Nonie De Long, a licensed nutritionist, shares her experiences of how diet helped her son who displayed ‘problematic’ behaviour, including struggling to emotionally regulate himself (anger, sadness, frustration etc.). She argues that nutrition changed her son’s behaviour 'overnight'.

De Long proposes the connection between nutrition and children with ‘behavioural problems’; “the foodstuff we give our children today is largely so toxic that their bodies are in a perpetual state of inflammation”, causing asthma, eczema, hives or ADD/ADHD.

De Long suggests an alternative to a medicated approach: “a safer, more natural first line treatment option". She says that added sugars, especially processed sugars, are harmful to children’s health, noting that over the past century, sugar consumption per person has continually risen and children's food, which is mostly processed, contains a great deal of sugar, i.e. list of cereals with most sugar.

De Long provides an overview of study conclusions about sugar:

  • children who drink more than 4 servings of sugary beverages per day are much more likely to exhibit mental distress and depression (AJPH)
  • young children had more difficulty concentrating and exhibited more conduct problems after taking as little as 6 ounces of juice sweetened by sucrose (Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology)
  • excessively high amounts of sugary beverages can alter the brain the same way prolonged stress and emotional trauma do (Endocine)
  • fast food, sugar and soft drinks was associated with a higher prevalence of diagnosed attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (Psychiatry Research)
  • sensitivities to foods were commonly found in a study of ADD/ADHD, at a rate (90.3%) which greatly exceeds that found by most medically-oriented researchers (American Naturopathic Medical Association Monitor


Not only have studies shown that diet and vitamins affect mental health, but serious food intolerances impact children’s behaviour and are often not caught by standard allergy tests. In a food intolerance study, all (100%) of the participants, children with behavioural issues, reported a positive change in behaviour once their diet was changed. But parents should note, food intolerances against diary, food colours/preservatives, sugar, wheat and caffeine vary, and must be determined accurately by a professional rather than elimination diets.



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