We know that ADHD is linked to higher incidence of Executive Function deficits. And, Executive Function supports our ability to make decisions about the foods we eat. Think about it. Do you ever eat as a reaction to stress, boredom or over-stimulation? Are you prone to emotional overeating? Are you waiting until the last minute to fix lunch?
People with ADHD do have difficulties with planning. And, they tend to be impulsive. It makes sense that a last minute impulse would lead to poor choices in what foods to eat. There is some evidence that ADHD is linked to impulsivity eating disorders like Binge Eating and Bulimia. Other studies suggest that a “Western” diet may contribute to a rise in ADHD symptoms in the study population. So, “energy-dense, heavily processed foods rich in saturated fat, salt, and sugars…” may contribute to ADHD.
Harvard Medical School says that certain foods MAY contribute to ADHD. But, there aren’t special diet recommendations for children with ADHD. In fact their recommendation is that all children “eat a diet that emphasizes fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthful unsaturated fats, and good sources of protein; go easy on unhealthy saturated and trans fats, rapidly digested carbohydrates, and fast food; and balance healthy eating with plenty of physical activity.”
The ADHD Research Centre in the Netherlands finds that “a strictly supervised restricted elimination diet is a valuable instrument to assess whether ADHD is induced by food. The prescription of diets on the basis of IgG blood tests should be discouraged.” IgG blood tests have been used by some to group children into certain diet plans.
However, the Journal of the Academy of American Pediatrics, says “elimination, and additive free diets are complicated, disruptive to
the household, and often impractical, except for selected patients. Supplemental diet therapy is simple, relatively inexpensive, and more acceptable to patient and parent. Public education regarding a healthy diet pattern and lifestyle to prevent or control ADHD may have greater long-term success.”
If you would like more information Play Attention is hosting a guest speaker, Gay Russell LCSW, NMD, during our webinar on August 31st to discuss this very topic. Fueling our Brains & Bodies | Simple and Easy Solutions for the Best Learning, Behavior, Happiness, & School Year Stamina. Be sure to sign up now to reserve your space, you won’t want to miss this one.
Gay Russell is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She started her work with children in 1973 working as a Juvenile Parole Officer for the State of Ohio. After receiving her Masters in Social Work she began studying under psychologist and nutritionist, Dr. Richard Malter using Tissue Mineral Analysis to treat psychological, behavioral and educational challenges. She then further expanded her work with children as a school social worker for special needs students with autism and other developmental challenges. It was during this work that Gay became committed to improving the nutritional status of children and families. Gay has a private counseling practice in Schaumburg, IL called Feeling Whole Counseling Services where the team incorporates counseling, Play Attention learning system, community involvement, and nutritional awareness to support adults, children and families.