Healthy Eating May Help ADHD Kids: Don’t Tell the Doctors

I find the ADHD trends highly frustrating. I am not a doctor or medical professional of any kind so it’s not for me to speculate whether or not ADHD exists. What bothers me, is the rapid increases in children being diagnosed (and more importantly, medicated) with the syndrome. To me Ritalin and other types of ADHD medication must be the last resort. It’s side-effects are often quite pronounced and sometimes quite sad to experience. Kids with larger than life personalities and great bursts of creativity can often be left following their own shadows (I have personally witnessed this!)

When I first entered into the profession I was given medical forms to fill out about a particular student. A previous teacher must have recommended that this student be assessed due to the belief that she may have some ADHD symptoms. In my view she was just a child with poor self-esteem who lacked concentration. In my assessment of her I made it clear that I felt that beyond her concentration being poor there was no other reason to suspect that she may have ADHD.

It didn’t help. Unfortunately, within weeks of being presented with this patient, the doctor prescribed her with Ritalin. No suggestions of a change of diet, no therapy to examine if there is any cause for her low self-esteem and no evidence that she was sent to have her language skills tested. Just the “go to” method, the “one pill fits all” strategy – the blasted pill!

I am proud to say that this child is now off the medication. Her parents decided it was not something they wanted her to be on permanently so they eased her off it. Doctors would be shaking their heads right now and accusing the parents of being irresponsible. But the parents were right. She is now a happy, focussed, non-medicated young teenager.

Doctors can be far too quick to diagnose and prescribe. In my view, they do this out of self-interest. If they were more considerate they would seriously look at diet before prescribing Ritalin.

SIMPLY eating healthier may improve the behaviour of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) if therapy and medication fail, says a study published in the journal Pediatrics.

Nutritional interventions should therefore be considered an alternative or secondary approach to treating ADHD, not a first-line attack, said the review by doctors at Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago, published on Monday.

What they mean by that is first pop the pills and then consider your sugar intake. This is ridiculous. What is the big deal about investigating diet and other possible causes before, as a last resort, prescribing the medication?

Click on the link to read Who Needs Quality Teaching or Parenting When You Have Medications?

Click on the link to read Get Your Kids on Ritalin Before Their Grades Suffer

Click on the link to read It is Doctors Not Teachers Who Are Helping Children Get Good Grades

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9 Responses to “Healthy Eating May Help ADHD Kids: Don’t Tell the Doctors”

  1. Stephanie Bennis Says:

    I just watched a great documentary last night called “Food Matters” and it makes a very compelling and scientific argument for your same view on diet and disease. We are a drug-focused society that turns to pills to correct a problem before we examine our own lifestyles and diets. Great post!

  2. John Tapscott Says:

    I have seen otherwise active, happy children turn into zombies after medication. On the other hand I have seen a combination of medication and exercise turn hyperactive children, who are always in trouble, into normal active children able to focus on their studies.

    Another time a principal was attempting to interview a mother of two young boys, one pre-school and the other in Prep, while the boys set about demolishing his office. The mother repeatedly threatened dire consequences which never happened. That was a clue for me. The principal eventually excused himself leaving me to conclude the interview, which I did with little delay, hoping to see the mother later without the children.

    At another school I had a student who was on the Feingold diet. He was a happy little chap whose behaviour gave no cause for concern. I used to take the class shopping every Thursday for what we needed for Friday’s cooking lesson. One Thursday, since they were particularly well behaved and it was a hot day, I decided to buy them each an ice block, forgetting that the flavouring is a prohibited substance under the Feingold diet. I had seen Dr Jekyll. Now I was observing Mr Hyde. For the rest of the day, this boy went ballistic. The diet made all the difference.

    What am I saying here?

    Medication should not be the first option. I believe the phenomenon of ADHD is not one syndrome. The manifesting behaviour is a sign that everything is not well with the child. The causes, however, are many and varied and need to be thoroughly investigated.

    Medication works, in that it removes the undesirable behaviours quite dramatically, but it can also remove positive behaviours. Sometimes the problem is caused and exacerbated by poor parenting skills. Another cause is poor diet. Some families live entirely on junk food. Intolerance to certain foods or flavours can also produce the same results. The child may have been subject to some form of abuse or neglect, in which case, I would think the hyperactive behaviours are entirely appropriate as a way of seeking help. Finally, I think there is a case for considering the possibility of chemical imbalance, producing the behavioural symptoms, much in the same way as chemical imbalance can cause depression. However, in my experience and according to the literature, this cause is extremely rare and other causes should be investigated before going down the medication track.

  3. John Tapscott Says:

    Another issue not mentioned is the moral dimension to behaviour. It is not simply a psycho-medical phenomenon. If parents have no moral standards how are we to expect them from the children?

  4. Random Person Says:

    I personally do feel like I have something different about me. I was diagnosed with ADHD at a young age. From the 5th grade until my freshman year of high school I was given Ritalin then later Concerta (time released).

    I will note my father and mother both suffer from similar symptoms and they both have never been prescribed nor taken medication. When they were kids, doctors didn’t hand out drugs like today.

    In any case, it’s been roughly five years since I’ve been out of high school. I still struggle with similar symptoms you describe. I have spoken with many doctors (therapists / psychiatrist).

    Most agree I do have some sort of ‘ADHD’. My entire life I’ve been able to eat anything. I’m 6’0″, I weigh ~145 at any given time. I have a hard time keeping weight. I can eat and eat.

    I recently have done more and more research and put myself on a ‘healthy’ diet. I only eat vegetables and foods I prepare myself. From my research foods that are very high in protein seem to work best for people with this condition. From my feeling, after testing this. Carbs tend to give you too much energy. We don’t need the extra energy, we need filling food that takes a while to digest. It helps us feel grounded. The extra carbs will make you feel bouncy.

    With this, from research and experience, we can’t have ANY sugar at all. It took me close to two weeks to completely rid my diet of sugar and start to feel less ‘cluttered’.

    I personally don’t experience this next part, but my mom does and I have her on the same diet as me. She has a hard time with food coloring like yellow dye. There are some studies that do link many people, not just ADHD, with food coloring messing with them.

    Personally, I feel that in the next ~50-100 years, we are going to find that a lot of the food we eat is really messing with how people preform. 100’s of years ago we didn’t eat the way we do now. This is pure consumer and mass production of food. In the defense of the food administration, they didn’t have the population they have now. That’s still no excuse for feeding your kids pure junk food (as did my parents growing up).

    Thank you for being an actual teacher and not vouching for medication. I wish there were more teachers like you and I wish the best of luck to you!

  5. Lynn Tigar Says:

    When it comes to ADHD, there are some food supplements that can help with it. Melatonin is one of those food supplements that can help kids with ADHD. .’`”

    Kindest regards“>

  6. Jutta Wolfenbarger Says:

    As of today there are still no permanent cure for ADHD but i think stem cells can give us high hopes. ..

    Our web site

  7. Lindsay Debey Says:

    i think that melatonin supplements can also help with ADHD. `

    Kindly visit our own website too

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