Restricted Diet Relieves Symptoms in 4 out of 5 Children with ADHD!

A study just published in the Lancet supports what many parents have been saying for years: the best way to resolve ADHD symptoms is to try a restricted elimination diet. After ADHD symptoms are relieved, you can gradually add back favorite foods to learn what foods are causing the symptoms.

Researchers restricted 41 children with ADHD to a diet of rice, meat, vegetables, and pears.  Notice that this diet eliminates common allergens as well as all food additives.

Of those 41 children, 32 or 78% responded positively to the diet, a positive response being defined as at least 40% decrease in symptoms. Most parents would declare a 40% reduction in symptoms to be a cure!

Children with oppositional defiant behavior in addition to ADHD also reduced their oppositional behavior while on the restricted diet.  The improvement is particularly satisfying because oppositional children usually fare worse than ADHD children in later life.

A previous study by the same researchers found that 11 of 15 children on this same restricted diet made behavioral improvements of at least 40%, whereas none of the control children improved.

What’s unique about the new study is that researchers purposely did not select children who already showed signs of allergic reactions, such as rashes.  They wanted to see whether kids with ADHD who showed no other signs of allergy could respond to an elimination diet.  The answer was “Yes,” for nearly 80% of the children.

This new research complements seven published randomized controlled trials of diets that restricted foods and not just additives and sugars.  All these prior studies showed improvements in behavior from restricted diets.

In a second part of the study, researchers tried to ascertain whether IgG testing could help parents determine which foods caused ADHD symptoms.  (IgG testing finds out whether the child’s blood contains higher than normal antibodies to certain foods.)  Here the result was a resounding “No.”  Children given foods that the blood test showed to be safe (low-IgG foods) relapsed into poor behavior just as much as did children given high- IgG foods.  Researchers concluded that IgG allergic reactions do not cause ADHD and that parents should not bother with such tests solely for ADHD symptoms.

Researchers advise that all children with ADHD deserve a five-week trial with the restricted diet.

Do you accept the challenge?

Here’s an abstract (summary) of the new study, and here’s an abstract of their prior successful study.

Here’s the full text of the new study.

P.S.  For even better results, make sure that those vegetables don’t contain salicylates and that the meat is prepared to be low in amines.  For more information on low-salicylate and low-amine diets for children with learning and behavioral problems, see the resource page at It’s Alimentary.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply