Foods to Avoid with ADHD

Foods to Avoid with ADHD
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An ADHD friendly diet is more complex than simply limiting caffeine intake or large quantities of refined sugars. Media is constantly cramming “health” foods down our throats, but truth be told your best bet in treating ADHD with nourishment is going to be sticking to the basics of the nutrition world, which is the foundation of this ADHD Diet Plan.

In that light, there are not only foods that can help, there are also ones that can definitely make it worse. Here are some that you should do your best to steer clear of if you or your child struggles with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Foods to avoid

Minimize consumption of packaged products

There are very few exceptions to this rule; microwavable dinners, prepackaged lunch meals, energy bars, candy, chips, crackers, and 99% of cereals are loaded with either sugars, salts, preservatives or additives (or all four!). These are not healthy for anyone, but they are particularly risky for someone sensitive to ADHD symptoms who has a higher probability of falling into a spiral of nervous energy.

Avoiding packaged foods will cut back on the amount of preservatives, overly processed flours, corn syrup and corn products, and excess sodium, which have all been eyeballed for their roles in exacerbating ADHD’s intensity.

Eat fresh as often as possible. This Ideal Grocery Shopping List is a fantastic idea of the foods that you should try and fill your kitchen with when you’re trying to tackle ADHD with nutrition, or when you’re striving for good health. You can essentially build your ADHD diet around the items from the grocery list above.


Drastically reduce or, if you can, completely ditch the usual sugar & caffeine suspects
Soda, candy, coffee, and foods with artificial coloring have long been suspected to play a role in ADHD symptoms. While the validity of these claims have come into question over the years, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that loads of soda and candy or an excess of coffee are not going to benefit anyone’s health or the case of someone struggling with a poor attention span.


Keep trans fats out of the diet
Another dietary element that should be avoided by anyone, trans fats are especially bad for an ADHD diet. Hydrogenated oils can actually interfere with the functioning of nerves, not to mention that they clog arteries and consuming them is anything but healthy for the beltline.

Even if your nutrition labels say zero trans fat, look in the ingredients for partially hydrogenated oils; manufacturers can list a food as having zero grams of trans fat, as long as it has below .5 grams per serving. However, even just two grams of trans fat a day is too much, and it adds up quickly.


The right foods and regular physical activity may not be the cure-all for everyone, but it’s a safe way to manage a disorder that can cause discomfort, problematic behavior, alienation, poor grades, discipline problems and more, for both children and adults. Avoiding the above ingredients and foods can go a long ways in helping keep a healthy body and ADHD under control.

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