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Parents of ADHD Children


Hi all,
I have a question for those who have found diet changes to be helpful. Anytime I start researching diet I get overwhelmed and doctors tend to tell us there is really no evidence that it helps. However, as parents, I think we need to follow our instincts as well. I am going to ask specifically about a meal and would like to know if this meal would effect your child. We just had a very pleasant dinner with our two ADHD kiddos. However within 10 minutes our 8 year old was manic and then raging. We are grasping at straws to understand what happens with her. We had refrigerated cheese ravioli with organic tomato sauce and Brussels sprouts. She had water to drink. Would this have affected your child?
We have really never made a connection with food but the change was so sudden we thought it was worth asking the question.
Thanks so much for your help.


Hi, my son is ADHD and prior to his diagnosis we went down the food elimination diet to try and resolve some of his issues.  We found he had an intolerance to salicylates (natural chemical high in most fruit and vegies).  Tomato is very high in salicylates so there is a good chance she could have reacted to that. Apparently 80% of adhd kids rreact to salicylates.  Worth looking in to….

For my son, when he has foods high in salicylates it is like someone turns him ‘up’.  He gets a general buzz and finds it harder to get to sleep.  He is louder and sillier.  Really annoying given her loves fresh fruit and vegies, but unfortunately it is what it is!

Hope this helps somewhat.  It is something to investigate anyway…  Good luck!

Posted by mum4ever on Nov 06, 2013 at 8:00am

We are also being more mindful of food and trying to identify what works regardless of 100% scientific proof.  That said, that meal (nor most others) would have affected my child that way.  When we experience those big rages my go-to issues are whether he stayed up late, or if he was frustrated and couldnt verbalize and then rather then diffusing it - did we contribute to the situation with words/emotion.

Posted by momtodom on Nov 06, 2013 at 8:04am

I don’t know about salicytates, my son loves fruits and vegetables and doesn’t react badly to them, but one thing I’m noticing about your menu is that there is very little protein in it, except for the cheese in the ravioli. Protein is known to have a positive effect on ADHD, and one major change we made with our son is that we now make sure he has a good portion of proteins (not just cheese but beans, meat, eggs etc) at every meal. We have found that to be very helpful in preventing problems. We also removed sweets as much as possible but that doesn’t seem to be an issue here.
Don’t believe doctors and their opinion on nutrition and ADHD.  They are not interested in using nutrition as a means for improving health.
Good luck, hope this helps a little.

Posted by Fredadd on Nov 06, 2013 at 3:58pm

We are very lucky to have a pediatrician who is a firm believer in the effects of diet on ADHD and other behavioral problems. The major ingredient both my children (ADHD son and high energy - but not ADHD - daughter) react to is artificial colors. It makes them very hyper within minutes of eating them, so we have eliminated them almost completely. It is very difficult to do with a lot of processed or pre-packaged foods. I would check the ravioli package to be sure there is no color added. You would be amazed at where color is added to foods when you wouldn’t think it’s necessary! With my children it is predominantly a hyperactive concern, but I am aware of others where certain artificial colors also cause rage issues. We check every package now, and even if it is something we’ve used before we check it again periodically because manufacturers are always changing their recipes.
Good luck!

Posted by Pcole on Nov 06, 2013 at 7:33pm

Do some research on the Feingold diet—some of it is based on salicylates, which could very well be the culprit. You can start with this article on diet change for ADHD on found here:

Another idea is to isolate each of those foods and try them individually again to see if one specific food is responsible. It could be completely coincidental too.

ADDconnect Moderator & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Nov 06, 2013 at 7:51pm

I have to agree and disagree with some of the previous comments…

I don’t think doctors (most doctors) are uninterested in nutrition as it relates to health.  If you’re seeing one who isn’t, I’d switch doctors!  If you’re asking if a specific diet will make a huge difference in your ADHD child, there’s just no science to support that.  Having said that, we know our kids best… we know what they’re willing to eat and what works best for them, and so certain things might form our own “diet”, but it’s no cure.

My son isn’t affected by food in the way that certain foods make him hyper or not, but he is *definitely* affected if he doesn’t have food regularly.  And protein is a big factor in that.  (And also something our paediatrician recommended: protein at every meal!)  If he’s hungry, he has a lot harder time controlling impulses, concentrating, etc., just like many of us, though I think with an ADHD kid it’s more extreme.

Posted by Rai0414 on Nov 06, 2013 at 11:06pm

Protein does make a big difference with my son, who is 8. He has a much more even disposition, and is not as hyper. Forget about sugar, he’s off the wall, so we try to keep his intake down. It makes sense, if your blood sugar is erratic, it would affect anyone’s mood. He was tested for allergies, and there were no food allergies. Going without food for a prolonged period of time also affects him negatively, so all the points are good ones. Fruit is not a problem, though, and neither are tomatoes.

Posted by karenele on Nov 07, 2013 at 7:38am

I agree it can be confusing when researching the best diets for ADHD- I have felt that way myself.  I don’t have much to add except to echo the protien; that has made a big difference with my son and we’ve found he really likes to snack on nuts, greek yogurt with some gram and fruit etc. . . and I can echo too sugar and especially chocolate and he is off the wall.  I wondered if carbs like in the pasta could have a similar result in some cases??

Posted by ericabaylor on Nov 08, 2013 at 2:18am

Check out Doc (MD) Parker on the site.  He is a real doc who feels Gluten (and other foods) are a huge contributor to ADHD symptoms. 

I don’t know enough to comment.  But visit the site and see the very substantial guns Parker is bringing to bare to explore the ADHD/Gluten/GABA relationships.

Best to you

Posted by LakeLife on Nov 08, 2013 at 8:40am

Hello, I am a high school senior at Southmoore High School conducting a study to see if there is any correlation between organic and artificial food dyes with hyperactivity (ADHD). If you are a parent who has a child with ADHD, I would greatly appreciate it if you would take this survey to help me with my science project. It is an anonymous survey and all results will only be used for this project. Thank you for your time! Click this link to take the survey:
- See more at:

Posted by StudentresearcherforADHD on Nov 09, 2013 at 6:08am

I know some Doctors say no food works but we have seen robert on days with no gluten which hes okay then days if he gets ahold of gluten its hell to say it nicely

Posted by boppysmommy07 on Nov 09, 2013 at 6:14am

you should only eat gluten free non processed foods if you or your children have add/adhd.  No yellow or red food dies.  Gluten free meats, like Boars Head is very good.  Juice only from NON Concentrate with NO sugar added.  Simply Juice is awesome and pure.  Most people with adhd are lactose intolerant so a good choice is Coconut milk or Almond Milk only NON GMO and Organic please.

People with add/adhd need to eat and drink NON GMO, Organic, non processed, gluten free, low sugar foods NO exception.  I been following this diet for about 8 months now and Im able to be drug/medication free and I feel ready to rule this world no more foggy, fatigue, bloated, diarrhea, headaches, depression, anxiety ect.  My memory is getting awesome.  Protein drinks are a must, Garden of Life Brand is the best for me and taste great.  Fish oil, magnesium, zinc,

Read Everything you can about food, diet, nutrition for the adhd advanced brain.  Good Luck and that was a great question.

Posted by BexIssues on Nov 25, 2013 at 10:09pm

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