How Food Allergies Effect Behavior

Food has a profound affect on our bodies. These affects can be good or bad depending on the food and on a particular person’s body’s reaction to whatever they’ve eaten. Most people are aware of the reactions caused by food allergies, hives, swelling, trouble breathing, abdominal pain and things of that nature. However the knowledge that foods can affect behaviors, moods, focus and attention.

Just as there are foods that are more likely to cause allergic reactions, there are certain foods that are more likely to cause a negative affect on behavior and moods. Not surprisingly the foods that are most likely to cause allergic reactions are also the most likely to cause behavior and mood problems.

Dairy, corn and gluten are on the top of the list along with artificial dyes. Numerous studies have linked artificial dyes to behavior problems and difficulties for many years. There has also been a lot of research and documentation on the effects of dairy, corn, yeast, gluten, soy, dyes and preservatives.

All of the cases that were documented showed a clear and obvious link between foods and behavior and mood changes. Some of the behaviors caused by food sensativities, as it is usually refered to, are being overly emotion or sensitive, anger or aggression, sloppy or illegible handwriting, inability or reduce abilty to draw simple pictures, bouncy or hyperness, and lack of attention and ability to focus. These reactions are usually seen in children, but can appear in adults and are usually very noticeable in any age group.

Since many of these symptoms can easily be confused with ADD/ADHD symptoms or simply a child being angry or stubborn it is important to rule out the possibility of a food sensitivity before treating them with medication that could easily harm them. One of the most efficient ways to discover an unknown food sensitivity is by doing a multiple food elimination diet.

Essentially a person eliminates all possible allergens from their diet and eats only honey,fresh chicken, turkey, fruits and vegetables with the exception of citrus, strawberries, nightshade family membersand soy. After being on this limited diet for 3 or 4 days the person dieting may begin to see improvement in the areas of mood and behavior that they thought might be from a food sensitivity, provided they do in fact have a food sensitivity.

After 7 days of being on the limited food diet there should be significant improvements that are clearly noticeable by the person dieting and those around them daily. If after 7 days there has been no improvement and no cheating on the diet has occurred, it is almost certain there are no food sensativities.

If there were great improvements in mood, behavior, focus and/or attention areas the next step is to reintroduce eliminated foods one by one into the diet. They recommended method is to give a large amount of the new food at breakfast , lunch, dinner and before bed and carefully watch for changes in behavior.

Many food sensativies cause a change within 1 hour of consumption but some can take around 24 -48 hours. It is important to only reintroduce one food at a time and to wait 3 days before trying the next new food. If the new food doesn’t cause any reaction the dieter may continue eating that food as part of their daily limited diet.

The best order in which to reintroduce the foods is to start with dairy followed by ( in order):

gluten,
corn,
eggs,
and yeast.

After those the dieter can pretty much decided their own order until they’ve reintroduced all of the eliminated foods or have a specific food for each of the symptoms that improved during the first 7 days of the diet.

It is important to note that the multiple food elimination diet can be rather difficult to stick to at first and if being done on a child, it is highly recommend that the child’s entire household participate in the diet as well to encourage the child to stick with it.

The other benefit of the whole household being on the diet is that many parents find they themselves have a food sensitivity that they didn’t know about. Often their food sensitivities are linked to an ailment or pain that they have had for years with little or no explanation of why they’ve had it.