The Feingold diet is an elimination diet initiated by Dr. Benjamin Feingold following research in the 1970s which appeared to link food additives with hyperactivity; by eliminating these additives and various foods the diet was supposed to alleviate the condition. Popular in its day, the diet has been referred to as “outmoded treatment”; There is no good evidence that it is effective, and it is difficult for people to follow.
The diet was originally based on the elimination of salicylate, artificial food coloring, and artificial flavors; Later on in the 1970s, the preservatives BHA, BHT, and (somewhat later) TBHQ were eliminated. Additives-containing foods, aspirin-additive-containing drugs and toiletries were avoided. Even today, parents are advised to limit their toothpaste, toothpaste, cough drops, perfume, and other nonfood products to those published in the Feingold Association’s Annual Food and Shopping Guide. Some versions of the diet prohibit only artificial food coloring and additives. According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the diet includes salicylic acid, including apples, cucumbers and tomatoes. Feingold stressed that the diet must be followed strictly and for an entire lifetime, and that whole families & ndash; not just the subject being “treated” & ndash; must watch the diet’s rules.
Although the diet had a certain popular appeal, a meta-analysis found that it was effective in fulfilling its claims. In common with other elimination diets, the Feingold can be expensive and boring, and so difficult for people to maintain. In general, there is no evidence to support claims that food coloring causes food intolerance and ADHD-like behavior in children. It is possible that some food coloring can be used in the future, but the evidence is weak.
For decades, the Feingold Program required a significant change in family life because families were limited to a narrow selection of foods. Such foods were sometimes expensive or “prepared” from scratch, “greatly increasing the amount of time and effort required for a meal. As more and more foods are needed, they are much less problematic. Whereas some fruits and a few vegetables are eliminated in the first week of the program, they are replaced by others. Often, some of these items can be returned to the diet, once the level of tolerance is determined.
Feingold was Chief of Pediatrics at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Los Angeles, CA, until 1951, when he became Chief of Allergy at Kaiser-Permanente Medical Center in San Francisco. He has had a history of hyperactivity and allergy death in 82, in 1982. Since the 1940s, researchers have been discussing cross-reactions of aspirin (common salicylate) and tartrazine (FD & C Yellow # 5) . Dr. Stephen Lockey at the Mayo Clinic and later Feingold at Kaiser, hypothesized that eliminating both salicylates and synthetic food additives from patients not only allergic-type reactions such as asthma, eczema and hives, but also induced behavioral changes in some their patients. Feingold presented at the annual conference of the American Medical Association in June 1973. This led to a double-blind crossover study published in the August 1976 issue of Pediatrics. A two-week-long conference was arranged in January 1975, in Glen Cove, Long Island. There, the Nutrition Foundation is waiting for them, which they called the National Advisory Committee. The committee published its preliminary report concluding that “no controlled studies have been shown to be related to the ingestion of food additives.”
* Psychopharmacological and Other Treatments in Preschool Children with ADHD: Current Evidence and Practice JK Ghuman et al., J of Child & Adolescent Psychopharmacology, Vol.18, No.5, 2008