ADHD Diet Tips: Foods That May Worsen Symptoms

close up appetizing chocolateExperts don't believe that foods actually cause ADHD. However, certain foods can make your ADHD symptoms worse. "Excessive caffeine and excessive use of fast foods and other foods of poor nutritional value can cause kids to display behavior that might be confused with ADHD," said Frank Barnhill, MD, an expert and the author of "Mistaken for ADHD." View more

Everyday Health and Healthline listed the following foods that people with ADHD should avoid eating.


Some foods to avoid include:

  • Energy drinks
  • Fish and other seafood with trace amounts of mercury
  • Artificial dyes and preservatives
  • Foods that cause allergies

Everyone reacts to foods differently. If you are uncertain about the foods that affect your child's or your own ADHD symptoms, keep a food journal. In your journal keep track of the foods that were consumed that day along with the behaviors you observed as a result. You could even do a simple rating chart. Make a list of the most prominent ADHD symptoms. Rate those symptoms (Good, Mild, Moderate, Severe) after each meal, drink, or snack. Compare your behavior ratings with the foods that were consumed to see what foods seem to consistently have a negative affect on behavior.

As stated in Healthline, "Only 40 percent of children with ADHD leave the disorder behind as they mature. Adults with ADHD have higher odds of also having depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. The sooner you control your symptoms, the better your quality of life. So work with your doctor and behavioral coach, and cut chemicals, curb your sweet tooth, and take special precautions with food allergies."

A healthy diet is one important step in managing ADHD symptoms. Remember it is also important to have a program in place to help develop skills such as attention, memory, task completion, etc. Play Attention can help you, your child, or your students develop the essential cognitive skills they need to be successful at school and in the workplace. Play Attention also has a fantastic behavior shaping program that will teach you how to control disruptive or distracting behaviors.

To learn more call one of our helpful advisors at 800-788-6786 or attend an upcoming free, interactive webinar.