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Special Diets for Kids with Learning and Behavioral Disorders


Many parents are trying special diets for their children with learning and behavioral disorders like ADHD, ODD, and Asperger Syndrome. As more research suggests that there is indeed a gut-brain connection linking digestion problems and food sensitivities with behavioral and learning difficulties, parents are often left wondering which special diets, if any, are right for their child. Learn more about various special diets below and how The Brain Balance Program can help you provide the right nutrition for your child with a learning or behavioral disorder.

Types of Special Diets Often Used for Learning and Behavioral Disorders

Paleo Diet - A Paleo Diet is based on the eating habits of cavemen and gets its name from the Paleolithic era. The diet is high in protein and has a low glycemic index. It is also heavy in fruits and vegetables that contain phytochemical, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. Paleo enthusiasts describe it as a diet free of inflammatory foods, meaning it is a dairy-free, legume-free, grain-free, and sugar-free diet. Critics of the diet are quick to point out that its restrictive nature may limit balanced nutrition.

Feingold Diet – The Feingold Diet is a special diet based on the belief that artificial ingredients and some preservatives contribute to behavioral and learning difficulties in children. Off limit foods include artificial colors (dyes), flavors, and sweeteners (aspartame). Additionally, three preservatives - BHA, BHT and TBHQ – are avoided. Many parents report improved symptoms when foods identified as triggers are avoided. In fact, the belief that artificial ingredients contribute to behavioral symptoms in sensitive individuals is now gaining traction due to this recent research.

Gluten-Free Diet – A gluten-free diet excludes grains such as wheat, barley, rye, and triticale, all of which contain the protein gluten. A gluten-free diet is a must for individuals with Celiac Disease, as gluten is responsible for dangerous inflammation in the digestive system if consumed. Many parents believe that a child can be sensitive to gluten even if he or she doesn’t have Celiac Disease and have decided to try gluten-free diet to see if their child’s symptoms improve.

Dairy-Free Diet – Some parents are choosing to keep their kids on a dairy-free diet since research shows that more than half of the population is lactose-intolerant. Humans possess the ability to breakdown lactose, a sugar found in milk, as babies and young children, but most lose this ability between the ages of two and five. When lactose is consumed by someone whose body can no longer break it down for digestion, it leads to symptoms of digestive discomfort like bloating, diarrhea, gas, and stomach pain. In addition, a dairy allergy can cause unhealthy bacteria to overgrow and produce toxins, leading to intestinal inflammation and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Since stomach aches and digestion issues can contribute to behavioral and attention problems in kids, some parents are trying a dairy-free diet to see if symptoms improve.

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Disclaimer: The information presented on this web site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment of specific medical conditions. Discuss this information with your healthcare provider to determine what is right for you and your family.

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