The Mediterranean Diet and ADHD in Children and Adolescents

February 20, 2017

The Mediterranean Diet and ADHD in Children and Adolescents

An interesting study conducted by the University of Barcelona and published in Pediatrics. January 2017 showed a higher risk for the disorder attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) among children and adolescents who are less adherent to the Mediterranean diet than most members.
They are always carried out studies on the relationship between low quality of food and the higher risk of ADHD, but had never been performed studies regarding the Mediterranean diet and ADHD.
The association between a low adherence to the Mediterranean diet and the likelihood of a diagnosis of ADHD remained significant even after adjustment for confounding variables such as body mass index, physical activity level, maternal smoking during pregnancy, and social conditions.
The study included 60 children and adolescents who had recently been diagnosed with ADHD and 60 participants by sex and the same control (age for all participants, from 6 to 16 years). The two groups were compared with respect to dietary intake and adherence to a Mediterranean diet.
In all children control tests and adolescents with ADHD they have shown statistically significant data to lower scores of adherence to a Mediterranean diet compared to controls. For example, compared to the control group, those who had been recently diagnosed with ADHD had significantly lower probability of consumption for a second portion of fruit every day. They also consumed less fresh vegetables or cooked one or more times every day or pasta or rice almost every day. In addition, the percentage of subjects with ADHD eat more often in a fast-food. In addition, a significantly greater percentage of patients with ADHD jumped the breakfast compared with control participants.
Both groups consumed fish, dairy products, baked goods or with relatively equal frequency.
Similarly, patients with ADHD have consumed about twice the sugar and candy, in 4.7 g / day, compared to non-ADHD participants, at 2.4 g / day. Patients with ADHD also consumed more soft drinks (41.1 vs 22 g / day) and cola-based drinks (17.2 g / day vs 9.2 g / day).
We must also consider the inverse relationship of the study, ie the possibility that individuals with ADHD can make food choices (foods high in fat or sugar) to balance their traits of impulsivity or emotional stress.
This observation seems to be confirmed, as the participants with ADHD who consumed sugary foods and drinks significantly more than the control persons.
This involves a diet with poor quality that may lead to deficiencies of essential nutrients, such as iron, zinc, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids, which contribute to the cognitive growth and healthy physical.
These nutrients appear to play an essential role in the etiology of ADHD and it is believed that this could unleash a vicious circle: the impulsiveness of individuals with ADHD may lead to worse choices of food, a low-quality diet, and a low intake of certain nutrients , and eventually lead to some subclinical deficiencies and, consequently, worsen the symptoms of ADHD.