Why Do People Follow This Diet?
Children, and some adults, diagnosed with or suspected to have attention deficit–hyperactivity disorder (ADD or ADHD), learning and behavior problems, and asthma often follow this diet. Some people follow it to avoid food additives.
What Do the Advocates Say?
The Feingold diet was developed on the premise that salicylates may trigger hyperactivity. In studies where markedly different levels of salicylates were investigated, a causative role for salicylates could be detected in some hyperactive children. As many as 10 to 25% of all children may be sensitive to salicylates. The success of the diet may depend on the degree of a person’s sensitivity to salicylates and food additives, and the amount of additives present in foods.
According to the Feingold Association, children under six years of age respond within one week of following the diet; children over six may need to follow the diet for two to six weeks to achieve positive results. This elimination diet is advocated as a more natural way of eating, the way people used to do before conditions such as ADD were so prevalent in society.
What Do the Critics Say?
In some studies, the hypothesis that salicylates contribute to hyperactivity does not appear to hold up. The Feingold diet is complex and requires guidance from either the Feingold Association or a healthcare professional familiar with the Feingold diet.
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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2014.