Behaviour of children with ADHD improves with elimination diet

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Children with ADHD should be placed on special diets to identify foods that may trigger disruptive behaviour before behaviour-changing drugs are considered, Dutch researchers have recommended.

Researchers from the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre in the Netherlands found that significant improvements were found when children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) were given a controlled diet.

“We think that dietary intervention should be considered in all children with ADHD,” the researchers, led by Dr Lidy Pelsser, wrote in the Lancet.

The research, which was conducted on 100 children aged four to eight with ADHD, found that restricting the range of foods given to children with ADHD can lead to significantly better behaviour.

During the study, half of the children were given a healthy diet, while the other half were given an “elimination” diet that included only a few foods such as rice, meat, vegetables, pears and water.

These children were slowly introduced to other foods including wheat, eggs, peanuts, milk, soy and fish over time.

The researchers said the diets should be tried only with medical supervision and for no longer than five weeks at a time.

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