Diet and ADHD

In a special to the Los Angeles Times, Jill Adams writes that a recent study published in the British medical journal, the Lancet, attempts to understand whether there is a link between diet and exhibited symptoms of ADHD.  The study, which followed 100 children ages 4-8, place half on a restricted diet for 5 weeks, while the other half was counseled on how to eat healthy.  The study found that 64% of the kids on the limited diet showed improvement in their symptoms in a variety of tests.  

Despite several noted drawbacks to the study, this is a remarkable number.  With estimates of 9.4% of American children showing signs of ADHD, it is encouraging that changes in diet could potentially improve symptoms.  I have no doubt that this is a possibility.  From  personal experience, I have watched students down soda, chips, cookies and pizza before trying to do their work and I have always thought that this food could only be distracting, whether because of the extra caffeine or high concentrations of sugar.  I don't just believe that these foods cannot be good for a child trying to focus on their work, but I have lived the life and come through on the other side and personal experience tells me its true.  The next time you over-do-it on sugar and caffeine, try to focus your thoughts and get something productive done.  It's tough.  Sometimes I feel like the extra energy is just what I need, but more often than not I feel that my mind gets more scattered and I want to do too many things at once.  That sounds to me like just the problem that kids with ADHD would be trying to avoid.  

Changing lifestyle habits is not easy for anyone.  I have to guess that for those with ADHD it is that much harder because it does require discipline and focus.  However, the results could mean big jumps in focus, health and the quality of work that a student can put into school.  That sounds to me like something worth working for.