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5 Foods Linked to ADHD

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5 Foods Linked to ADHD

Artificial food coloring has long been suspected of  contributing to diagnoses of ADHD, but a new study from Perth’s Telethon Institute for Child Health Research shows an association between ADHD and the broader eating patterns of a ‘Western-style’ diet in some adolescents. The research has just been published online in the international Journal of Attention Disorders.

Leader of Nutrition studies at the Institute, Associate Professor Wendy Oddy, explained that the researchers looked at the dietary patterns of 1800 adolescents from the Raine Study and classified diets into ‘Healthy’ or ‘Western’ patterns. The Raine Study is an ongoing health research project which has followed a large group of mothers and their offspring over the past 18 years.

What researchers found is that a diet high in foods typical of the standard Western diet was associated with more than double the risk of having an ADHD diagnosis, compared with a diet low in the Western pattern–even after adjusting for  other social and family influences.

“We looked at the dietary patterns amongst the adolescents and compared the diet information against whether or not the adolescent had received a diagnosis of ADHD by the age of 14 years. In our study, 115 adolescents had been diagnosed with ADHD, 91 boys and 24 girls.”

A ‘healthy pattern’ is a diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains and fish–it is generally higher in omega-3 fatty acids, folate and fibre. A ‘Western pattern’ is a diet generally higher in total fat, saturated fat, refined sugar and sodium.

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Read more: ADHD, Children, Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Health, News & Issues, , ,

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.

207 comments

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2:21PM PDT on Mar 8, 2015

When you eat them all, then you are dead meat.
I have no problem with my ADHD, but I do have a tendency to drive other people nuts.

3:24AM PDT on Mar 8, 2015

Thanks for the info will try the diet and see if it helps

3:22AM PDT on Mar 8, 2015

Thanks for the info will try the diet and see if it helps

5:28PM PST on Mar 7, 2015

ty!

4:49AM PST on Mar 1, 2015

I am being sarcastic of course, but not long ago red meat was going to save us from every medical evil...who remembers the Atkins craze? Now gluten is the enemy. This article gives good advice to avoid hyperactivity (staying away from processed foods and food colouring is always good advice) but served occaisonally, red meat from organic butchers is good for growing kids.

4:17AM PST on Mar 1, 2015

What? not gluten? I thought it was the cause of all evil!

5:55PM PST on Feb 20, 2015

Very interesting article, thanks for sharing!

12:53PM PST on Jan 10, 2015

noted.

6:28AM PDT on Oct 8, 2014

surprise surprise...its something in the food

3:13AM PDT on Sep 19, 2014

Thank you :)

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