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A Question For The Group Mind...

Anybody out there have any experience with the Feingold Diet?
I'm reading through their website, and it has sort of a cult feel to it, but a lot of what they say makes sense.

Katie is being a wild thing lately. If it just the terrible twos and sibling rivalry, I can last it out, but if it is something deeper, I want to get an early start on it. And I figure, it can't hurt.



( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 19th, 2009 04:31 am (UTC)
Quackwatch is my favourite place to check out cult-y-sounding medical ideas. Their verdict seems to be that the studies don't show a benefit from the diet, but that it's harmless at least. It sounds like a lot of trouble for maybe no benefit, but that's for you to decide. There doesn't seem to be a big downside other than taking time and effort for you.

Looking at it, I wonder if maybe the benefit in behaviour, if there is one, is from eating more vegetables and whole grains because you have to cook so much stuff at home instead of buying processed food - not necessarily from avoiding all the preservatives and colours and such? Well, who knows. But the list of preservatives and artificial this and that that they list covers a very broad set of chemical categories. It's hard for me to figure out how they could ALL affect behaviour, so it makes me scratch my head at the premise of the diet.

One diet-type-thing for ADHD that I have heard good things about is fish oil supplements. I recommend them to parents of ADD/ADHD spectrum children who don't want to try a prescription medication. (It's not quite as effective as ritalin. But on the bright side, it's not ritalin! :) ) They even make fish oil chewy candies, although they have a weird texture. But just adding extra fish to the diet, especially salmon, could be beneficial. If it even is ADHD. But if it's not, well, heck, fish sticks and salmon-salad-sammiches are still tasty. :)
Jul. 19th, 2009 05:03 am (UTC)
I was just about to post that link!
Jul. 19th, 2009 04:49 am (UTC)
Watch what she's eating and where she goes, and track it with behavior. There may not be any correlation -- it may be hunger, it may be thirst, or she may be tired or overstimulated. Or she may need to go to the bathroom -- one of our neighbor kids used to get really cranky when she needed to poop. (DB used to melt down when he got dehydrated, regardless of what he had eaten.) It could even be an environmental allergy.

If there's a familial history of food allergies, try eliminating/restricting those foods first. It rarely hurts to limit artificial flavorings, colors, or sweeteners.
Jul. 19th, 2009 04:49 am (UTC)
One of my friends does a modified Feingold diet for her kiddos. They tend to have sensitivities to preservatives like MSG, and very much to red food dye.

If you take an allergy approach, and cut away nearly everything, and add on bit by bit, you can find trigger foods, but that is an extreme thing to do with toddlers, who can skew it by melting down at the limited diet controls.

From a diabetic person's viewpoint, I have noted that Sparkle gets really snarky when she has a high carb diet without protein balance. More veggies and protein help with her mood swings. Maybe a similar thing is happening with Katie. I also have read in _Parents_ magazine in the past to reduce the amount of juice one gives to young kids, because it can lead to mood swings and meltdown behaviors due to blood sugar ups and crashes.
Jul. 19th, 2009 05:06 am (UTC)
I agree with the comments about tracking and observing carefully, including the idea that the triggers may not be dietary. (Anecdotal evidence: my brother had severe food allergies when he was young. If he was exposed to a small amount of a food he was allergic to, his behavior would deteriorate. However, these were allergist-evaluated, skin-test-diagnosed allergies, not a vague "Oh noes! Teh artificial substances r rottin teh brainz ov teh kiddiez!" laundry list.)
Jul. 19th, 2009 07:07 am (UTC)
One of my friends has a daughter who has a reaction to dairy products (even in very small quantities) that make her wild, crazed, and dazed. It started when she was very little, maybe 2 years old but I can't remember for sure. She's around 5 now. Funny thing is she used to go by Katie too LOL.
Jul. 19th, 2009 11:23 am (UTC)
I know almost nothing about this, so take this with a grain of salt, so to speak :-)

But when I was a kid, the local store would have eight-for-a-dollar sales and my brother and I would take a dollar each and walk down to the store, eat most of them on the way back, and be hanging off each other, staggering with laughter, by the time we got home.

Looking back on it, while it was fun, I don't think it was a normal mood for us, and I wonder if there is something to the belief that a lot of sugar affects mood.

Certainly there are a lot of health arguments for a diet high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains and low in sugar and grease (which tend to be featured in foods with artificial colors and flavors.)

Though I have to admit that I myself go through phases of eating healthy (healthily?) and phases of potato chips and cookies; really changing one's diet long-term is kind of difficult.
Jul. 19th, 2009 11:25 am (UTC)
(whups--I forgot to mention that I was talking about eight candy bars for a dollar. (forehead smack))
Jul. 19th, 2009 12:00 pm (UTC)
Is that the one where you aren't allowed to mention the names of the foods you eat?

Oh, sorry, that's the McCain-Feingold diet. :)
Jul. 19th, 2009 07:51 pm (UTC)
Jul. 20th, 2009 05:36 am (UTC)
If it just the terrible twos and sibling rivalry, I can last it out

Yes, it's hard for parents to know if their child has a problem or merely suffers from being two years old. See The Etiology and Treatment of Childhood.
Jul. 20th, 2009 03:02 pm (UTC)
Thanks, I needed that.

Jul. 20th, 2009 07:45 pm (UTC)
For obvious reasons I haven't researched Feingold specifically, but I've run across lots of references in my ongoing research on the carb wars, and the key issue in Feingold may well be sugar. Try to get her off sugar and see what she does. Sugar metabolism is a nasty business (see Taubes) and we've personally observed the children of friends go a little nuts after drinking sugar sodas. It's an easy test to make (much easier than isolating the effects of specific food additives) and she may benefit on the dental side if nothing else.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )