Dietary Interventions for ADHD Rejected by CHADD

CHADD CEO reiterates that dietary interventions do not work for treating ADHD.

CHADD CEO reiterates that dietary interventions do not work for treating ADHD.

Statement by E. Clarke Ross about Recent Media Coverage around Diet and AD/HD

Clarke Ross currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD).

Recently, a number of media outlets have published stories asserting that attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) can be treated through dietary interventions. These stories have relied exclusively on controversial books and information and have not reported on what the science shows to be an effective treatment for the disorder.

There are two types of dietary interventions: one which adds particular foods, vitamins or other "nutritional supplements" to one's regular diet, and one which removes or eliminates certain foods or nutrients from one's diet." The most publicized of these diet elimination approaches for ADHD is the Feingold Diet. This diet is based on the theory that many children are sensitive to dietary salicylates and artificially added colors, flavors, and preservatives, and that eliminating the offending substances from the diet could improve learning and behavioral problems, including AD/HD.

Despite a few positive studies, most controlled studies do not support this hypothesis. At least eight controlled studies since 1982, the latest being 1997, have found validity to elimination diets in only a small subset of children "with sensitivity to foods." While the proportion of children with AD/HD who have food sensitivities has not been empirically established, experts believe that the percentage is small.

Parents who are concerned about diet sensitivity should have their children examined by a medical doctor for food allergies. Research has also shown that the simple elimination of sugar or candy does not affect AD/HD symptoms, despite a few encouraging reports.

Source: CHADD press release


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APA Reference
Staff, H. (2007, July 7). Dietary Interventions for ADHD Rejected by CHADD, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 from

Last Updated: July 11, 2016

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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