ADHD and Diet: Additives to Avoid

In a previous post I wrote about how some foods can cause hyperactive behavior and I recommended you check out the resources from Dr. Barnhill.  In today’s post I’m giving you the food additives that influence hyperactive behavior in children.  These food additives don’t cause ADHD but too much can influence your child’s behavior.  According to the Mayo website, parents should try to avoid giving children foods with these additives:

Food additives that may increase hyperactive behavior include:

  • Sodium benzoate
  • FD&C Yellow No. 6 (sunset yellow)
  • D&C Yellow No. 10 (quinoline yellow)
  • FD&C Yellow No. 5 (tartrazine)
  • FD&C Red No.40 (allura red)

In fact, they reported that the British government has requested that food producers remove most artificial dyes and from their food. You can read the entire post here.

If you are concerned that your child with ADHD may have food allergies or sensitivities to additives, what should you do?  First, consult with your MD and discuss your concerns.  Second, begin eliminating these additives from your child’s diet one or two at a time.  Keep a log with the date that you started eliminating the additives.  Keep a daily list of all foods your child eats.  Next to that entry make notes about his or her school and home behavior.

On days when school or home behavior was poor, look at the list and see what he or she ate.  Highlight any areas where you are concerned.  The next time she or he has a bad day compare foods to see if you can identify any patterns.

Some families find it valuable to work with a nutritionist along the way.  This person can help guide, interpret, and advise you as you work to help your child.

In my parent support system for parents of kids with ADHD I have additional food allergy information to help.  Use the contact form if I can help you.