ADHD can be treated with a restricted diet, research shows

Dietary changes may improve symptoms of ADHD in children, research published in The Lancet has suggested.

Previous research had proposed that ADHD may be a diet-based hypersensitivity disorder in some children, triggered by certain food types.

Now, research shows that following an elimination diet - a restricted diet where foodstuffs are selectively removed until an affect is observed - should be used to care for children with ADHD.

In the study, researchers divided 100 children, aged four to eight years and diagnosed with ADHD, into two equal-sized groups.

Group one received an elimination diet while the second received information on general healthy eating. Both were tracked for five weeks.

Researchers found that children in the intervention group showed improvements in their ADHD symptoms as demonstrated by the ADHD rating scale.

The researchers concluded: ‘A strictly supervised, restricted elimination diet is a valuable instrument to assess whether ADHD is induced by food.’

Professor David Daley of the Institute of Mental Health at University of Nottingham said: ‘Scientifically, I think this paper offers excellent evidence about another possible underlying cause of ADHD.’

But he added it would be ‘premature’ to conclude dietary intervention alone would provide clinical benefit to children with ADHD and their parents.

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