Early on in my quest for information on how to help my son with autism, I came across The Feingold Program. The list of behaviors associated with consuming artificial colors, flavors and preservatives mirrored what was going on in my household. Some behaviors were hyperactivity, impulsiveness, perseverance/repetitive behaviors, low frustration tolerance, emotional dis-regulation, short attention span, just to name a few. I soon realized that both my sons would benefit from following this program. The Feingold Program eliminates five food additives/ingredients:
Synthetic (Artificial) Coloring (FD&C colors)
Synthetic (Artificial) Flavorings and Sweetners
The artificial preservatives BHA, BHT, TBHQ
The Feingold Program is based upon an elimination diet composed of two stages. Stage one lasts 4 weeks, and eliminates the above-listed ingredients, plus natural salicylates (foods that contain salicylates such as apples, grapes, oranges, aspirin products, etc.). After a person has been successfully on this stage one diet for four to six weeks, the food containing natural salicylates are added back in carefully to watch for reaction. If there is no reaction, then the person is considered Stage Two, which only eliminates the above additives.
Although Stage One is more restrictive than Stage Two, this is not a calorie-restricted diet, and following this diet is simply a matter of substituting foods with natural ingredients for the foods with artificial ones. This is a natural, risk-free alternative to Ritalin and other narcotics to control hyperactivity and ADD, and other reactive behaviors to these additives.
You will also notice this dietary program is often referred to as a program because fragrances and non-food items which contain the chemicals listed above are also eliminated. They also sell a book written by Feingold Association Director, Jane Hershey, titled “Why Can’t My Child Behave?”. The first section of the book can be read on their website. I found the book very informative and it really hit home with me on the importance of keeping my kids’ diet clean. It is the reason I also eliminated MSG, sodium benzoate, nitrates/nitrites, and sulfites in our diet. The Feingold website has more detailed information on their program. Click on the following link to go to their website: http://www.feingold.org/