ADHD: diet or drugs? The debate continues

A Dutch study, published in The Lancet in February, is among the latest to add to the debate: 64% of the children on a five-week restricted elimination diet had significant improvements in their symptoms. 

The randomised controlled study included 100 children who had all been previously diagnosed with ADHD. Those in the intervention group were fed only a handful of foods such as turkey, water, rice and lettuce before other foods were gradually added back in. 

The hypothesis is that most cases of ADHD are triggered by a hypersensitivity reaction to certain foods, lead author Dr Lidy Pelsser of the ADHD Research Centre in the Netherlands said.

“ADHD is just a couple of symptoms, not a disease,” she said. “There is a paradigm shift needed: we need to be saying, ‘We’ve got those symptoms, let’s start looking for the cause’.”

She said dietary changes should be trialled first and