Food affects behavior

Sunday, February 20, 2011 by: Amelia Bentrup
Tags: food, behavior, health news

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(NaturalNews) Recent research from the ADHD Research Centre in Eindhoven, Netherlands confirms what many Natural News readers have long known - food affects behavior. Children with ADHD (attention deficient hyperactivity disorder) can benefit from the elimination of certain foods from their diets. This research study, led by Dr. Lidy Pelsser, PhD and recently published in The Lancet, followed one hundred ADHD-diagnosed children between 4 and 8 years of age from November 2008 to September 2009. The children were randomly assigned to either a random elimination diet (RED) group or a control group. The children placed in the RED group were put on a 5-week restricted elimination diet. The children assigned to the control group were given instruction on a healthy diet. Of the children assigned to the RED group, 78% showed an improvement in symptoms after 5 weeks on the diet.

Children diagnosed with ADHD display hyperactivity, inattention and impulsive behavior. Some children with ADHD also exhibit symptoms of ODD, oppositional defiant disorder, which is characterized by rebellious, hostile behavior. Children placed on the restrictive elimination diet exhibited a lessoning of both ADHD and ODD symptoms during the research trial.

The restricted elimination diet was individualized to each child, but generally consisted of meat, pears, rice and vegetables and may also have included potatoes, fruit and wheat. After 5 weeks on the diet, the children, who reacted positively, were placed into a challenge phase whereby two different groups of food were added to the diet, in a successive fashion. One group consisted of foods which produce high levels of IgG (Immunoglobulin G) in the blood while the other group consisted of foods which produce a low IgG response in the blood. The purpose of the second half of the study was to determine if IgG tests could be used to determine which foods should be eliminated with the ADHD diet. The results of the second challenge phase showed no correlation between IgG levels and behavioral symptoms, indicating that IgG tests are not an accurate predictor of foods that might cause ADHD symptoms in children.

A child, who was following the RED long-term, would gradually have foods added back into his/her diet: to determine which foods caused symptoms and needed to be permanently eliminated as opposed to foods which were tolerated well and did not cause symptoms.

While some medical professionals who reviewed this study found the results to be "very surprising", the results may not seem so surprising to readers of Natural News. Many readers may be quite familiar with the Feingold Program, which was founded in the late 60's and early 70's. The Feingold Diet helps children with ADHD and ODD by eliminating synthetic colorings, flavorings, sweeteners (aspartame) and preservatives (BHA, BHT and TBHQ). Both natural and artificial salicylates are also eliminated during the beginning phrase of the Feingold Diet. Of course, eliminating foods containing these artificial components is a good idea for everyone, not just children diagnosed with ADHD.

This recent research demonstrates that along with synthetic chemicals, many children may have behavioral reactions to other foods typically seen in their diets. Previous studies have shown that many children with ADHD are sensitive to soy, corn, legumes, milk, eggs and wheat. The RED can help parents determine which foods their child is reacting to and eliminate the culprits. The results suggest that dietary interventions should be one of the first treatments attempted when a child is diagnosed with ADHD .


About the author

Amelia Bentrup is the owner and editor of a well-researched collection of natural home remedies. Discover natural cures for a variety of ailments and find specific information and safety guidelines for various herbs, vitamins, minerals and essential oils.

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