What is ADHD and Does Diet Play a Role?
ADHD is characterized by inattention, impulsiveness and hyperactivity.
As there is no cure for ADHD, most treatments aim to manage symptoms. The most popular treatments involve behavioral therapy and medication, but research has also been done on dietary interventions (8, 9).
Two main types of studies have looked into the effects of diet on ADHD symptoms:
For a detailed review of these studies, check out this article: Does Nutrition Play a Role in ADHD?
However, it should be noted that dietary modification as a treatment for ADHD is still viewed as controversial.
Bottom Line: ADHD is a common behavioral disorder. While therapy and medication remain the most common treatments, research shows that an elimination diet can help some people manage symptoms.
The Few Foods Elimination Diet for ADHD
The main elimination diet used in ADHD research is the Few Foods Diet.
It follows the same principles as other elimination diets, but is generally less restrictive.
Here’s how the Few Foods Diet works:
Bottom Line: The Few Foods Diet is a three-phase approach to identifying and eliminating foods that may worsen ADHD symptoms.
Health Benefits of the Few Foods Diet
Twelve studies have examined the effects of the Few Foods Diet on symptoms of ADHD.
Five of these were uncontrolled trials, while seven were randomized, controlled trials.
Many of the children also reported fewer headaches, stomach aches, fits, muscle pains and nasal symptoms. Parents reported fewer problems with sleeping and fewer nighttime awakenings in their children (16, 17, 18, 19).
In one of the studies, these effects were even noticeable on a brain scan when the children ate a sensitizing food (21).
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