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Food additives as a cause of poor behavior
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Food additives as a cause of poor behavior

I believe my children have issues with food additives that cause severe behavioral problems.  I have been told by more than one doctor that there is no evidence for this.  We have been using the Feingold program (an elimination diet) which seems to be working for us.  In light of current research from Netherlands published in Lancet, what is your opinion on this?


This discussion is related to 4-year-old acting out.
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Avatar_m_tn
   I think that it certainly is possible that diet can play a role in ADHD like symptoms.  The problem with the Feingold diet was that he came up with this in 1970 when there really wasn't much research on many of these behavioral problems or there causes.  Second, the diet eliminates natural salicylates and most of these foods are very healthy foods, and important sources of some very important items like omega 3's.  I think that if you are going to try a diet to change behavior (somehow), I would start by eliminating certain food groups.  But I would certainly do a lot more research before doing so.  Certainly eliminating artificial colors (a part of the feingold diet) might help.  I would suggest trying that part of the diet first.  But, I haven't done the research to know.
  I would suggest that you check out this site.  It has a very good non-biased report on Nutritional & Dietary Treatments for ADHD which might apply to or answer part of your question.  The site is  http://www.healing-arts.org/children/ADHD/nutritional.htm
  My other suggestion would to make sure that you know what behavioral problems you are trying to change, and if that problem is changeable by diet.  Of course, whether you use diet or meds - an extremely important part of change is behavioral therapy.  Hopefully, you are also doing that.  Best wishes.
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Avatar_f_tn
I totally agree. I am fourtante enough  have a doctor who believes in this too. We found that our son is allergic to red and yellow dye. We have him on a strict diet and he seems to be doing better.
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Avatar_m_tn
   I think that it certainly is possible that diet can play a role in ADHD like symptoms.  The problem with the Feingold diet was that he came up with this in 1970 when there really wasn't much research on many of these behavioral problems or there causes.  Second, the diet eliminates natural salicylates and most of these foods are very healthy foods, and important sources of some very important items like omega 3's.  I think that if you are going to try a diet to change behavior (somehow), I would start by eliminating certain food groups.  But I would certainly do a lot more research before doing so.  Certainly eliminating artificial colors (a part of the feingold diet) might help.  I would suggest trying that part of the diet first.  But, I haven't done the research to know.
  I would suggest that you check out this site.  It has a very good non-biased report on Nutritional & Dietary Treatments for ADHD which might apply to or answer part of your question.  The site is  http://www.healing-arts.org/children/ADHD/nutritional.htm
  My other suggestion would to make sure that you know what behavioral problems you are trying to change, and if that problem is changeable by diet.  Of course, whether you use diet or meds - an extremely important part of change is behavioral therapy.  Hopefully, you are also doing that.  Best wishes.
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13167_tn?1327197724
If it's working for you,  keep doing it and don't even question others who say it doesn't work.  

Since you're offering a healthy natural diet,  just keep doing it.  If it's working,  don't stop just because some people disagree that it helps.  Something you're doing is working,  keep doing it!
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Avatar_m_tn
       The point I was trying to make is that the feingold diet eliminates a lot of natural healthy foods.  I completely agree about eliminating things that are not natural.  Are you aware of what the feingold diet does and does not do?  Did you research it before you posted?
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13167_tn?1327197724
Sandman, yes,  I did research the Feingold Diet,  and actually I ran through this thread quickly and didn't read your post.

I tried the Feingold diet with my oldest son,  diagnosed with ADD,  and it didn't make one percent difference - at all - with his behavior.  

All I was trying to say is if something works for you,  do it despite others saying it doesn't work.  

Best wishes.
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Avatar_m_tn
   I hear you, and agree.  Just wanted to make sure that people understood what part of a diet was working or not.  Thanks for the response :)
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Avatar_f_tn
Some things work and if it works then AWESOME!!!  I don't think these things help kiddos at all and in some countries, they really have cut ourt food dyes and don't forget artificial flavorings and preservatives.  We did not used to eat so much processed food and it didn't seem like we had so many issues like we do today.  I've read about hte feingold diet and it seems like one of the easier diets to try.
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Avatar_n_tn
Actually, the Feingold Program does not necessarily eliminate foods.  "Stage 1" of the program eliminates the foods, which are then re-introduced back in gradually to check for problems.  If the foods are not an issue then you are just eliminating additives ("Stage 2").  My family limits (but does not eliminate entirely) certain foods which have seemed to cause issues in large quantities (apples, grapes, tomatoes).  I completely agree that foods should not be avoided unless it is found to be necessary.

One thing to note if you have tried the diet and it didn't work...That's what I thought initially, but it turns out my son was being triggered by a non-food item:  red-bubble bath.  My big thing is fragrances.    We also found that there were issues with preservatives hidden in bread crusts (on bread labeled as "no artificial ingredients"), skim milk, shelled nuts, and taco shells.

I thank all of you for your support, even when it has not worked for you.  It means a lot to me to interact with open-minded people.
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Avatar_f_tn
good point. I've read that some pesticides they believe have caused the increase in ADHD.  So many things to think about!~
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