The Feingold Diet is actually a diet for those who struggle with hyperactivity. Dr. Feingold developed it on the premise that there are certain types of synthetic food additives and sweeteners that can affect hyperactivity and, in turn, make it difficult to control ADHD and other similar hyperactivity disorders.
Here are the main things that are eliminated by the Feingold diet:
- Synthetic colors that are often used in order to color food; in particular, FD&C and D&C colors.
- Several thousand types of synthetic flavors.
- BHA, BHT, and TBHQ, which are synthetic preservatives that are found in many foods.
- Artificial sweeteners, including but not limited to Aspartame, Neotame, and Alitame. These are actually the most recent addition to the diet, because of the evidence that shows they can actually harm the nervous system.
- Salicylate-rich foods, like temperate zone fruits, some vegetables, spices, and tree nuts. They are replaced with pears, cashews, and bananas instead.
Why these particular types of artificial additives eliminated? Because their basis is in petroleum, which, for some reason, is believed to cause hyperactivity in children and adults. There is some proof behind this, but the proof is limited and there is still some debate about how much of an effect these things have on hyperactivity.
So, what could be so wrong about eliminating these potentially harmful, easy to spot and find artificial additives. Nothing, at least on the surface. Taking these things out of your diet can be great for your overall health, but the Feingold diet claims that they are much worse than they actually are. Look at what was claimed by the Feingold Handbook as the effects of these additives:
– Nervous or anxious, repetitive habits.
– Chronic fatigue and exhaustion.
– Impulsive and compulsive behavior.
– Self-image and confidence issues.
– Coordination and disorientation.
– Inability to complete tasks.
– Depression and anxiety.
– Short temperedness or ease of becoming upset.
– Panic attacks.
– Inattentive behavior.
– Inability to have normal sleeping patterns.
– Tendency to interrupt others when they are speaking.
– Headaches and other physical aches and pains.
– Sluggishness, both mentally and physically.
There is a grain of truth in everything, because the inattentiveness and even the habits could be a result of ingesting those additives regularly, but the amount of claims on this list is absolutely absurd. There is no way that all of these things are caused by simple additives. But, there are many people who adhere by all of these ideas and absolutely refuse to allow anyone in their families to ingest these foods.
Even though the diet can be helpful, there are a few things to be careful of. Here are some of the more harmful parts of the diet that many people don’t consider. Even though it was designed for adults, it is often used for children with ADHD and other similar disorders. Adults can understand the premise a lot better than children, which can result in confusion. The child may truly think that the food they eat is what causes their behavior, not anything they feel. Some people will forgo any medication or therapy and just focus on the diet. While in some cases this may work, in most cases, it does not. It should be used in conjunction with traditional treatment in order to obtain the best results.
Does it work? Some people claim that it does, because they feel as if they pay more attention and do not feel as if they struggle with their hyperactivity as much. Others have tried it and really don’t see much of a difference in terms of hyperactive behavior. Not everyone has a sensitivity to the additives eliminated by the diet, so that is another factor you need to consider when evaluating it.