prime culprit when it comes to hyperactivity, but the evidence in this department is scanty. Food additives, however, seem to be gaining ground as the prime dietary trigger for this disorder.
This research is promising as the results were quite significant. The primary issue, however is whether a) the diet will have sustained results, and b) parents and children alike will be able to follow through with this kind of restrictive eating.
It would make common sense to try and reduce the amount of processed foods in a child’s diet – regardless of whether they exhibit symptoms of ADHD. It would be interesting to have a third treatment arm with a moderate reduction in processed foods.
Image Credit: ADHD facts