In the 1970s, pediatrician and allergist Ben F. Feingold, M.D., discovered a link between children’s behavior and learning problems and the ingestion of natural or synthetic chemicals. Today, the Feingold Association, a national clearinghouse accessible via the Internet (www.feingold.org), helps parents who suspect diet may play a role in their child’s behavioral problems. The Feingold program eliminates foods with synthetic colors and flavors, the antioxidant preservatives BHA, BHT and TBHQ, and — at least initially — foods containing natural salicylates, such as apples, oranges and tomatoes, as well as aspirin and medication containing aspirin.
One double-blind, placebo-controlled study of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) who also had signs of allergy showed that 73 percent responded favorably to treatment with a multiple-item elimination diet (Annals of Allergy, 1994, vol. 72).