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15 Mar 2010

ADD and right diet
Dear Dietdoc,

Are there any foods to be avoided, or encouraged, for a 7-year old diagnosed with ADD? Although I don''t know whether it stimulates ADD, I do try to limit foodstuffs with preservatives, but find this very difficult, as South African foods are still ridden with preservatives. (I lived in the US for a while where one finds shelves full of preservative-free foods). Woolies has quite a few products that are preservative-free, but I cannot afford doing our grocery shopping there.

Your advice would be much appreciated.
Answer 405 views

01 Jan 0001

Dear Ellen
Research indicates that diets that are free of all preservatives, colourants and flavourants do benefit children with ADHD. In addition it is a good idea to increase the intake of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in the diet of children with ADHD. I do not have a copy of such a diet, so would recommend that you consult a clinical dietitian (visit the Association for Dietetics in SA Website at: and click on "Find a Dietitian" to find a dietitian in your area). The dietitian will assist you with the additive-free diet, but still ensure that your child gets all the nutrients he needs for normal growth and development. To read more about diet and ADHD, click on 'Diet' at the top of this page and then do a Search for the articles I wrote last year on "DO WE NEED A BAN ON CERTAIN FOOD ADDITIVES?" and "DIET FOR A HEALTHY NERVOUS SYSTEM- DIET & ADHD". If you want to give your child a diet that is free of preservatives, colourants and flavourants then you would need to use only unprocessed foods, e.g. fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and eggs prepared at home, home baked bread and home prepared legumes and plain starches like pasta, maize grits, crushed wheat and unsifted maize meal, plus pure oils like olive oil. With the publication of the new SA Food Labelling Regulations this month, it should at least become easier to identify foods and beverages which contain preservatives, colourants and other additives that may trigger susceptible youngsters.
Best regards
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