The 5% notion

young woman with magnifying glass isolated on a white background

The 5% claim has been around for many years. Critics say that “studies show” that the Feingold Diet helps only 5% (or 2% or 1%) of the children who use it. They generally don’t cite any studies to support this, which is

understandable, since there aren’t any. Often, the source cited is a report from a 1982 National Institutes of Health panel which examined the research from the late 1970s through 1981. The panel concluded that while the Feingold Diet is a valid option for the treatment of hyperactivity, the then-existing studies did not support the clinical reports of 60 to 70% success. However, the panel said, the studies were flawed as most of them focused on dyes only, ignoring other aspects of the diet, such as artificial flavors, preservatives and salicylates. “Therefore, these controlled challenge studies do not appear to have addressed adequately the role of diet in hyperactiviey.” 1982 was years ago.  Newer, better designed studies have shown a success rate between 58% and 81% depending upon the design of the study. Interestingly, one early study from the University of Wisconsin showed a 100% success rate.

Who improves on the Feingold Diet?

bar-chartDepending on how well the diet was designed, more than 50% to more than 90% of children responded well. In some of these studies, the researchers followed up implementation of the Feingold-type diet with a double-blind challenge using only very small amounts of one or a mix of food dyes. They had been told to use no more than 27 mg by the food additive industry organization calling itself the “Nutrition Foundation,” and some used far less. If they didn’t get results from their challenge, instead of concluding that the challenge didn’t work, they strangely concluded that the diet didn’t work. Oddly, this was occurring at the same time that the National Research Council had already published the 1977 Survey of 12,000 people on the Use of Food Additives, which concluded that children were eating up to more than 300 mg food dyes per day. Because the researchers used different amounts of food dye in their studies, they got different results.  Doctors may even tell you that the research doesn’t show anything because it is “all over the place”

Some of the Research

Get in Touch. Get Involved.

This website is for educational purposes only. Neither a diagnosis nor a prescription is required in order to implement the Feingold Diet as a healthy choice. This information is not intended, however, to replace competent medical diagnosis. The Feingold® Association does not endorse, approve or assume responsibility for any product, brand, method or treatment. The presence (or absence) of a product on a Feingold Foodlist, or the discussion of a method or treatment does not constitute approval (or disapproval). The Foodlists are based primarily upon information supplied by manufacturers and are not based upon independent testing.