Is ADHD Caused By Food?

I read this piece on Civil Eats with great interest. It discusses a study that links ADHD in children in with the consumption of processed foods.

There are a multitude of credible scientific studies to indicate that diet plays a large role in the development of ADHD. One study found that the depletion of zinc and copper in children was more prevalent in children with ADHD. Another study found that one particular dye acts as a “central excitatory agent able to induce hyperkinetic behavior.” And yet another study suggests that the combination of various common food additives appears to have a neurotoxic effect—pointing to the important fact that while low levels of individual food additives may be regarded as safe for human consumption, we must also consider the combined effects of the vast array of food additives that are now prevalent in our food supply.

This is interesting because back when I was first diagnosed with allergies, as well as multiple chemical sensitivity, I read plenty of books, studies and articles that linked ADHD to chemical exposure. Not necessarily in food, although food was certainly an important medium of transfer.

Having said that, I have a friend with a child who has ADHD. She relates knowing that her son had the illness only a few weeks after he was born, based on watching him in his crib. It may have been that her diet while she was pregnant was high in processed foods, but I think it’s more likely that children are born with ADHD and that the symptoms can be made worse by exposure to the chemicals in processed foods.

But it’s certainly a reasonable excuse to ensure kids get a wholesome diet of real food, grown as organically as possible.