Feingold Diet Helps ADD and ADHD Symptoms

Everyone experiences some of these symptoms once in a while, but it is the intensity and frequency that can indicate when it is not a normal condition and where diet could play a part.  This material is for information only and is not intended to replace appropriate medical care.  

For my family it all started with my youngest who complained of an itchy tongue.  We have learned so much about food and follow the Feingold diet avoiding artificial colors, red 40, yellow 5, yellow 6, blue 1, artificial flavors, vanillin, preservatives, BHT, BPA and TBHQ.  These chemicals effect my kids and so many others who may not even realize it's all in what they are eating.

 If you are having problems with your childs self esteem, impulsivity, aggression, test results, reading, sleeping, mood, etc. try avoiding these chemicals.  You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  You will need to give yourself time to read labels while shopping and maybe invest in a good pair of readers!

Kids and adults who eat products containing a chemical additive that they may have an intolerance for can exhibit 1 or more of the following problems.  

Behavior Problems

  • Constant motion
  • Running instead of walking
  • Inability to sit still
  • Inappropriate wiggling of legs/hands
  • Poor self-control, unpredictable behavior
  • Disruptive behavior / disturbs others
  • Unresponsive to discipline
  • Abusive behavior, unkindness to pets
  • Destructive behaviors: throws, breaks things
  • Little or no recognition of danger to self
  • Inappropriate noises
  • Excessive or loud talking, interrupts often
  • Aggression
  • Perseveration/repeating of an activity
  • Touching things or people excessively
  • Chewing on clothing, other objects
  • Scratching, biting & picking at skin
  • Workaholic habits
  • Low frustration tolerance
  • Demands immediate attention
  • Irritability
  • Overreaction to touch, pain, sound, lights
  • Nervousness, panics easily
  • Mood swings
  • Low self-esteem
  • Depression
  • Frequent crying
  • Suicidal thoughts

Learning Problems

  • Impatience
  • Distraction
  • Failure to complete projects
  • Inability to listen to whole story
  • Inability to follow directions
  • Accident prone
  • Poor muscle coordination
  • Difficulty writing, drawing
  • Dyslexia/reading problems
  • Speech difficulties/delays
  • Difficulty with playground activities, sports
  • Eye muscle disorder (nystagmus, strabismus)
  • Tics (unusual or uncontrollable movements)
  • Seizures (if combined with migraine or hyperactivity)
  • Auditory memory deficits (difficulty remembering what is heard)
  • Visual memory deficits (difficulty remembering what is seen)
  • Difficulty in comprehension and short term memory
  • Disturbance in spatial orientation (up-down, right-left)
  • Difficulties in reasoning (simple math problems, meaning in words)

 Health Problems

        People who have symptoms of ADHD that respond well to dietary management also frequently have health problems such as:

  • Ear infections
  • Asthma
  • Bedwetting (enuresis)
  • Daytime wetting
  • Stomachaches
  • Headaches, migraines
  • Hives, rashes (urticaria)
  • Eczema
  • Leg aches
  • Constipation, diarrhea
  • Congestion
  • Seizures (if combined with migraine or hyperactivity)
  • Resistance to going to bed
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Restless / erratic sleep
  • Nightmares, bad dreams


Description: http://www.feingold.org/images/3BBULRD.GIFWhere do food dyes come from?
Those pretty colors that make the "fruit punch" red, the gelatin green and the oatmeal blue are made from petroleum (crude oil) which is also the source for gasoline.
You will find them on the ingredient labels, listed as "Yellow No. 5," "Red 40," "Blue #1," etc. The label may say "FD&C" before the number. That means "Food, Drug & Cosmetics." When you see a number listed as "D&C" in a product, such as "D&C Red #33" it means that this coloring is considered safe for medicine (drugs) and cosmetics, but not for food.
Description: http://www.feingold.org/images/3BBULRD.GIFWhat are artificial flavorings?
They are combinations of many chemicals, both natural and synthetic. An artificial flavoring may be composed of hundreds of separate chemicals, and there is no restriction on what a company can use to flavor food.
One source for imitation vanilla flavoring (called "vanillin") is the waste product of paper mills. Some companies built factories next to the pulp mills to turn the undesirable by-product into imitation flavoring,
Description: http://www.feingold.org/images/3BBULRD.GIFWhat are BHA, BHT and TBHQ?
Those initials stand for three major preservatives found in many foods, especially in the United States. Like the dyes, they are made from petroleum (crude oil). Often, they are not listed in the ingredients.
These chemicals may be listed as "anti-oxidants" because they prevent the fats in foods from "oxidizing" or becoming rancid (spoiling). There are many natural, beneficial anti-oxidants, but they are much more expensive than the synthetic versions.
There are other undesirable food additives (MSG, sodium benzoate, nitrites, sulfites, to name a few) but most of the additives used in foods have not been found to be as big a problem as those listed above. 

Description: http://www.feingold.org/images/3BBULRD.GIFFood additives are not new. Artificial colors have been around for more than 100 years. (Originally they were made from coal tar oil.) And children have been eating artificially colored and flavored products for decades.
But then . . . most children ate these additives infrequently. They got an occasional lollipop from the bank or barber shop. Cotton candy was found at the circus. Jelly beans were given at Easter, orange cupcakes at Halloween and candy canes at Christmas.  Today . . . the typical child growing up in the United States is exposed to these powerful chemicals all day, every day.
What the child growing up in the U.S. in the 1940's got:
What the child growing up in the U.S. today gets:
White toothpaste
Multi-colored toothpaste, perhaps with sparkles
Sea Treasures Instant Oatmeal (turns milk blue)
Corn flakes
Fruity Pebbles
Toast & butter, jam
Pop Tarts
Cocoa made with natural ingredients
Cocoa made with artificial flavoring, & some with dyes.
Whipped cream
Cool Whip
No vitamins (or perhaps cod liver oil)
Flintstone vitamins with coloring & flavoring
White powder or bad-tasting liquid medicine
Bright pink, bubble-gum flavored chewable or liquid medicine
Sample school lunch:
Meat loaf, freshly made mashed potatoes, vegetable. Milk, cupcake made from scratch.
Sample school lunch:
Highly processed foods loaded with synthetic additives, no vegetable. Chocolate milk with artificial flavor.
Sample school beverage:
Water from the drinking fountain
Sample school beverage:
Soft drink with artificial color, flavor, caffeine, aspartame, etc.
Candy in the classroom a few times a year at class parties.
Candy (with synthetic additives) given frequently.

Environmental Chemicals
Artificially colored, flavored, scented, or preserved non-food items can also cause a reaction when inhaled or absorbed through the skin.

Pesticides used outside the home are easily tracked inside and are readily inhaled and absorbed through the skin.  Children are at high risk of exposure since they are more likely to crawl on the floor and play in the grass and on the school playground.

Perfumes/Plug Ins
Today, fragrances are made primarily from petroleum, and can be just as harmful as petroleum based food additives.  When inhaled, they go directly to the brain, where they can trigger an immediate reaction. 


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