Hyperactivity and Diet Treatment

  title={Hyperactivity and Diet Treatment},
  author={Kenneth A. Kavale and Steven R. Forness},
  journal={Journal of Learning Disabilities},
  pages={324 - 330}
This paper is a review of primary research investigating the Feingold hypothesis which suggests diet modification as an efficacious treatment for hyperactivity. The techniques of meta-analysis were used to integrate statistically the findings from 23 studies. The primary finding indicates that diet modification is not an effective intervention for hyperactivity as evidenced by the negligible treatment effects which are only slightly greater than those expected by chance. When the data were… 

Figures and Tables from this paper

Restriction and elimination diets in ADHD treatment.

  • J. NiggK. Holton
  • Psychology, Medicine
    Child and adolescent psychiatric clinics of North America
  • 2014

Diet and child behavior problems: fact or fiction?

Historical background information regarding dietary treatment in children with behavioral disorders is provided, the evidence-based literature for common dietary interventions are reviewed, and limitations in the research are discussed.

The efficacy of psychological, educational, and behavioral treatment. Confirmation from meta-analysis.

Although meta-analysis has limitations, there are good reasons to believe that its results are more credible than those of conventional reviews and to conclude that well-developed psychological, educational, and behavioral treatment is generally efficacious.

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Critical Appraisal of Extended Treatment Studies

A systematic review of the literature on the long-term treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder found that Rigorous treatment research among representative samples of ADHD individuals is needed.

Effectiveness of Restricted Elimination Diets for Management of ADHD: Concerns about the 2011 INCA Study

The K-P diet was not a panacea for ADHD and was surely not going to replace other science-based treatments for the disorder, and there seemed to be some small effect, presumably due to allergic responses, but hardly the extensive and pervasive effects claimed by Feingold.

Diet and ADHD, Reviewing the Evidence: A Systematic Review of Meta-Analyses of Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Trials Evaluating the Efficacy of Diet Interventions on the Behavior of Children with ADHD

Considering the small average ESs PUFA supplementation is unlikely to provide a tangible contribution to ADHD treatment, while further research is required for AFC elimination before advising this intervention as ADHD treatment.

Recent Research on Food Additives: Implications for CAMH.

The question of the possible role of food additives, and specifically food colours, in elevating hyperactive behaviour in children has been long debated. There is now replicated evidence that the

Diet-Behavior Relationships: Focus on Depression

Human beings persistently demonstrate a vivid interest in the effect of food on behaviour. Thoughout recorded history, every cultural and ethnic group has associated certain dietary practices and

Diet in the treatment of ADHD in children—A systematic review of the literature

Elimination diets and fish oil supplementation seem to be the most promising dietary interventions for a reduction in ADHD symptoms in children, however, the studies on both treatments have shortcomings, and more thorough investigations will be necessary to decide whether they are recommendable as part of ADHD treatment.



The Efficacy of Stimulant Drug Treatment for Hyperactivity

  • K. Kavale
  • Psychology
    Journal of learning disabilities
  • 1982
It is shown that the extant literature provides a basis for concluding that stimulant drugs are an effective treatment for hyperactivity and that general findings indicate positive effects for drug intervention.

Diet and hyperactivity: is there a relationship?

The article under this title written by F. J. Stare and colleagues gives rise to considerable concern because of the use of unpublished data to support an argument that is more destructive than constructive in its criticism.

Food Additives and Hyperkinesis: A Controlled Double-Blind Experiment

It is concluded that the K-P diet may reduce hyperkinetic symptoms, though this result is put forth with caution in view of several features inherent in the present study which need further evaluation.

“One Jumped Off the Balance Beam”

It was concluded that extant research, although possessing methodological flaws not allowing definitive conclusions in previous narrative reviews, has demonstrated that perceptual-motor training is not effective and should be questioned as a feasible intervention technique for exceptional children.

Relative effects of drugs and diet on hyperactive behaviors: an experimental study.

There is evidence to suggest that the behavior of three to eight children was diet-responsive, depending on the criteria used, and there is evidence, particularly in teacher ratings, in support of Feingold's hypothesis if it is modified.


Following Feingold's dietary prescription, an elimination diet relevant to the foods available in Sydney was developed and the treatment regime is described, and the results of its application to 15 hyperkinetic children are presented.

A review of stimulant drug research with hyperactive children.

  • R. Barkley
  • Psychology
    Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines
  • 1977
Although most side effects are transitory, suppressed weight and height gain may remain problematic throughout treatment and follow-up studies find the long-term psycho-social adjustment of these children to be essentially unaffected by stimulant drug treatment.

Case Studies of Effects of Artificial Food Colors On Hyperactivity

Evidence for Feingold's hypothesis that synthetic food colors cause hyperactivity in some children is weak, and 6 hyperactive boys constituted a single-subject experiment, where 1 of the 6 subjects responded with hyperactive behavior to the challenge cookies.


A comparison of mother ratings of behaviour during challenge and placebo doubleblind trial and in the 24 hours preceding tests, in a subgroup of the children who, while on the diet, showed a 25% reduction of symptoms on the Conner's rating scale, indicated a significant challenge effect.

Symptom alleviation in the hyperactive child by dietary modification: a report of two cases.

  • J. Stine
  • Medicine, Psychology
    The American journal of orthopsychiatry
  • 1976
Case reports are presented of two hyperactive preschool boys, one with severe cognitive and one with emotional problems, treated as a last resort with the Kaiser-Permanente elimination diet. Outcomes