Will avoiding food dyes cure ADHD? What about gluten? Ads for diets that claim to cure ADHD or reduce symptoms are all over the web. Do any of them work?
A recent article published the journal Pediatrics reviewed the results of research studies on ADHD diets from the 1970s to the present. Their findings were mixed. There is some evidence that Omega-3 and -6 supplements improve attention in some children, though not to the level of being considered a "cure."
Gluten-free diets and diets such as the Feingold diet that eliminate food additives did not help most children either. However, for children with allergies or food sensitivities, these diets did improve ADHD symptoms. One literature review found that 65% - 89% of children with allergies and ADHD reacted to a challenge of artificial food coloring.
While ADHD diets may not be the drug-free miracle cure that they claim to be, there may be real behavioral and cognitive benefits for children with food allergies when they avoid their allergens and food additives. Consult with your child's doctor or nutritionist when considering a new diet for him or her - children need a variety of foods and enough of the right foods to help them grow.