A report published in the journal Pediatrics says healthier eating could help ease a spiralling problem in the US, where nearly five million American schoolchildren are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder every year.
Researchers at Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago reviewed studies into various proposed treatments for the condition, and have found conflicting evidence, and in some cases that the treatments were no more beneficial than a placebo.
In fact nothing may be as beneficial as parents feeding their children a healthy diet high in fruit, vegetables, legumes and whole grains.
“Controlled studies failed to confirm the effectiveness” of iron supplements and cutting out additives and food dyes, they said, and even the links with sugar and sweeteners – commonly held to be the trigger for ADHD – could not be proved.
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid supplements were found to be helpful in some controlled studies, the researchers said.
They concluded that the most promising and practical complementary or alternative treatment for ADHD is “a greater education attention to the education of parents and children in a healthy dietary pattern, omitting items shown to predispose to ADHD”.