Starting your child on any type of diet can be a huge challenge, but add ADHD to the mix, and it becomes even harder. Does it make sense that your child’s ADHD is brought on by too much sugar, carbs, and caffeine? Probably not, but if your child’s ADHD struggles are real and any diet claims to promote better focus, less fidgeting, and improved school performance, then it’s worth trying.
If your child is diagnosed with ADHD, treating them with a diet heavy in whole foods while limiting processed foods and sugar is important. The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends limiting your child’s screen time and supplementing with 10 to 20 minutes of exercise each day, preferably outside in the sunlight.
What Is ADHD?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a behavioral disorder that affects people. People with ADHD may appear restless, have difficulty concentrating, and act on impulse.
For many parents, the daily juggling act of taking care of a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can lead to burnout. In addition to managing the condition itself, parents often find themselves scrambling to find solutions for managing their child’s symptoms, from managing behaviors to taking medication.
Many parents say that diet affects their children’s behavior. ADHD is a physical, neurological disorder of learning, so how diet affects ADHD has been extensively studied. While eating habits aren’t the direct cause of ADHD, studies have linked eating certain foods and behavioral changes. To find out what foods may help your child, review this list of ADHD-friendly foods:
Child’s ADHD: Facts and Fiction
- Facts: While sugar may not be the cause of ADHD, a healthy diet is important for all children.
Cutting out sugar entirely is not necessary, but limiting sugary snacks and drinks is a good idea. A healthy diet for a child with ADHD should include plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Protein-rich foods are also important for children with ADHD.
If you’re concerned about ADHD and a child’s diet, talk to your child’s doctor. They can provide you with more information and resources.
- Fiction: Sugary beverages and foods cause hyperactivity in a child with ADHD.
- Facts: It’s important to remember, however, that no approach fits everyone to managing ADHD and that not all children with ADHD will respond to dietary changes. One common belief is that sugary beverages and foods cause hyperactivity in children with ADHD. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim. Some studies have found that sugar does not have any effect on hyperactive behavior in children with ADHD.
- Fiction: A strict elimination diet will significantly reduce ADHD behavioral symptoms.
- Facts: One of the most popular dietary approaches for treating ADHD is the elimination diet. This diet involves removing all potential triggers from the diet, such as gluten, dairy, soy, artificial additives, and processed foods. While this may sound restrictive, many parents report that eliminating these potential triggers can make a significant difference in their child’s symptoms.
- Fiction: Children with ADHD should take high-dose vitamins and herbal supplements.
Vitamins and herbs are not a cure for ADHD, but they can help to ease the symptoms and improve the quality of life for many children. If you are considering using supplements to treat your child’s ADHD, be sure to talk to your doctor first.
Many parents think nutrition is the key to controlling their child’s ADHD symptoms. While diet can play a role in your child’s ADHD symptoms, it is important to keep in mind that if ADHD is diagnosed, diet will not cure it. Instead, a diet should be implemented to help your child control their symptoms. There are many myths about ADHD and diet that may prevent you and your child from making positive changes.