Can Diet Affect ADHD?

Dawn Davenport


Diet Affects ADHDADHD is a hot topic with parents. Does my kid have it? Should I medicate him? Would better teaching or better parenting make a difference? I really loved the show we aired yesterday on Diagnosing and Treating ADHD. Dr. Vincent Monastra, a clinical psychologist specializing in ADHD, wrote the ADHD book published by the American Psychological Association–Parenting Children with ADHD: 10 Lesson that Medicine Cannot Teach. His advice was practical and founded in the research.


To Medicate or Not with ADHD

According to Dr. Monastra, the research supports that medication can be effective, but it needs to be tailored to the specific type of ADHD. About 80% of kids will have the type of ADHD with an underactive frontal brain lobe. For those kids, a stimulant medication can work. Stimulant meds are a disaster for kids with the type of ADHD with an overactive frontal lobe.

Diet and ADHD

Dr. Monastra does not take a one-size fits all approach to treating ADHD. He also encourages parents to look at food allergies and sleep. The most interesting thing we discussed was the increased need for protein for all kids, but especially for kids on ADHD medication. He discusses specific numbers of protein grams needed for breakfast and lunch on the show, but for an example, a 10-12 year old would need around 15 grams of protein at both breakfast and lunch.

I really do recommend that you listen to this show if you have a child that struggles with attention.

Have you found that changing your child’s diet affects their attention?

07/08/2014 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Adoption, Adoption Blog, Blog | 1 Comments

One Response to Can Diet Affect ADHD?

  1. Avatar Greg says:

    Thank you so much for covering this topic Dawn.

    I’m someone with ADD who was diagnosed at the age of 3. The one thing I believe is missing from studies is personal stories of adults who were diagnosed as children as having ADD or ADHD. Hearing our stories will help doctors and the general public understand us and to also better identify kids who have it. My personal feeling is that it’s overdiagnosed today and that many kids who they say have it don’t.

    In the early 1980’s when I was diagnosed there wasn’t much out there in terms of information on the disability. My parents were told I’d never function in a mainstream classroom. It took a big commitment from them believing in me, spending time with me and advocating for me at school to elevate me to where I ended up. They avoided me going on any medication until I was 16 years old. Their fear were the side effects of the drugs that were out there at the time whereas the newer drug I went on was a better fit for me.

    As to diet, I don’t think any type of diet had an impact on my ability to function either way. Though I think as with any diet you’ll feel and function better when you eat better.

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