Food and Diet for ADD | Elizabeth Kahn |

  • ADD, or attention deficit disorder, is a name given to a set  of symptoms with an unknown cause that relate to the nervous system. It is  estimated that 3 to 5 percent of children have this disorder. Most commonly  prescribed for these disorders are amphetamines. These drugs stimulate parts of  the brain that are inactive in many sufferers of this disorder. Food and diet  have been helpful in reversing symptoms in 50 to 70 percent of ADD sufferers,  according to “The ADD Answer” by Dr. Frank Lawlis.

Dietary Causes:

  • There are many foods that have been found to cause ADD.  These  include chocolate, dairy products, white flour or gluten, a low-protein diet and others. In one study 74 percent of ADD  sufferers responded abnormally to an insulin test, which means many may have a  problem with sugar. Food allergies often also play a role in ADD, and the culprit foods can be  discovered by doing an elimination diet. Many patients who have been diagnosed  with ADD have allergies to food additives such as dyes, preservatives and  salicylates in food and others.

ADD Diet:

  • An organic diet rich in vegetables, some fruits, whole grains  and legumes can be helpful in determining if dietary factors are causing these  symptoms. Follow the proportions of the food guide pyramid. Avoid dairy  products, white flour, sugar, carbonated beverages and foods that contain a high  amount of phosphates, juices high in sugar, processed foods and foods that  contain salicylates such as almonds, berries, cucumbers, peaches and  tomatoes.

Foods to Avoid:

  • Commonly suspect and foods to avoid include ketchup, fat,  apple cider vinegar, chocolate, corn, ham, chili sauce, mustard, pork, colored  cheeses, refined sugar, simple carbohydrates, butter, candy, luncheon meat, salami, meatloaf, milk,  sausage, soy sauce, milk, salt, tea and wheat. Also avoid antacid tablets, cough  drops, throat lozenges and commercial toothpaste (use only natural  toothpaste).


  • A nutritionist can help identify what dietary factors, if any,  might be causing these symptoms. Additionally, both lead and copper have been  implicated in ADD, and these can be identified by performing a hair analysis.  Once the food culprits are identified and the diet and body are put back into balance, many of  these foods can be reintroduced successfully.

References & Resources:

  • “Prescription for Nutritional Healing;” Phyllis A.  Balch; 2006
  • “Ritalin Nation;” Dr. Richard DeGrandpre; 1999
  • “The ADD Answer” Dr. Frank Lawlis; 2004
  • My USDA Food  Pyramid