The Feingold diet works by eliminating certain kinds of chemicals in a manner that allows the dieter to pinpoint food intolerances. Many types of additives have been linked to hyperactivity in children. Research has also shown that benzoate preservatives and artificial food coloring promotes hyperactivity in children, especially those who have hyperactive syndrome. Studies have also shown that some children tend to respond to a diet that eliminates additives, but there is no current information that examines the effectiveness of this diet. Before you decide to make any major changes to your diet, consult your physician.
The Elimination Diet
When the body has troubling digesting certain substances you consume, this is referred to as food intolerance. Natural substances found in such foods as veggies and fruits can trigger symptoms, but so can additives. Symptoms of food intolerance include abdominal discomfort, bloating and gas. Symptoms that are unrelated to diet can also occur. As an example, food intolerance can cause you to become restless and irritable and can increase behavior problems in children, especially if they have hyperactivity disorder or ADHD.
This diet is designed to help you to determine whether you or a loved one has a food sensitivity. You can begin by eliminating preservatives, artificial sweeteners and foods that contain artificial colors and salicylates. Then you must closely observe your response or the response of your children to these changes. Many natural foods such as veggies and fruits contain salicylates, so you don’t want to get rid of these foods unless you have an intolerance.
If you’ve experienced intestinal issues, then the odds are you’ll want to research this diet and read the testimonials and success stories that are found all over the internet. Once you’ve learned about the benefits of making these dietary changes, you’ll just have to give it a shot.
Like anything new, this diet can be scary, hard and overwhelming for the first couple of weeks. You’ll not only be changing your diet, but the way you think about food in general. Even if you’re a seasoned pro at eliminating processed foods you will still struggle on this diet because it’s so much more than that.
You’ll need to get rid of all preservatives and additives, all food dyes and even naturally occurring things in foods that are known to cause a reaction, and also, all types of artificial sweeteners.
Food Restrictions for the Elimination Diet
For many people struggling with eliminating these types of foods from their diet, the list of things they can’t eat seems to be much longer than the foods that are allowed. We recommend creating a food guide that details the different foods you can have so you’ll be prepared when grocery shopping.
Following this way of eating isn’t as simple as just reading a food label because there are tons of things you must eliminate that aren’t required to be listed on labels and packaging. Things such as BHA, BHT and TBHQ.
Going out for a meal will also be a lot trickier. Feingold provides users with a list of approved fast food items to make life a little easier on fast food lovers. Some people have even stated that they eat out now much more so than before they were on this diet because they know for a fact that these noted fast food items are safe. And who wouldn’t choose a fast easy meal that definitely won’t cause a food reaction?
If you want to eat out in a sit down restaurant, you’ll need to choose carefully. Choose something very simple such as steamed veggies and grilled chicken.
Food Intolerance Reactions
In children a food reaction caused by food intolerance can be a nightmare. If you accidentally serve your child food they shouldn’t have, you can expect erratic behavior, hyperactivity and meltdowns. But when you do make these mistakes and most parents do at some point, the best part is recognizing that this elimination diet is actually working.
Can this diet really help with behavioral issues? Definitely. If your child has suffered from food intolerance for years, you won’t be able to even imagine how much easier it will be to parent them once they have made the switch to this diet. At the end of the day you’ll no longer feel emotionally or physically exhausted.
For most people, especially children, following this diet in the beginning will be very rough.
The approved foods list includes sprouts, broccoli, potatoes, corn, zucchini, kiwi, peas, beets, lemons, dairy products, bananas, bread without additives, cabbage, pears, eggs, fish and cereal that’s additive-free.
Foods to avoid include most types of cereals, soft drinks, processed foods and multivitamins
What the Critics have to Say About the Elimination Diet
Surprisingly, there are many people in the medical community who do not support this type of diet program. Several nutritionists believe that it’s very unrealistic and drastic for most families. Eliminating certain foods such as natural or whole foods has caused many questions as to the validity of this dieting approach. Some experts in this field even dispute the basic premise of this diet, which is that hyperactivity and other behavioral conditions are solely connected to nutrition issues. Others feel that ridding your child’s diet of so many foods can have a negative impact on their health later down the road.
Research regarding this diet is ongoing. Some independent studies have found evidence that conflicts with the founder’s claim regarding effectiveness. But the fact still remains that many families across the country swear by this way of eating, due to the surprising results.
Before you give Feingold diet a shot for your child, it’s best to speak with their doctor or ask for a referral for a GI specialist. A GI doctor can order a number of tests that can determine whether or not your child has food intolerance or food sensitivity issues. Consulting a professional can be very important if your child has other health issues that require medication because drastic dietary changes can have an impact on how medication is absorbed and metabolized.