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Three Facts about ADHD and Nutrition

Your doctor may not tell you this, but poor nutrition and diet is a very common cause of ADHD.  ADHD has been around for a long time, but only over the last two decades did the cases of childhood ADHD increase significantly.  While there are many reasons for this increase, many symptoms of ADHD can be explained by the increase in processed foods and junk foods in the market.  These foods contain harmful chemicals and additives that aggravate hyperactivity and impulsivity while failing to give any real nutritional value. Here are three facts that can help explain the relationship between ADHD and nutrition.

Artificial food color, preservatives, and flavor are made of harmful chemicals

Many foods and candies marketed to children look harmless enough, but their artificial color, preservatives, and flavoring contain chemicals you'd never want your kids to eat.  For instance, many artificial food dyes contain petroleum, a type of crude oil used for gasoline. Synthetic preservatives are also made of crude oil. Of course, food additives have been used for many years now. The difference is that children consumed less of them in the past.  Today, however, the average child living in the United States is exposed to the man-made chemicals in food every day, sometimes all day.

Sugar can cause ADHD

It sounds like an old wives' tale, but sugar can indeed aggravate the symptoms of ADHD, especially the hyperactive component.  Our bodies and minds obtain energy from the glucose or sugar in our blood.  Without a steady supply of glucose, we have difficulty concentrating on tasks, we feel weak and lethargic, and we are unable to accomplish everyday tasks. All foods contain nutrients that can be converted into glucose. Candy, chocolate, and other sweets seem to be an obvious choice for glucose, but the glucose they contain only lasts for half an hour. When a child eats a bar of chocolate, he or she experiences a burst of energy from the sugar, followed by a crash shortly after.  A better source of energy for kids is fruits and vegetables, which contain slow-burning glucose that last for hours.

Wheat and milk products can produce morphine-like effects

Pizza, cereal, spaghetti, and ice cream - these are just some of the foods kids enjoy eating. They are also made of either wheat or cow's milk, which contain gluten and casein – complex proteins that cannot be easily digested by the body. The human digestive system was designed to process fruits, vegetables, and meat. Foods made of wheat and dairy came relatively late into human evolution, and this is why our digestive system has trouble breaking down their gluten and casein content.  Partially-digested gluten and casein form peptides, a chain of amino acids that aggravate digestive problems and cause morphine-like effects on the brain.  The old wives' tale of eating bread as a mild painkiller is based on this fact.

As you can see, the food our kids eat has more to do with ADHD than a chemical imbalance does. This is why ADHD should not be treated with medication; a pill can't do anything if the real cause of ADHD is still there.  Instead of medicating your kids, consider seeing a holistic doctor who can prescribe an ADHD diet and other natural treatments that can get rid of the symptoms for good.