According to a study conducted by Lidy Pelsser, MD and colleagues from the ADHD Research Center in Eindhoven, Netherlands, a limited diet program helps provide relief from the symptoms of ADHD. The study, published at The Lancet showed that 64% of the children who were part of the study experienced a significant reduction of symptoms when they underwent a selective diet while no improvement were noted for children who did not modify their diets.
The researchers recommended that dietary intervention be considered for children with ADHD, preceded by a process of elimination to find out which foods children are reacting to.
However, the study's systematic diet elimination gained mixed reactions from other practitioners in the field. Some believe that the study's results are not unexpected, and that dietary and other environmental factors are important when helping children with ADHD.
Some are a bit more skeptical about the study. Harvey Leo, an immunologist and allergist at the University of Michigan said in an interview, "There are severe limitations to this study, and after reviewing the current paper, I do not think any of the data presented [have] any true validity." He also criticized the lack of data about the exact makeup of the diet in the study as well as no strict monitoring of the subjects' compliance to the diet recommendation.
He theorizes that the children with ADHD responded more to the structure of being part of the test subjects rather than the benefit of the controlled diet itself.
Some see the study as "interesting but flawed", especially since the test subjects knew that they were being monitored for the study. Others maintained that studies conducted over several decades failed to produce consistent data, and so one study does not really make much difference when seen in a bigger context.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 9.5% of school-aged children in the US have ADHD.