18 answers

Does Food Really Change the Way a Child Behaves? ( ADHD DIET )

While it is on my mind I wanted to make a post. My daughter is very bright. She is very active and full of energy. She isn’t ADHD my mom is a psychologist and tells me She is just a bright and strong willed child. She is just full of life.

However I am wondering ( my mom has wondered too ) if my child is sensitive to sugar and certain foods. I mean if she eats pancakes or an ice cream or a piece of candy she goes nuts and isn’t really the best manageable child ☺

Are there kids that are sensitive to foods but if we make food changes does it make the child calmer and more collective and seem to focus better? Are these really factors?

A friend mentioned to me so I thought I would ask you moms and see your opinions and theories on this matter.

THANKS IN ADVANCE! You guys are so helpful!

1 mom found this helpful

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Featured Answers

Yes, my daughter is the same way. High sugar, high starch foods put her on an emotional roller coaster.

1 mom found this helpful

for some it does matter there are noticeable differences in my kids when they eat certain things. My family does not believe me that Soda is the devil. My kids are allowed Soda but on a very limited basis and until recently with my oldest only they are NEVER allowed caffeine I swear to heaven it is just like crack! My youngest it is an absolute no no my oldest I know I cant keep him from it all the time but he is pretty good about moderation.
There has to be a lot of something to change their behavior but they are totally different when they get back from staying with my parents or my sisters they eat a lot of sugar- cakes cookies, donuts, soda, punch, it takes them a few days to chill back out

More Answers

No, not unless the child has an allergy. There is one study done recently in Brittian about artificial colors that has made a correlation; it has yet to be replicated, so don't get too excited about it. Sugar is not shown to be any issue whatsoever, again, and again, and again. If your child has a reaction to sugar, it is a metobolic issue, which can effect behavior, but it is not brain function related. If your child has a glueten allergy, you already know this, and the issues are gastric...frankly, diet is just not front line in the treatment of brain disorders, though many people would like it to be, it is not.

If your child has reactions to food, look toward the food, not the brain. ADHD is a brain dysfunction and many processess of the brain are effected. Food is not the issue for ADHDers, brain function is.


5 moms found this helpful

Absolutely, no doubt about it---kids behavior can definitely be affected by what they are eating. They have been doing studies for more then two decades on sugar and hyperactivity--there is absolutely no correlation whatsoever. However, most sugary foods also contain artificial colors and chemical preservatives and high fructose corn syrup---all things that have been proven to be associated with hyperactivity. Finally food allergies or sensitivities will cause changes in behavior and temperament. Her reaction to ice cream, for example, could show a sensitivity to dairy, and pancakes could be to gluten or to the syrup your using if it isn't natural maple syrup.
Almost all people are sensitive to chemicals, some more so then others. If it is a food sensitivity/allergy there will be other symptoms. Those symptoms could include puffy and/or dark circles under the eyes, rashes of any kind including eczema, a constant runny nose or post-nasal drip, an irritating cough, frequent ear infections, constipation (defined as not going at least once every day), diarrhea, and trouble sleeping.

Try keeping her from chemicals in her food first--anything like red dye #5, parabens, nitrates, high fructose corn syrup (it doesn't appear this way in nature like say maple syrup does), msg (monosodium glutamate), etc. If you don't know what it is then you probably shouldn't eat it.

If she has any of the other symptoms I mentioned I am happy to talk to you about how to change her diet (between my two boys we have to avoid gluten, dairy, soy, peanuts, shell fish, and a couple of other random things). Unfortunately I'm a bit of an expert on the whole food allergy thing at this point :-)

J. :-)

3 moms found this helpful

I used to have a boy in my class who was autistic and when his mom changed him to a very low gluten/low sugar diet it made a huge difference. He was so much calmer and less likely to get set off. I think in general this is true for kids and adults across the board...whole foods and healthier foods make people calmer, happier, and healthier. With that said, I feel like I don't want to deprive myself or my family of occasional treats, and yes (gasp!) I sometimes keep frozen chicken nuggets in my freezer, so I think it's a balance. I don't necessarily encourage eliminating anything in particular, but, since you feel like you already notice your daughter possibly having issues with sugar, etc. then maybe give it a try and see what happens. If you decide to eliminate these things I would probably give it at least 2 weeks and then decide.

3 moms found this helpful

You should read this book. The N.D.D. Book: How Nutrition Deficit Disorder Affects Your Child's Learning, Behavior, and Health, and What You Can Do About It--Without Drugs (Sears Parenting Library)
It is very informative.

3 moms found this helpful

All my kids are ADD so I have spent a lot of time researching. The answer, yes and no. Yes your child can have food allergies and they do create interesting reactions. My oldest could drink this bottled kool aid product and you could tick off the seconds until he bounced off the wall. He reacted to a red die they used in the product.

Sugar on the other hand no. It appears to be a major stimulant until you consider where you tend to get more sugar products. Say birthday parties. A birthday party without any food is still going to stimulate the child, ya know?

My favorite are the people that say I put my kid on this diet and he is a different child. Yeah, someone who is going through the bother of a strict diet is being strict in other areas so it will work. Discipline works, don't pin it on the foods.

My advice is watch your child. See if something effects her the same way every time. Pancakes? Have breakfast for dinner, watch the results. If it is different, it isn't the pancakes, get it? :)

2 moms found this helpful

Ditto part 2 for Martha R.

There does seem to be a correlation with the consumption of red food coloring seems and behavioral issues in kids with ADHD. Research on the effects of sugar, however, has shown there is no correlation between sugar consumption and behavior in kids.

Food allergies, of course, are not included in this discussion.

And, regarding sugar, I think the issue is more that large amounts of sugar consumption generally happen during special times (i.e., special treat, birthday party, holiday) when the excitement could be revving them up just as much as the sugar. It's fun to eat sugar-laden products, and this could lead to wacky behavior. Of course, if the sugar consumption is hurting their tummies, this could conceivably cause different behavior.

2 moms found this helpful

absolutely food can contribute to what you described. We used a lab to test our girls and they even have a guarantee that if the results don't help once the offending foods are eliminated for a period of time (3 months or longer depending on severity of intolerance) they will reimburse you the cost. The lab we used has a less than one percent variance in their results so I would check it out to make sure your efforts are efficient and effective.

Immuno laboratories is the lab. Healthy Kids Pediatrics is the ones I know order the tests directly to the lab which makes it cheaper, but there are others. I would call the lab and get a list of local providers that will order it---check costs before doing...the provider can charge whatever they want.

I have full confidence in this lab and the results it has given our family on our health in general.


2 moms found this helpful

All of us are affected by our diet. If you eat a lot of processed foods and junk foods - you are not going to feel well. You'll be crabby, sluggish and prone to illness.

If you eat more whole foods, whole grains, grass fed meat, eggs, fish, seeds, nuts, fruits and veggies, you'll feel much better, have more energy and have the ability to fight off illness.

So, I know when I eat better, I'm calmer and more alert. Stands to reason that the kids would be too.

1 mom found this helpful

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