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Question
Posted by: nicolene | 2010/11/06

addhd

I have a 5year old that is hyperactive and does not concentrate on anything. He was adopted at 5 months and we know that he was abused (not sexually) and neglected for the 5 months prior to his adoption. We have since also learned that he has mild brain damage. He was on straterra for 6 months but had lost about 6kg in this time. he is now on half a ritalin pill each day which does not seem to help at all. our dr told us that he is too small for concerta. can you help us with a dieet that will help him cope with his problems. please what " sweeties"  and chips and cooldrinks can we give him, we try only to give him tab if he has to drink cooldrinks but grandpa gives anything and then he is absolutely wild on sugar. help please

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDietDoc

Dear Nicolene
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: www.adsa.org.za 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 'DietnFood' 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 year, it should at least become easier to identify foods and beverages which contain preservatives, colourants and other additives that may trigger susceptible youngsters. It does, however, mean that your child should not be given any sweeties, chips or cold drinks as these products all contain flavourants, colourants and/or preservatives. You can give him fresh or dried fruit and nuts instead of sweets, and teach him to drink diluted fruit juices (e.g. Appletiser, Peartiser, Grapetiser, Liquifruit). The fruit juices should be diluted because at the age of 5 drinking too much undiluted fruit juice could cause weight gain (although he needs to regain the 6 kg he lost on the ADHD treatment).
When you consult the dietitian, discuss other therapies like physiotherapy and OT with her/him because children with ADHD and brain damage respond well to such treatments which can often help them to catch up on a variety of skills (motor coordination, concentration, etc) and help them to relax. Make sure that he also does physical activity like playing or swimming because this discharges some of the excess energy and relaxes children with ADHD.
Wishing you and your child all the best
DietDoc
Best regards
DietDoc

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

1
Our users say:
Posted by: DietDoc | 2010/11/07

Dear Nicolene
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: www.adsa.org.za 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 'DietnFood' 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 year, it should at least become easier to identify foods and beverages which contain preservatives, colourants and other additives that may trigger susceptible youngsters. It does, however, mean that your child should not be given any sweeties, chips or cold drinks as these products all contain flavourants, colourants and/or preservatives. You can give him fresh or dried fruit and nuts instead of sweets, and teach him to drink diluted fruit juices (e.g. Appletiser, Peartiser, Grapetiser, Liquifruit). The fruit juices should be diluted because at the age of 5 drinking too much undiluted fruit juice could cause weight gain (although he needs to regain the 6 kg he lost on the ADHD treatment).
When you consult the dietitian, discuss other therapies like physiotherapy and OT with her/him because children with ADHD and brain damage respond well to such treatments which can often help them to catch up on a variety of skills (motor coordination, concentration, etc) and help them to relax. Make sure that he also does physical activity like playing or swimming because this discharges some of the excess energy and relaxes children with ADHD.
Wishing you and your child all the best
DietDoc
Best regards
DietDoc

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