Experience with Feingold Diet or Eliminating Chemicals/preservatives from Food?

Updated on August 24, 2007
T.Z. asks from Victoria, MN
4 answers

I have a 4 year old son that can be such a nice, well behaved, smart, little boy, but then there are times when he is absolutely out of control - to the point where we really can't take him out to eat, shopping, etc. (much beyond the point of acting normal for his age), he does not seem to meet the criteria for ADHD (but has some of the criteria). I'm close to the point of bringing him to his pediatrician (we have discussed his temperment previously with his Dr. - but was told he is just a little challenging), but I am totally against medications for behavior unless ABSOLUTELY necessary. My husband and I have really started observing him and it really seems there are food related 'triggers' that seem to set him off, so we have begun to do research on the subject -- but it is very overwhelming. It seems from what I have read that the Feingold diet (removing some chemicals that are in certain foods) may closely fit his problem. Has anyone tried this or another type of program that elimates things from diets? I'm trying to figure out what some of the very common triggers may be or some suggestions on where to start.

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S.R.

answers from Minneapolis on

I am a chiropractor, and we work with children with behavior issues all the time. While I have not used the Feingold diet personally, there are many items I suggest that parents avoid: artificial colors and flavors, artificial sweetners (nutrasweet, aspartame, splenda, equal, etc.; pretty much any product that is sugar-free), high fructose corn syrup (and corn syrup in general), and highly processed foods. I often receommend removing dairy from the diet as well.
These are steps that I take with my own children for overall health (they've never had any health or behaviorial issues). If you'd like more information, please don't hesitate to contact me at [email protected]____.com luck!!

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S.J.

answers from St. Cloud on

Hi
My husband was on the feingold diet as a child. it worked like a charm. My 3 yr old son is on it too. Red food coloring id the worst for him. We avoid all artificial food coloring, artificial flavorings and some perservatives. His behaviour so changes that we rarely ever give him artificial stuff. It is a pain to read al;l the boxes, bags etc of food, but it is worth it. He listens, he obeys. he isnt whiny and crabby.. He isnt hyper....it is really worth it.
ANy questions, let me know
S.

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L.M.

answers from Minneapolis on

I agree with the other comments 100%. In addition to removing preservatives, chemicals ..., we also took my 2 1/2 year old son to see a homeopathic/chiropractor. We found calcium (high quality) and vitamin b to make an amazing difference in his jitteriness and internal irritability. If you want exact brands let me know. We crushed them up and put them in oatmeal or applesauce or water, and now my son asks for vitamins when he is not feeling well.

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K.C.

answers from Minneapolis on

I think you really sound like you are doing everything right. There are some children who are very sensitive to chemicals in food. This may really help. As a special education teacher and mother of a very "energetic" child, I know it can.
One thing to keep in mind. Children with sensory issues: ADHD, Autism and sensory processing disorders are often more sensitive to these chemicals. While some of these things can be diagnosed and helped early on, quite a few need to play out and won't really be able to be addressed until the child is in school, especially ADHD.
My advice, keep doing what you are doing. You sound like you are a fabulous advocate for your child. One thing I have learned with my own son, not only are there certain foods: sugar and any artificial sweetner(Splenda is the worst)that affect his behavior, his schedule is his biggest predictor to behavior. I have found a very strict schedule helps him. A set bedtime with more sleep allowed then a person would expect for a child his age as well as predicatability in his schedule. Anxiety over situations or the unknown seem to bring his behavior to the surface as well.
Rememeber, you know your child better than anyone. If you are not getting the answers you need from your pediatrician, there are others out there. Maybe you want a second opinion. Also, your school district may be able to offer suggestions if you call the Early Childhood office.
Good luck. I can empathize with your situation.

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