Healthy Living

Foods and Drinks that Can Negatively Impact ADHD

Keeping track of the connections between food, behavior, and symptoms can help patients find an effective treatment plan. A professional doctor or dietitian can assist ADHD patients with this. ADHD can have negative effects on quality of life, but proper management of behavior and diet may be helpful in alleviating the symptoms. Therefore, it's important for ADHD patients to take care of themselves by avoiding certain foods that may worsen their condition.

Foods and Drinks that Can Negatively Impact ADHD

What is ADHD?

Current medical research indicates that more than 7% of young children and 5% of adults are living with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This is a neurobehavioral disorder that has no definite cure. Millions of people that have this condition experience difficulty organizing their thoughts, concentrating, and getting tasks done on time. However, advanced medications and behavioral therapies are now available to aid patients in improving the symptoms associated with this disorder.

Helping Kids with ADHD Live Better Lives

ADHD often makes it impossible for children to thrive in school or their social life. They may have trouble focusing on lessons or completing homework and other tasks. Obviously, this can cause severe problems with learning and grades in the classroom. They may also have trouble listening or remembering things, and may experience severe emotional outbursts.

Children that have ADHD may often interfere with other people’s conversations and be unable to stop talking, even in situations like school that require them to. For someone to be diagnosed with ADHD, symptoms such as these typically last more than twelve years. Effective management of the condition can play a significant role in children's development of life skills.

Add Vigor to Your ADHD Treatment Plan

While it is important to work closely with your doctor to come up with proper treatment for ADHD, it is also important to take control of the aspects of your life that you are able to, including diet. Experts might not have a definitive cure for ADHD yet, but they have discovered considerable relationships between certain foods and ADHD behaviors. Eating a diet full of nutritious foods is very important to your body, and avoiding some food triggers can be greatly beneficial in improving ADHD symptoms.

Chemical Culprits

Scientific research has confirmed the connection between certain food dyes and hyperactivity. Patients should avoid consumption artificial food coloring to improve their ADHD symptoms. These artificial ingredients include:

• Orange B
• FD & C Blue numbers 1 and 2
• Citrus Red number 2
• FD & C Yellow
• FD &C Green number 3

Though these are proven to worsen ADHD symptoms, it is important to remember that all artificial dyes can harmful to your health. Other foods that should be avoided are:

  •  Canned fruits
  •  Certain toothpastes
  •  Vitamins
  •  Hard candy
  •  Barbecue sauce
  •  Fruit-flavored cereals
  •  Fruit juices and sport drinks
  •  Cake mixes
  •  Gelatin powders
  • Artificial Sweeteners

Excessive sugar intake can also accelerate the development of hyperactivity amongst ADHD patients. Therefore, reducing dietary sugar levels can often be helpful. Checking the different kinds and amounts of sugar on food labels can help patients to reduce sugar intake.


Salicylates are natural substances that are found in red apples and many other typically healthy foods like grapes, tomatoes, almonds, and cranberries. Salicylates are also present in aspirin and other pain medications. Though they do have a number of positive effects on the human body when consumed in nutritious foods, salicylates may not be suitable for ADHD patients. This is because they tend to facilitate the occurrence of hyperactivity. Therefore, it is best for ADHD patients to avoid foods and medicines that contain salicylates whenever possible.


Just like salicylates, some allergens are often present in healthy foods. Nevertheless, they can severely affect brain functions, causing lack of attention and hyperactivity, especially when a patient's body is highly sensitive to them. It may be helpful avoiding the following food allergens:

  •  Tree nuts
  •  Wheat
  •  Milk
  •  Shellfish
  •  Soy
  •  Fish
  •  Eggs
  •  Peanuts

Keeping track of connections between certain foods and ADHD symptoms can help to ensure effective treatment of the condition. If eliminating possible triggers is difficult for you, a professional doctor or dietitian can assist you in making the right choices.
ADHD can be a challenging condition to live with. However, proper management of diet and lifestyle factors can be truly helpful in alleviating its symptoms.