There is plenty of reason to believe the anecdotal evidence that eliminating artificial colors, flavors and preservatives might help some kids with ADHD. There are many parents and an organization that swears by it. So I went looking for scientific evidence.
The Feingold diet is a food elimination program developed by Ben F. Feingold, MD to treat hyperactivity. It eliminates a number of artificial colors and artificial flavors, aspartame, three petroleum-based preservatives, and (at least initially) certain salicylates. There has been much debate about the efficacy of this program. The mainstream medical establishment dismissed it as an “outmoded approach” lacking evidence and efficacy, however some medical practitioners, as well as many people living with ADHD and parents of children with ADHD, claim that it is effective in the management of ADHD as well as a number of other behavioral, physical and neurological conditions including salicylate sensitivity. The debate has continued for more than 30 years, involving not only consumers and physicians, but scientists, politicians, and the pharmaceutical and food industries.
Dr. Feingold was a doctor with Kaiser Permanente. On of my closest friends is a pediatrician with them and I mentioned to her the other day that when I searched the Kaiser website I found nothing about the diet. She indicated that there was not good enough scientific evidence to warrant making it part of a treatment plan for her patients.
That sounds about right for MD’s. They should follow normal procedures that falls within their knowledge base and scientific evidence. In fact in cases that require expertise and knowledge beyond what a GP knows they have an obligation to make a referral to a specialist. As parents we should keep that in mind. We have an obligation to our children to get the best medical care possible.
a new study was reported today on NPR http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/01/09/144796050/for-kids-with-adhd-the-elimination-diet-falls-short-of-success
As they tend to do they changed the headline to read: For Kids With ADHD, Some Foods May Complement Treatment Subtitle: Eliminating junk food from a child’s diet is usually not enough to effectively treat attention deficit disorders, a paper shows.
So there it is, more scientific evidence. Clearly eating well is important but from my perspective unless there is a “food allergy” you should not take the risk and bet the farm on one treatment method that has not scientifically proven effective when there are so many that have. Your results may vary, Just my opinion.