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ADHD Diet: Feingold Diet: Foods to Avoid

The Feingold Diet is one of the oldest diets known to have a high success rate in helping children overcome attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.   This dietary approach involves eliminating food additives and food items that may be causing hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention in children.  Unlike most diets, the Feingold Diet also restricts non-food items that contain certain chemical compounds that children with ADHD may be allergic to.

When you buy groceries, check the ingredient labels for the following artificial additives.

Food with Artificial Coloring

The Food and Drug Administration has received petitions calling for Yellow 5, Red 40, Yellow 6, Red 3, Green 3, Orange B, Blue 1, and Blue 2 to be banned.

Food with Artificial Flavoring

Artificial flavorings may besynthetic or natural chemicals. Listed below are chemical compounds and the flavors they’re supposed to reproduce.

Chemical Compound Flavor
 Allyl hexanoate
 Benzaldehyde  Almond
 Cinnamic aldehyde
 Diacetyl  Butter
 Ethyl vanillin
 Ethyl maltol
 Cotton Candy
 Ethyl propionate
 Isoamyl acetate
 Limonene  Orange
 Methyl anthranilate
 Methyl salycilate

These chemical flavorings are commonly found in candy, industrially manufactured juice drinks, and soda. 

Food with Artificial Preservatives

Parabens - commonly derived from petroleum and widely used in pickled products, cheese, jam, margarine, and beverages.

Sulphites –used as preservatives for soups, dehydrated vegetables, biscuits, sauces, fruit juice, dried fruit, instant coffee, and French fries, among many other products.  Other examples of sulphite preservatives include calcium sulphite, sodium, sulphite, and potassium sulphite.

Benzoates – tasteless and odorless preservatives used to extend the shelf lives of soft drinks, jams, margarine, juice, sauces, certain fruit juices, pickles, cider, and milkshake syrup.

Nitrates and nitrates – potentially carcinogenic preservatives that prevent toxic bacteria and food poisoning in fish produce, red meat, cured meat, and some cheeses.

Propionates – protect breads and baked goods from molds.

Other artificial preservatives eliminated from the Feingold Diet are BHA, BHT, and TBHQ.


Salicylates are a group of chemicals related to aspirin that work as natural pesticides in fruits and vegetables.  They are also used in perfumes, medicines, and solvents. In the Feingold Diet, salicylates are restricted rather than eliminated. 

Fruits – all fruit except pears and bananas contain moderate to very high levels of salicylates.

Vegetables – all vegetables except dried beans, bamboo shoots, celery, cabbage, lentils, iceberg lettuce, dried peas, and potatoes contain moderate to very high levels of salicylates.

Nuts and legumes – all nuts except poppy seeds contain moderate to very high levels of salicylates. 

Sweets – all sweets except white sugar, maple syrup, cocoa, and carob contain moderate to very high levels of salicylates.

Fats and oils – all fats and oils except canola oil, sunflower oil, butter, and margarine contain moderate to high levels of salicylates.

If you are interested in trying the Feingold Diet, consult a holistic health care practitioner or consult . You may also want to check out the UnRitalin Solution, which features a diet that integrates principles of the Feingold Diet.