How Does Diet Affect Kids With ADHD?

By Isabella Simone on Tuesday, February 9, 2021
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Years ago, there was a prevailing theory that ADHD was caused by diet. Many parents subscribed to the Feingold diet or believed that most forms of ADHD were caused by food additives or the modern diet. Modern medicine, however, indicates that these dietary matters are in fact not the cause of ADHD, but that diet can impact the symptoms and presentation of ADHD. Paying attention to one’s diet is crucial for a healthy lifestyle in today’s 21st-century world for all kids, but especially for those diagnosed with ADHD. 

Unfortunately in our busy, fast-paced households, the family diet is too often dictated by how much time we have to cook and prepare a meal rather based on considerations for what meals would be best to eat to benefit our minds and bodies. Our team at South County Child and Family Consultants strongly encourages parents to learn how diet can affect kids with ADHD.

For kids with ADHD, dietary concerns have been a long term topic of discussion. Some recent research raises questions about whether diets such as the Mediterranean diet actually can help kids with ADHD. For the most part, when we look closely at the research it suggests that diet can be helpful at minimizing the impact of ADHD symptoms but is not directly a cause of ADHD. The common observation of kids getting “wired” and overactive after eating too many sweets at a birthday party (remember them?) is probably a result of the sugar, as well as the atmosphere of other excitable kids. Some kids with ADHD are likely to be more affected by excessive sweets, however almost all kids would benefit from their parents setting appropriate limits on sugar intake.

To learn more about how diet affects kids with ADHD, I encourage you to check out the following links:


Natural Medicine: Building a Holistic Treatment Plan for Children 

Sandy Newmark, in her webinar “How Diet, Sleep, Exercise & Behavioral Interventions Can Reduce ADHD Symptoms in Children,” describes the importance of these four areas in a child’s ability to reduce their ADHD symptoms.

ADHD Diets

This YouTube video, by the Children’s Physicians Medical Group, is a short discussion from Dr. Nicholas Levy on the importance of a healthy diet for kids with ADHD.

Diet Tips and Snack Ideas for Kids with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). 

This article published by Healthline Parenthood provides a lengthy list of foods that parents and guardians should work to include into the diet of a child with ADHD. 

The Influence of Diet on ADHD 

This article, from the Psychiatric Times, discusses research on diet and ADHD and gives strategies about fatty acids, elimination diets, and micronutrient intake.

ADHD and Eating Right

This YouTube video, by the National Resource Center on ADHD, is a short video packed with great information on how diet can affect ADHD. 


You can learn more about how diet affects kids with ADHD by contacting Dr. Randy Kulman at South County Child and Family Consultants in Wakefield, RI. Call our office at 401-789-1553 or email us at

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