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A growing number of experts say certain foods and food additives can indeed be to blame for the increase in ADHD symptoms, and propose a hyperactive diet as a way to calm behavior.

Twenty years ago when a child was bouncing off the walls, parents had a simply explanation. “It’s from too much sugar,” they would say while clearing the dessert plates off the table. In today’s culture, people are more apt to jump to ADHD as the conclusion for a child’s restless behavior.

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Let's look at a general overview of the research pertaining to the hyperactive diet connection. There are eight risk factors often associated with Attention Deficit Disorder and ADHD. Six of the eight are directly related to diet;

  • Food and additive allergies

  • Mineral imbalances

  • Low-protein/high-carbohydrate diets

  • Essential fatty acid deficiencies

  • Amino acid deficiencies

  • B-vitamin deficiencies

  • Heavy metal toxicity

  • Thyroid disorders

Benjamin Feingold, M.D. first introduced the concept of food additives causing behavioral problems in the 1970s. He based the presentation on the experience of 1,200 people whose behavior disorders were linked to food additives. Feingold believes that 40 to 50 percent of children are reacting to a sensitivity to artificial food colors, flavors, preservatives and other hyperactive diet factors.

A slew of studies followed that looked at diet as an ADD natural treatment. Some supported Feingold's claims. Others did not. This left the medical community largely divided. A 2007 study from Great Britain swayed that tide.

Researchers at the University of Southampton tested nearly 300 children over a six-week period by giving them drinks containing artificial food coloring and preservatives. The drinks were similar to those commercially available. Based on teacher and parent evaluations, researchers found that children given the mixtures with additives were noticeably more hyperactive and had shorter attention spans.

Food dyes and additives are just on area of focus when it comes to the study on food, hyperactive diet factors and ADD alternative medicine. Other studies indicate that adding certain foods and nutrients to the diet can improve the symptoms of Attention Deficit and hyperactivity.

  • One study (George Washington University School of Medicine) found that children with hyperactivity who ate high protein meals did equally well, and sometimes better, in school than non-hyperactive kids.

  • Another study (Oxford University, England) evaluated fatty acid supplementation and hyperactivity. The hyperactivity in children receiving essential fatty acids supplements significantly improved while the children in the control group receiving a placebo did not receive the same improvements.

  • Attention Deficit Disorder and hyperactivity was first connected to low EFA (essential fatty acid) in 1981. Further studies examining essential fatty acid blood levels in children with behavioral problems in 1983 confirmed the hyperactive diet connection.

  • In 1987 researchers again documented the EFA deficiency tie to Attention Deficit Disorder. A study in 1995 study again examined the EFA connection by comparing levels in ADHD boys against a control group of boys without ADHD. Researchers found significantly lower levels of Omega-3 fatty acids in the ADHD group.

  • A 1994 study (Purdue University) found that boys with low blood levels of Omega-3 fatty acid DHA have a greater frequency of hyperactivity and Attention Deficit Disorder.

  • A 1996 study found that children diagnosed with ADHD often have low levels of zinc.

  • A 1997 study stated that of the ADHD children tested, 95 percent were magnesium deficient.

The most recent study concern the effects hyperactive diet factors came from the Netherlands. Researchers of this 2009 ADHD Research Centre study tested the effectiveness of diet elimination on the symptoms of ADD and ADHD. Researchers found that a strict elimination diet yielded a 50 to 70 percent reduction in symptoms after 9 weeks on the diet.

Providing foods to boost brain power and removing unhealthy food from the diet is the kindest and most healthy way of treating ADHD naturally. By changing the diet – by either eliminating offending foods and/or adding brain-boosting foods – you provide the foundation for solid nutrition and may avoid using prescription medications.

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