The Feingold Diet Program for ADHD

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Reviews of Studies
Allen, DH: "In the majority of patients presenting with food intolerance, recognized or otherwise, symptoms are precipitated by various small, non-immunogenic organic molecules present in the food as natural or added ingredients. These reactions are pharmacological rather than immunological in nature, although in some situations they may share a final common pathway with true allergic reactions, resulting in similar symptoms."
Arnold: "The oligoantigenic or few-foods diet [an extreme Feingold-type diet] has convincing double-blind evidence of efficacy in multiple trials for a properly selected subgroup."
Arnold: "Oligoantigenic (few-foods) diets . . . do not appear promising for adults."

Note: Dr. Arnold explained to us that his conclusion is based, not on a study showing lack of effect, but on the lack of any study on the effect of diet on adults.

Berdonces: "psychiatric medication [for ADHD] has major risks in children. From complementary medicine we can find several aids in changing diet patterns and supplementing with vitamins or minerals."
Breakey: "The research has shown that diet definitely affects some children."
Collins-Williams, C: "Tartrazine [Yellow #5], a common additive in foods and drugs, often causes adverse reactions such as recurrent urticaria, angioedema, and asthma and is frequently implicated in hyperkinesis. This paper summarizes the recent literature on the subject and outlines a practical approach for the practicing physician to diagnose and treat these patients in an optimal manner. "
Ghuman: "The current level of evidence for adequacy ... is Level A for methylphenidate and Level B for parent behavior training, child training, and additive-free elimination diet."
McFadden, SA:"...a significant number of individuals with environmental intolerance or chronic disease have impaired sulfation of phenolic xenobiotics. This impairment is demonstrated with the probe drug acetaminophen and is presumably due to starvation of the sulfotransferases for sulfate substrate... In addition, impaired sulfation may be relevant to intolerance of phenol, tyramine, and phenylic food constituents, and it may be a factor in the success of the Feingold diet."
Rimland B: "If the incoming data are of no value, no amount of massaging, analysis, or manipulation will increase its value."
. . .
"Suppose that thalidomide, rather than inducing structural deformities, had instead depressed IQ scores by 10%; would we ever have suspected it of adverse effects?"

Schab, DW: "We searched ten electronic databases for double-blind placebo-controlled trials evaluating the effects of AFCs [artificial food colors]. ... Despite indications of publication bias and other limitations, this study is consistent with accumulating evidence that neurobehavioral toxicity may characterize a variety of widely distributed chemicals."
Schnoll: " ... diet modification plays a major role in the management of ADHD and should be considered as part of the treatment protocol."
Schnyder B: "The therapy of food intolerance is a corresponding diet"
Weiss, B: (1982) The Feingold hypothesis postulates that many children who exhibit disturbed behavior improve on a diet devoid of certain food additives. Its validity has been examined on the bassis of controlled trials. The total evidence, although not wholly consistent, nevertheless suggests that the hypothesis is, in principle, correct. "
Weiss, B: (1994) "The conventional risk assessment structure, however, was designed primarily around cancer. . . the methods currently used to assess the potential toxicity of many substances, including food additives, typically ignore subtle, and often sensitive, neurobehavioral measures."
Zeisel, SH: "Diet clearly influences neurotransmission. . . . Given that there is little potential for harm and that there is a subpopulation that may respond, a trial of a diet that contains no food additives may be a valid diagnostic approach for children with attention deficit disorder who do not respond to stimulant therapy or for children for whom stimulant therapy is not desired."

In alphabetical order by primary researcher
Last updated: 11/21/2012