Thursday, September 06, 2007

Dietary interventions

Modified diets have been an important and often controversial topic of conversation amongst parents of children with autism or ADHD for a long time. Now a study has actually come out and said what parents have known for a long time, namely that children's behaviour is affected by food additives in drinks and confectionary.

Of course it is not just additives that can alter behaviour. Some people are affected by gluten in wheat products and casein in milk products. Then of course there is also the caffeine in cola. Son 1's anxiety is noticably increased if he drinks Pepsi or Coke, both of which he loves and is finding hard to give up ( caffeine-free Coke apparently not being the same!)

Special diets don't work for all children. We tried a gluten-free/casein-free diet on son 2 and it had no effect. We eventually gave up because it was also hard to stick to it rigidly without putting the whole family on the diet, which would have been unfair to son 1. But I do personally know autistic children who have benefitted significantly from such a diet, so it must always be worth a try, as are fish oil and multi-vitamin supplements to remedy any potential deficits.

In any case reducing or cutting out the additives in children's diets is just common sense and can only benefit all.

Three notable things:

1. The woodpecker was on our fruit trees again today.

2. I hope he survived the attentions of two beautiful cats, one black and one ginger, who have strolled across our grass at different times today. We don't get that many cats coming through and these two were both gorgeous.

3. More work got done. More stress means less success but I feel quite relaxed about it at the moment.


Anonymous said...

I agree about the additives. I've started really thinking about the food we eat and looking at cooking more from scratch.

I do have a problem on the drinks side. Apart from water that not many children will drink, especially mine, most of what's available is saturated with rubbish. In particular I don't like sweeteners.

I suppose you can always buy organic, but at what price. But then again price versus my childrens health?

That's where we're let down generally. I think the government should ensure that the healthy foods like organic vegetables and fruit should be cheaper.

Anne Brooke said...

And a woodpecker too - I'm green with envy!



Jackie Luben said...

Why does it take so long for them to come up with something people have been saying for years?

I'm really irritated at the number of cough syrups that contain yellow colouring. It brings me out in horrible spots and I have to stick to Simple cough linctus. It's quite unnecessary.

By the way, just so you can all be envious, we regularly have green woodpeckers in our garden. They peck away at the ants in the grass, for as you know, we have an ant kingdom beneath our property.

Anonymous said...

It actually makes me wonder whether the reason for the increase in cases of children with Autism or ADHD are (in some instances) down to the diet. I've tried to reduce Amy's intake of obvious sugary foods such as chocolate, biscuits, fizzy drinks etc - we could go on - but it hasn't made much difference. Perhaps there have been some times when she appears a little calmer after not having a glass of lemonade but she has autism. I know being sensible is the way forward to help control this complex condition and this often means children having to change their diets, miss out on the niceties and eat more fruit & veg.

If we followed everything the experts told us, we'd be lying in bed all day, drinking water.

Crystal xx

Kerenhappuch said...

There's nothing new under the sun. My son's first wife was working with autistic children outside San Francisco over twenty years ago, noticed that they went hyper after eating Hostess Twinkies and wrote a paper about additives - but of course she was just a young graduate and had to wait for someone with clout to notice. Now, as Doctor Hayhoe people might sit up and take notice!