Wrong Ideas


Because ADD can never be cured, only controlled, and any treatment protocol is only going to be partly effective, ADD children and their families represent a “ripe market” for a variety of quacks and wrong ideas. I would just like to quickly mention several of the more common ones here.

  • Sugar – all children, ADD or not, can experience a “sugar high” if allowed to eat too much. Because ADD children may be more “hyper” at baseline than other children, their “sugar high” may be worse than a normal child’s. However, sugar intake does not cause ADD. Avoiding excessive sugar intake is good advice for any child, but it does not constitute a treatment for ADD.
  • Aspartame – (Nutrasweet, Equal and other sugar substitutes). There is not a shred of scientific evidence to support the oft-stated suggestion that these somehow contribute to or exacerbate ADD. Indeed, several studies have been done to look at this question and have found no association.
  • Food allergies – this is another thing that many people believe may contribute to ADD. Once again, there is no scientific evidence to support this. Food allergies cause diarrhea, gassiness, vomiting, and rashes. They may exacerbate asthma. Any child (ADD or not) who is not feeling well for any reason, may attend less well than they usually do. This does not mean that food allergies cause ADD, however. On the other hand, it is true that certain medications commonly used to treat allergies in general (antihistamines) and also some medicines used to treat asthma, (Albuterol, Metaproteranol, Theophylline) can have as side-effects adverse affects on attentional behaviors.