Between three and seven percent of American children and adolescents currently take psychiatric drugs for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). However, many of these children may only need a change in diet, according to Jane Hersey, National Director of the Feingold Association of the United States. The Feingold Association’s research-backed dietary program is featured in ADD/ADHD: Smart Solutions, a new 45-minute video being released by Associated Producers, Inc.
“Hyperactivity and attention span problems can be triggered by synthetic food additives, many of which are derived from petroleum (crude oil),” says Hersey. “The worst offenders are artificial colors, artificial flavors, and the synthetic preservatives BHA, BHT and TBHQ, all of which are eliminated in the Feingold Program. Many of these chemicals are so powerful that it only takes a small amount to set off a sensitive child.”
ADD/ADHD: Smart Solutions features interviews with three families who were helped by the Feingold Program. One couple describes how their son was asked to leave school because of his wild behavior. The mother explains that a combination of the Feingold Diet and vitamin supplements was so successful in bringing her son’s activity level to a normal range that she now often receives compliments on his good behavior. The father advises viewers considering the Feingold Program, “You have nothing to lose but the chaos.”
In ADD/ADHD: Smart Solutions, Hersey gives examples of processed foods that can cause problems and natural alternatives that are readily available. She also demonstrates how to create colorful treats that children can appreciate without using food dyes. For example, she suggests serving white cookies on a red plate, instead of red cookies on a white plate, and using colored glasses or natural fruit juices, instead of synthetically dyed drinks. “So, with just a little bit of creativity, you can still have colorful things for children, and they don’t have to eat petrochemicals,” she says.
Dr. Arnold Brenner, Chief of Pediatrics at Northwest Hospital and a staff member at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore, explains how he once set out to disprove the effectiveness of the Feingold Diet by setting up a study of hyperactive children, many of whom had not responded to any other treatment. According to Dr. Brenner, so many children improved dramatically on the diet that he became convinced of its validity. “I knew [Dr. Feingold] was dead right,” he says. He discusses several other studies that had similar results.
Dr. Brenner also points out that most pediatricians receive very little formal training in nutrition at medical school, which sometimes results in their being ignorant about the role of diet in ADHD. “The professors are not really talking about this. The pharmaceuticals are not talking about it. This may be the first time that [they’ve] heard of it.”
ADD/ADHD: Smart Solutions, approximately 45 minutes long, is accompanied by a Healthy Resource Guide which provides contact information for a variety of organizations that help families of children with learning and behavioral problems.