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What foods cause children to be more hyperactive?

There are certain foods that can make children more hyperactive. Generally, foods with refined sugars can make children more hyperactive and should be limited in a child’s healthy diet. There has been a study that liked certain food colorings and preservatives (such as sodium benzoate and FD&C Yellow No. 6) to hyperactivity, however because this study looked at a combination of food additives, it is not clear which additives in particular affected the children’s behavior. In general, a diet that eliminates too many foods can limit your child’s intake of healthy nutrients and vitamins and you should consult with your physician before starting your child on a limited diet. There are no foods that cause attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
 

We’re starting to get some confirmation of what parents have suspected all along – certain “junk food” additives MAY increase hyperactivity in kids who are already prone to this problem. While the results are being hammered out by the scientists, it’s best to focus on giving your kids the most healthy diet possible: focus on whole, unprocessed foods, including lots of fruits and veggies. Children with growing bodies (and brains) also need a diet high in “good fats”.  I also recommend that parents experiment with taking various “suspect” foods out of their kids’ diets, to see if there really is a difference. A nutritionist can help you with the details.

But KNOWING a food triggers hyperactivity in your kid doesn’t mean you can always prevent him from eating it. Our kids are surrounded by “junk food” opportunities, including birthday parties and sports and club functions. Help him think through the impact that junk food has on his system, and help him decide when to splurge on that cupcake – and when to go for the carrots with ranch dressing instead. Modeling healthy eating habits yourself helps too -- as does making realistic, incremental changes in the family diet. Healthy eating is a lifelong project, and the lessons start now.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.