Could dietary changes be the real key to treating ADHD?

Shockingly, close to five million kids in the U.S. are taking heavy-duty amphetamine drugs for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder — commonly called ADHD.

Some are mere tots!

We’ve told you a lot over the years about the dangers of these meds, including a brand-new candy-flavored one the FDA recently approved. Just what we needed, right?

But while dishing out these drugs, which are basically speed, to kids of all ages is what the mainstream considers the “norm,” many parents are now rediscovering another kind of treatment.

It’s simple and not risky in any way, it doesn’t involve a drug, and most importantly — it works.

And it’s something that should be the first-line approach in every pediatrician’s office — long before they reach for that Rx pad to dispense some “legal” dope to a kid.

Back to the future
If you saw someone standing by your child or grandchild’s school offering them drugs, you’d call the police so fast it would make their head spin.

But along the way, it somehow became A-OK for kids to take these addictive “uppers” like Ritalin, Adderall and Concerta, as long as a doctor prescribed them.

Now, parents and grandparents are saying they’ve had enough, with many trying an approach that was introduced decades ago — involving the elimination of as many food additives from the family’s diet as possible (more on that in a minute).

If that sounds completely logical to you, unbelievably, many doctors are saying the evidence just isn’t there, and by delaying the “standard treatment” (another way to say drugs), these kids won’t be helped!

But not only is the evidence there, it has been there for quite a while.

Back in the 1970s (before “ADHD” was even an official diagnosis), the Feingold Association, a non-profit that studies how food additives and artificial colors affect kids, told parents that by eliminating these additives, kids who were hyperactive could be helped.

And they were.

The Feingold Diet, which involves ditching things such as artificial colors and sweeteners, preservatives, HFCS and (at first) certain foods with high amounts of salicylates, has proven over the years to be an extremely successful option.

HSI panel member Dr. Allan Spreen has been an advocate of such dietary interventions for years. He also says that many hyperactive children are chemically sensitive — so the “trick is finding out what the sensitivity is.”

“Improvement can be absolutely amazing,” Dr. Spreen says, “and then maddening” to realize that so much could be done for these kids simply in the kitchen.

One recent article on swapping better nutrition for drugs makes the excellent point that there’s a “big nutrition knowledge gap” in mainstream medicine, and that doctors are more familiar with using pharmaceutical approaches than dietary ones — even warning parents just to stick to the “prescribed” remedies, rather than attempting to solve the problem at home!

But familiar or not, we’re still talking about meds that are linked to heart attacks, strokes, broken bones, suicide and sudden death. I wish someone could please explain to me how cutting dyes, preservatives and artificial flavors out of a child’s diet is somehow going to harm them?

Unfortunately, as more and more parents drop the drugs and try these common-sense approaches to treating kids who are hyperactive, you can expect the dire warnings to get even more intense.

After all, we’re talking about taking some of the billions right out of the pockets of drugmakers. You can bet they’re angry about that — and putting more pressure than ever on the medical profession not to yield to parents who think they might have a better idea of how to get their kids focused.

But no matter how much your pediatrician, school nurse or well-meaning friend or relative may advise you to “get with the program” and allow your child to be medicated, as Dr. Spreen says “never assume that drugs are the only answer.”

“Seeking an alternative to medication, parents tinker with diet to treat ADHD” Colleen Kimmett, May 2, 2017, Stat, statnews.com