[Favourable effect of a standard elimination diet on the behavior of young children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): a pilot study]

Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2002 Dec 28;146(52):2543-7.
[Article in Dutch]


Objective: To determine whether a standard elimination diet can decrease the ADHD-symptoms in a heterogeneous group of young children with ADHD.

Design: Open, descriptive.

Method: 40 children, 36 boys and 4 girls, aged 3-7 (average 4.8 years), who met the DSM-IV-criteria for ADHD, followed their usual diet for two weeks and thereafter for two weeks an elimination diet, based on the few foods diet (rice, turkey, pear and lettuce). The behaviour of the child was evaluated at study entry, after the baseline period and at the end of the diet. Parents completed the 10-item Conners list, the ADHD Rating Scale and a physical complaints list. The teachers completed the 10-item Conners list and the ADHD Rating Scale twice, at the beginning and at the end of the diet.

Results: According to the parent-ratings, 25 children (62%) showed an improvement in behaviour of at least 50% on both the Conners list and the ADHD Rating Scale at the end of the elimination diet. Nine children (23%) withdrew from the study because the parents were unable to stick to the diet or because the child fell ill. Among the 15 children with both parent and teacher ratings, 10 responded both at home and in school.

Conclusion: In young children with ADHD an elimination diet can lead to a statistically significant decrease in symptoms.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / diet therapy*
  • Behavior / physiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Food Hypersensitivity / diet therapy
  • Food Hypersensitivity / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Psychometrics