How to Treat ADHD Naturally With Diet

3. Health Benefits of the Few Foods Diet

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Twelve studies have examined the effects of the Few Foods Diet on symptoms of ADHD.

Five of these were uncontrolled trials, while seven were randomized, controlled trials.

Eleven studies found a decrease in symptoms for 50–82% of children, while one study reported improvements for 24% of children (14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22,23, 24, 25).

Additionally, some of the children showed over a 50% improvement in behavior after the elimination phase of the diet (19, 21, 22, 24).

Many of the children also reported fewer headaches, stomach aches, fits, muscle pains and nasal symptoms. Parents reported fewer problems with sleeping, and fewer nighttime awakenings in their children (16, 17, 18, 19).

In one of the studies, these effects were even noticeable on a brain scan when the children ate a sensitizing food (21).

A 2012 review, using eight of these studies, reported an overall effect size very similar to the average effect size of common ADHD medications like Ritalin or Concerta (1, 26, 27).

Several experts agree that the evidence supporting the Few Food Diet is convincing, and it is effective for many children with ADHD (8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 28).

Bottom Line: The Few Foods Diet has been shown to decrease ADHD symptoms for some children — often more than half. Less headaches, fits and sleeping problems have also been reported.

What to Eat on the Few Foods Diet

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For 1–4 weeks, only eat the foods listed below. If you don’t notice improvements to symptoms after 1–2 weeks, you may want to discontinue the diet.

However, the length of this period differs.

Some people see symptoms improve greatly in the first three days, while others don’t experience improvements until the second week.

The Few Foods Diet typically consists of 2–5 protein sources, 2–3 carb sources, 1–2 fat sources, 2 types of fruit, a range of vegetables and drinks.

—> NEXT: Which Foods Should You Eat?