Causes for Symptoms of ADHD in Children

Symptoms of ADHD in children can be caused by many factors. There are many foods that can bring about behaviors that are commonly seen in ADHD. If your child has symptoms, there are natural ways to control or even eliminate them simply by changing the child’s diet.


Some children are more sensitive to certain foods than others. When a child is sensitive to a certain food, many different types of reactions can take place. The most obvious is an allergic reaction. For example, a child’s tongue may start to swell or his face may get splotchy when he eats strawberries. These types of reactions usually happen very quickly, so it’s easy to pinpoint the problem. Other reactions can be caused by food sensitivities and can cause physical symptoms such as stomachaches or migraines. Another not so obvious reaction to certain foods is a behavior change. This one is harder to pinpoint because we do not typically relate unwanted behaviors with the food a child has eaten. When the child continues to get the offending food or foods, behaviors begin to escalate, and the cycle continues.


Symptoms from food sensitivities often mimic ADHD symptoms in children. For example, a child with an intolerance to gluten may be hyperactive, impulsive, and have difficulty concentrating, sleeping or sitting still. A child with sensitivity to high fructose corn syrup may have inappropriate outbursts or temper tantrums. There are thousands of chemicals in our foods that, for many children, can create behavior problems. Unfortunately, what usually happens is that the connection between behavior and food is not made and the behavior problem is eventually addressed with medications.


Sensitivity to food additives and gluten intolerance are the two main culprits that can create symptoms of ADHD in children. To find out which foods are causing your child’s symptoms is a process of elimination that is difficult and time consuming, but well worth the effort. An elimination diet, eliminating one food at a time and watching the results, is really the best way to find the culprit. Keep in mind, though, a child that is sensitive to one food is often sensitive to others as well. If your child has other gluten intolerance symptoms, start by removing gluten first. A list of common symptoms can be found here. There is also a simple antibody test that can pinpoint a gluten intolerance. Eliminating gluten from the diet is difficult, but can produce dramatic results. The good news is that it is easier than ever before to find gluten free options at restaurants and grocery stores. Next, try removing high fructose corn syrup. It is a common cause of behavior issues in children. It is in practically everything so you’ll have to become an avid ingredient reader. The good news here is that anything your child may want can be made without it; you just may have to make it yourself. Eliminate food dyes next. These are also a common cause of ADHD- like symptoms. There are too many chemicals in our foods to mention them all, but these are the most likely candidates. Although a painstaking process, if more parents knew that diet can be the cause of symptoms, ADHD in children might not be the widespread problem it is today.


If your child is exhibiting symptoms of ADHD, try changing his or her diet before resorting to medication. ADHD medications in children can cause serious side effects, and while they may put a band aid on the problem, they are far from a permanent solution. Eliminating behaviors through the diet is a much safer approach for your child. Click here to learn ways you can control symptoms of ADHD in children naturally.


To find out more about what’s in your food and how it may be affecting your child, click to buy the book, Processed Kids: The Real Mom’s Guide to Raising Natural Kids in a Processed World, by Lisa Greene.

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About the Author

About Lisa Green

Author and Mom

My name is Lisa Greene and I have struggled for years with my child's food sensitivities that have manifested in behavior issues, hyperactivity, impulsivity, cavities, facial tics, and much more. Years of research has taught me what works, what children need in their diet, and what to avoid.

Follow my blog and read my book and I will show how you can treat your child's symptoms naturally.

Have a question about your child's symptoms or behaviors? Contact me at and I can help.