Diet Plays an Essential Role in Reducing ADHD Symptoms

The role and influence that diet plays, in relation to spectrum disorders such as ADD and ADHD, has been extensively studied over the last thirty-five years or more. The current consensus is that while a direct causality does not exist concerning specific foods and ingredients, there is sufficient data that suggests that some ingredients and foods enhance the symptoms of spectrum disorders and thus it is recommended that it patients with ADD and ADHD avoid these foods. However, it is important to consider that not all patients will react with the same sensitivity to these ingredients or foods, therefore, it is imperative to consult with a qualified health professional before removing these foods from the diet of those who suffer from ADHD.

Sensitivity Versus Allergy

Before identifying specific ingredients and food to avoid for ADHD patients, it is necessary to understand the relation between food sensitivity and a food allergy. Those with a food allergy typically suffer from a histamine reaction to a substance with the body reacting from this flood. In those with a sensitivity to a specific food or ingredient, the specific symptoms are isolated and do not rise to a life-threatening event. A food sensitivity is still an immune system reaction with antibodies developed (IgA, IgG or IgM) with the resultant inflammation in the gut, brain or body. The confusion comes into play with the fact that the body is a homeostatic system and thus when one system is under stress, this causes stress in other, seemingly unrelated systems. Researchers conclude the gut-brain connection is a very important relationship to understand and address in many disorders, including ADHD. This is how food related sensitivity can influence and even enhance symptoms that occur with ADHD and other disorders.

Diet Regulation

Reducing exposure to potential enhancers to the symptoms of ADHD require some trial and error as well as consultation with a qualified health professional to properly determine the specific options that are most effective for each patient. That being said, there is some ingredients and food to avoid for ADHD patients that are well known to have the potential to create problems for those who suffer from ADHD. These include but are not limited to;

  • Foods Containing Large Amounts of Artificial Colors
  • High Caloric Snack Food and Drinks With or Without AFCs
  • Milk Based Products
  • Wheat Products
  • Cocoa Products
  • Some Corn and Egg-Based Products

However, since some of the aforementioned ingredients also convey nutritional elements before attempting to eliminate them from the diet, a qualified health professional should be consulted and an elimination diet should be professionally supervised. Additionally, some products and foods will have higher ratios of specific ingredients, therefore it is possible for brand or product to produce a result while a separate brand or similar food show no effect at all. While not specifically mentioned, Gluten is also known to be among the ingredients and food to avoid for ADHD patients.

Diet Treatment Effectiveness

Another important consideration concerning ingredients and food to avoid for ADHD patients is that often using diet treatment alone is not sufficient in all cases. Other treatment options have been employed with great success with the ADHD population, as well as dietary restrictions, such as Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Techniques (NAET). Therefore, diet regulation is often used in conjunction with other interventions to reduce the symptoms of ADHD and ADD as well as promote long-term positive effects. Also, depending on the specific circumstances such as age and more, dietary alterations can occur throughout the various treatments to either maintain or promote the effects of the other interventions options.

Dealing the symptoms of ADD and ADHD can take a toll on your quality of life and taking a dietary approach to improving your symptoms can lead to a better situation for you and those around you. It is crucial that you discuss with a qualified health professional all the options available to you so that you get reduce the impact these spectrum disorders have on your life and your well-being. There are many care options available that, while not a cure, can help you get your life back on the track you desire.

If you or your child need help with ADHD, other signs of brain and body imbalance or nutritional help, schedule a Free Evaluation (or call (586) 488-4818).  See for yourself how beneficial the Michigan Brain Health neurofeedback program can be for your health challenges.


Always remember one of my mantras., “The more you know about how your body works, the better you can take care of yourself.”

For more details about the natural approach I take with my patients, take a look at the book I wrote entitled: Reclaim Your Life; Your Guide To Revealing Your Body’s Life-Changing Secrets For Renewed Health. It is available in my office or at Amazon and many other book outlets. If you found value in this article, please use the social sharing icons at the bottom of this post and please share with those you know who are still suffering with chronic health challenges, despite receiving medical management. Help me reach more people so they may regain their zest for living! Thank you!

ALL THE BEST – DR. KARL R.O.S. JOHNSON, DC, BCN – DIGGING DEEPER TO FIND SOLUTIONS