The link between diet and attention deficit hyperactivity

The link between diet and attention deficit hyperactivity

Characterized by levels of inattention, disorganization, impulsivity and hyperactivity that make it difficult for people with it to lead a normal life, ADHD is a developmental disorder in children.

And that if left untreated it risks becoming problematic even for the adult.

About 5% of children worldwide are affected by ADHD, but the percentages are unclear, because in many cases this disorder is not diagnosed in time.


Much has been said about the link between diet and attention deficit hyperactivity.
For example, you have undoubtedly heard that a high sugar content and especially fructose in the child’s diet is linked to a greater risk of having this particular disorder.

Well, that’s not the case.
I know you have read a lot of studies linking ADHD to increased sugar consumption , but today two very important researches clarify the role of diet in this disorder.

In fact, until now, studies had simply found a correlation, but not a causality, between the excessive consumption of simple sugars in the form of sugary snacks and drinks and ADHD.

New research, from 2019, however, explains that sugar consumption is not the cause of ADHD and therefore putting the child on a sugar-free diet doesn’t help.

Conversely, ADHD sufferers consume more sugar as a result of the energy expenditure spent in the brain.
In fact, there was no significant association between children between the ages of 6 and 11 who ate a diet richer in simple sugars and a greater risk of having this disorder.

Experts agree with the research result, speaking of parental false belief. 
This false belief is supported by viral videos and fake news circulating online.


Another research , on the other hand, identifies the lack of vitamins and mineral salts as a possible dietary risk for children with ADHD on two levels.

  • In maternal gestational nutrition, which, if rich in industrial products and not very nutritious, increases the probability of infant risk.
  • With the child’s own diet.
    Here too, however, we are not talking about the cause, although other studies have pointed out that some additives contained in industrial foods, such as artificial flavors, can increase the risk of ADHD. 

The problem therefore is not the sugar itself, but the choice of food.

The sugars that come from honey and especially from both fresh and dehydrated fruit without additives (dates, figs, apricots, raisins) , or from homemade fruit sorbets, can help reduce the consumption of industrial foods on the one hand, and on the other hand, provide the child with vitamins and mineral salts that he may not get enough from vegetables.

Milk, freshly squeezed orange juice and organic apple juice are a source of potassium and other minerals such as magnesium, as opposed to the absolute lack of nutrients of other drinks.

If the child is therefore accustomed to these foods compared to packaged ones, on the one hand we support his energy demand for simple sugars, on the other we are providing him with those vitamins and natural (not added) mineral salts that can support him and allow him a healthy eating.

Furthermore, the more a child exhibits a high metabolic rate from hyperactivity, the more his body needs vitamins and minerals to support energy needs.

Therefore, paying attention to sugar sources and providing the child with a healthier and more nutritious diet can be a way to reduce some of the effects of the disorder.

Insights. Dietitian-proof children’s diet tips. 

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