The Feingold diet is part of the Feingold Program to reduce or eliminate symptoms from disorders like ADD, ADHD, learning and behavior problems, asthma, and related symptoms. The founder of the program, Dr. Benjamin Feingold, believed that these problems are a result of ingesting too high amounts of artificial chemicals. This elimination diet encourages eating like people used to eat before foods with these specific chemicals were widely used in the food supply.
- Stage one—Eliminate aspirin and foods containing salicylates (found naturally in many fruits and some other foods), all artificial coloring, artificial flavoring, aspartame (Nutrasweet, an artificial sweetener), and the artificial preservatives BHA, BHT, TBHQ.
- Stage two—After symptoms are reduced or eliminated, you may be able to reintroduce foods containing salicylates; however, the other chemicals should be avoided for life.
Best bets: Enlist the help of the Feingold Association or a health professional knowledgeable in the program, as the diet can be complex to learn. Fruits that don’t contain salicylates include pears, pineapple, grapefruit, and bananas, among others, and may be eaten at any time during the program.
More about this diet
The Feingold diet was established in the late 1960s and early 1970s by Benjamin Feingold, MD, a pediatrician and allergist. According to the Feingold Association, in stage one of the program, a group of naturally occurring salicylates are removed from a person's diet and, after a favorable response is seen, reintroduced in stage two as long as the person tolerates them (salicylates are aspirin-like compounds that occur in many fruits, a few vegetables, and certain other foods); other substances, such as synthetic dyes, artificial flavors, and the specific preservatives BHA, BHT, and TBHQ are eliminated entirely. These substances are believed to be linked to behavior disorders, such as hyperactivity, learning problems, and attention deficit disorder in sensitive children and some adults.