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Diet and ADHD

USDA_Food_PyramidParents are often concerned about diet and ADHD, how the one effects the other. And it’s true, diet can have an effect on AD/HD. However, we don’t have a scientific link between food and the cause of AD/HD. So while it’s important to consider what you or your kids eat, it’s not going to completely change the way you think and act.

The food in your body works as your fuel. Having low blood sugar problems and not making sure that you’re keeping your blood sugar up can have consequences, especially if you have AD/HD. As with anyone, it’s important to eat a healthy diet with the national food pyramid in mind. A variety of fruits and veggies, grains and proteins, as well as lots of water, make a balanced diet. So we’ll use this as the base.

Then we have the optional things. If you’ve been to college or high school, think of these as your electives. We’re talking about the top (smallest) part of the food pyramid generally known as sugar. Pure sugar is not actually necessary for people to survive. Powdered cane sugar didn’t become popular until the 1600s. All that time before-hand, we didn’t need it to survive!

Now, I’m not saying sugar is entirely bad. It can be great when used in moderation – a small energy boost in the early afternoon, or something tasty before bed can be really great. However, if you find yourself snacking during the day on candy and other treats, you might find yourself more easy to manage while snacking on nuts, trail mix or celery and dip.

At first there will be cravings for it. You’ll start to feel edgy without it, or your sweet tooth with start tingling. But if you manage to stay disciplined and start saying “no” to it, and replacing it with other things, you’ll be building better habits for yourself and you’ll find that life may be a little easier now, and you might even remember where your keys are.

As always, don’t be too strict on yourself or you’ll end up quitting! Just praise yourself every time you resist and there will be a difference! If you’re working with children that have AD/HD, start weening them off by offering them healthier snacks (an apple, perhaps?) and minimizing access to sugar in the house. You can’t always control what they get at school or a friend’s house, so don’t get angry with them when they have it, because that will just make it worse for both of you. Again, sugar is not evil, it’s just something to enjoy and savor, rather than consume on a regular basis.

Good luck, and let us know how it goes!