Fed Up with ADHD

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Fed Up with ADHD - how food affects children and what you can do about it

Sue Dengate's bestselling books have helped thousands of families. Now in Fed Up with ADHD, Sue documents the personal story behind the books and her 20-year quest for recognition of the harmful effects of food chemicals, which can cause severe problems in children. And it's not just junk food. Natural food chemicals in some fruit and ...

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Fed Up with ADHD - how food affects children and what you can do about it

Sue Dengate's bestselling books have helped thousands of families. Now in Fed Up with ADHD, Sue documents the personal story behind the books and her 20-year quest for recognition of the harmful effects of food chemicals, which can cause severe problems in children. And it's not just junk food. Natural food chemicals in some fruit and vegetables can also affect children. By following the step-by-step guide to the elimination diet included in this book, parents can help their children to be free of a wide range of health and behavioural problems.

Fed Up with ADHD - how food affects children and what you can do about it. This revolutionary and proven dietary approach to managing ADHD without drugs is an essential tool for any parents seeking an alternative.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781740512305
  • Publisher: Random House Australia
  • Publication date: 2/2/2004
  • Pages: 260
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 1.00 (d)


Over the last forty years, an increasing number of mothers have discovered that their children who don't bring them the joy they expect. Instead, their children are demanding or defiant, forgetful or anxious, irritable or restlessness. Maybe they don't do well at school, or perhaps they are difficult to live with. They're all different, but they share one characteristic - they make life hard for their parents and teachers.

At first, experts told us it was our fault. If we couldn't control our children, it was because we weren't firm enough. We just needed to learn better behaviour management. Then they told us that our children had been born with a chemical imbalance in their brain which must be treated with medication. They were encouraged by drug companies which spend millions of dollars a day promoting their products to doctors.

'What about food?' some parents said. There are hundreds of additives in our food and thousands of chemicals in our air, soil and water which weren't there forty years ago. Funded by the giant food industry, a few experts in the 1970s carried out some studies and concluded that children's behaviour wasn't affected by foods. Those who disagreed were ignored.

The US Food and Drug Administration is the world's most powerful food authority. In a booklet co-sponsored by the food industry, the FDA says that food colours don't affect children's behaviour. Independent scientists disagree. There is overwhelming evidence of the effects of foods on children's behaviour and anyone who says otherwise is out of date.

In 2002, research with Isle of Wight preschoolers found that children could be affected ny colours and preservatives whether they had ADHD or not, that avoiding additives could be as effective as some forms of medication and it was estimated that the prevalence of ADHD might be reduced from 15 to 6 per cent by removing certain additives from the diet. In the following year, when additive-free food was provided for an entire primary school class for two weeks, nearly 60 per cent of the children improved.

Most people talk about diet versus medication for behaviour problems, but the question should be: which diet? There are as many diets as there are allergy clinics. Some are much better than others. This book is about my search. It took me eleven years to find the most effective - and best researched - diet in the world from an allergy clinic in Sydney. I call it the Failsafe diet because that's what the diet is: Free of Additives and Low in Salicylates, Amines and Flavour Enhancers.

I had never heard of salicylates but for most children with behaviour problems, salicylates are at least as important as food additives. Salicylates are natural pesticides produced by plants to protect themselves against insects and diseases. We all know that artificial pesticides can affect people, but it is harder to understand that natural pesticides can affect some people too.

Salicylates are in most plant foods such as fruits and vegetables. A group of food chemicals called amines also occur in some fruit and vegetables as well as protein foods such as cheese. Amines may be associated with impulsive and aggressive behaviours in some children. Foods we consider healthy are not necessarily the best for our children.

Then there are the additives which have crept in to our foods - preservatives, colours or flavour enhancers in foods as basic as our bread and butter. Whether you feed your family junk food or healthy food, you might unknowingly be fuelling your child's behaviour and learning problems. People think they will know if their children are affected by food chemicals because they will see reactions, but that's not what happens. Parents rarely see the connection.

In the US, nearly one child is five is estimated to have developmental, behavioural or learning disabilities such ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), developmental coordination disorder (CD), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), conduct disorder (CD), Asperger's disorder, Tourette's disorder, autism, PDD (pervasive developmental disorder), anxiety, depression or bipolar disorder. Some children don't have any diagnosed disorders, but they can be moody or defiant.

Many of the symptoms of food intolerance overlap with the symptoms of the disorders above. It is possible to have food intolerance by itself or in association with other conditions. If your child's behaviour is related to food intolerance, then the failsafe diet will take care of the food-related symptoms but you may need other inventions such as behaviour management, special education, and motor sensory programs. Parents report that other interventions are much more effective once the diet has kicked in.


The quiet ones

o inattention, forgetfulness, unexplained tiredness, difficulty concentrating

o anxiety, depression, panic attacks.

May be diagnosed with inattentive ADHD

The restless ones

o irritability

o restlessness

o inattention

o difficulty settling to sleep, restless legs, night waking, night terrors.

May be diagnosed with hyperactive ADHD

The defiant ones

o losing temper

o arguing with adults

o refusing requests and defying rules

o deliberately annoying others

o blaming others

o touchy and easily annoyed

o angry and resentful

o spiteful and vindictive.

May be diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)

Other symptoms of food intolerance include low muscle tone in muscles associated with coordination, handwriting, reading, speech, bladder and bowel control and ailments such as headaches, rashes and asthma.

It makes sense to get rid of the problems caused by foods before deciding which management strategies or medication to use for the symptoms that are left - if any.

Part of this story appeared in my first book, Different Kids, which was about my search for the magic answer to my daughter's problems. Thousands of families have found it was their magic answer too, and you can read some of their stories on my website www.fedupwithfoodadditives.info, like this report from a teacher about her Asperger's son:

'He is thinking more clearly, acting more rationally, is more cooperative, is confident socially, and generally just a nicer kid to be around. I wish the parents of the students at my work were fully informed of the benefits that the failsafe diet can have both for the child and on family life.'

Many readers wrote to ask me 'how is your daughter now?' This book tells the story of how our children and others with behaviour and learning problems have been helped to become motivated and happy young adults, despite authorities who continue to deny and ignore the harmful effects of food chemicals.

Australia has the third highest use of food additives - and ADHD medication - in the world, after the USA and Canada., and the use of additives continues to increase. During my quest, two more additives have quietly become widespread throughout our food supply with devastating results for some consumers. Parents who want to protect their children from the harmful effects of food chemicals must do it for themselves. To find out how, please read on

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2005

    Try diet first

    According to a report from Science in the publice interest some children are affected by diet... Mine is one of them. This diet has made a huge difference for my adhd odd son. Pre diet his teacher rated him from 1-5 for behavior....Good days were 3. Now he gets 4s and 5s. 3s are 'bad' days. When we go off the diet his behavior deteriorates significantly. Its hard but so worth it

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