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Theresa Albert

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An ADHD Diet That Works?

Posted: 01/13/12 12:31 PM ET

Who knew common sense could be just the thing to benefit kids with ADHD? A study done at Chicago's Children's Memorial Hospital found just that, as reported in MedPage Today. There is much debate about how to help these kids with their behaviour though behaviour modification techniques, supplementation, medication and diet. I will admit that my opinions on the subject are formed at a professional distance, as I did not have a child with attention issues. I have, however, seen the impact of this diagnoses on children I love, as well as on many classrooms the children I love have been in. I know it is not easy.

But I also know for a fact that every cell in a body is made from the fuel (food) that goes in to it. If we accept that a child with ADHD is afflicted with a miscommunication between the cells in the brain that can be modified by drugs, it follows that they can be modified (for better or worse) and/or supported by food. Since I am willing and able to make dietary modifications for each and every person in my home, it makes sense to me that one would start there.

And sure enough, it is known that diet is an established contributor and that the "development of ADHD was significantly associated with Western diets," as MedPage Today states. I am just surprised that this is news. Is it really? Do people still not know that food can affect your mood and energy level? Why would it be any different for a child?

"Simple diets low in fats, high in whole grains, fruits and vegetables are the best alternative to medication for ADHD." How is food an "alternative"? Isn't it the foundation? It is understandable that a parent would want to help their child as quickly and fully as possible. ADHD can affect every facet of childhood, going well beyond the obvious of socialization and learning. But, in my opinion, shortcuts almost always net shortcomings.

To boot, the above "diet" can also be used to control diabetes, heart disease, cancer, hypertension... Why wouldn't it be the thing to start with to control ADHD symptoms? Simple, healthy snacks ought to be standard to get the best out of the brain's ability to focus. Study away if we must, but teachers have been telling us for decades that well-fed kids do better and are easier to handle.

 

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