Diet causes Behavior Problems????? - Mothering Forums
 
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#1 of 17 Old 12-24-2007, 12:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Has anyone heard of this? I ask because after calling my mother in tears today about what on earth to do with this child she mentioned trying an "elimination diet" that maybe she was needing gluten free, or avoiding red dye or something. Neither of us know much about that stuff, but is there such a thing as foods causing bad behavior...like HORRID behavior?
If so can you spam me with good links about the diet or what have you?

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#2 of 17 Old 12-24-2007, 01:02 AM
 
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Yep--absolutely!

Check out threads in the allergy forum, the gentle discipline forum, and you could check out the Feingold diet online.

If my kids eat most fruits (salycilates), diary, eggs, etc, they are aggressive, angry, can't sleep, kind of spastic/unfocused, laugh when they get hurt, cry at the drop of a hat, and act like they're really on drugs. Normally, they're cooperative and kind and fairly even-keeled.

Food for us can be a total Jeckyll/Hyde thing.
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#3 of 17 Old 12-24-2007, 01:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yep--absolutely!

Check out threads in the allergy forum, the gentle discipline forum, and you could check out the Feingold diet online.

If my kids eat most fruits (salycilates), diary, eggs, etc, they are aggressive, angry, can't sleep, kind of spastic/unfocused, laugh when they get hurt, cry at the drop of a hat, and act like they're really on drugs. Normally, they're cooperative and kind and fairly even-keeled.

Food for us can be a total Jeckyll/Hyde thing.
Sounds like my kiddo. My only question...how do you get htem to follow a diet when they refuse to eat anything but peanut butter on bread? Like seriously. We ran out of peanut butter and she starved herself all day because she refused to eat anything else.............

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#4 of 17 Old 12-24-2007, 01:31 AM
 
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Well, the easiest way we've muddled through this is to offer "safe" alternatives of whatever food is in question.

But you have to know what food is the issue.

For me, it's the gut-check. What do you *think* is the problem in her diet? Gluten in the bread? Dairy? Wheat? Dye in the peanut butter?

I would start trying a process of trial and error and keep a food/behavior log. You might not see a change for a bit--it can take a while for some allergens to clear the body.

Do you have any other symptoms? Eczema? Rough skin? Cradle cap? Red anus? Loose stools? Bed wetting? Restless sleep/night waking?
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#5 of 17 Old 12-24-2007, 01:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, the easiest way we've muddled through this is to offer "safe" alternatives of whatever food is in question.

But you have to know what food is the issue.

For me, it's the gut-check. What do you *think* is the problem in her diet? Gluten in the bread? Dairy? Wheat? Dye in the peanut butter?

I would start trying a process of trial and error and keep a food/behavior log. You might not see a change for a bit--it can take a while for some allergens to clear the body.

Do you have any other symptoms? Eczema? Rough skin? Cradle cap? Red anus? Loose stools? Bed wetting? Restless sleep/night waking?
Her sleep is WAY off. She was diagnosed with a mild form of SleepApnea but they arent doing anything to treat it currently. But about 3 months ago she started falling asleep later nad later (always in bed at 8:30 but not falling asleep now until 12ish) and then getting up earlier and earlier yesterday she got up at 5. I try desperatly to get her to sleep with me for a nap (if I dont lay with her she will just play) everytime we lay for 2 hours in bed trying to get her to sleep and she wont. I know she has to be exhausted because 5 hours of sleep is not cool for anyone.
She does well with pottying and rarely has an accident though we did have 2 this week at night time...I think I may have given in to her nighttime sippy urge.
Mainly she is very impulsive, mean, grumpy back talking, out of character for her. Screaming....mainly those things you listed above. She used to be the child everyone bragged on because she was so calm and complacent, loved to hlep others, very caring and generous.

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#6 of 17 Old 12-24-2007, 02:15 AM
 
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Oh yes! I can tell when my Ds has had over his allotted daily intake of certain foods because he flips into an alternative personality. Its like the Omen. lol

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#7 of 17 Old 12-24-2007, 05:37 PM
 
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I think they do sometimes. I also think that parents set up that expectations for kids, so they do. Tell a kid enough that dairy or whatever makes them flip out, and they'll flip out when they eat it, because they're expected to. *shrug*
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I think they do sometimes. I also think that parents set up that expectations for kids, so they do. Tell a kid enough that dairy or whatever makes them flip out, and they'll flip out when they eat it, because they're expected to. *shrug*
I'm not sure I understand this.

My kids couldn't even come *close* to recreating, at will, the days-long allergic reactions they have.

Besides the fact, that they're completely miserable while they're reacting, why on earth would they WANT to?
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#9 of 17 Old 12-24-2007, 05:55 PM
 
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I don't think that EVERY child with special needs or behavioral difficulties is going to respond to a change in diet. Some individuals are sensitive to various things in their diets and/or environment, and avoiding these items can improve their behavior (and infractions can cause behavioral difficulties.)

My DD reacts negatively to synthetic colors and flavors and fragrances- it's just as bad if she gets it on her skin or eats it, but breathing it in causes shorter reactions. I'm not sure if she reacts to the "BH" preservatives- I haven't specifically tested them on her, but we avoid them because she's on the Feingold Program. I react to these things as well, plus dairy makes me short tempered. I'm not yet sure if wheat/gluten cause any behavioral reactions, though I do know it causes me GI upset and I suspect it worsens my FMS symptoms.

With the Feingold Program, you can usually find acceptable substitutes for favorite foods. For example, if your child only eats peanut butter sandwiches on white bread, you can find Feingold approved brands of bread and peanut butter (ex: buy Jif instead of Skippy). Feingold is far easier to implement than going gluten-free or dairy free- and I know this because I switched the whole family to FG 3 years ago and I recently went GF and dairy-free just for myself.

Going dairy-free and/or gluten free means finding new ways to put meals together, new types of snacks, and/or spending 3X as much to buy ready-made alternatives (which could potentially contain other foods your child reacts to.)

Ruth, single mommy to 3 quasi-adults
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#10 of 17 Old 12-24-2007, 05:59 PM
 
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I think they do sometimes. I also think that parents set up that expectations for kids, so they do. Tell a kid enough that dairy or whatever makes them flip out, and they'll flip out when they eat it, because they're expected to. *shrug*
This might happen to some kids on a very small scale, but it can't explain the kinds of reactions DD gets, that sometimes last for several DAYS!!!! Besides, she's usually not even aware of her reactions, or at least she wasn't when she was younger. She saw it as "people are nicer to me when I stick to the diet." Yeah, we're "nicer" because we're not reacting to all of your negativity!

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#11 of 17 Old 12-24-2007, 06:08 PM
 
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If your DD seems to crave bread and other baked goods, I'd suspect a gluten or wheat intolerance first. Food chemicals are also a really common cause of behavioral problems. www.fedupwithfoodadditives.info and www.plantpoisonsandrottenstuff.com are good sources of information on both naturally occurring and artificial food chemicals.
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#12 of 17 Old 12-24-2007, 06:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Authentic_Mother View Post
Her sleep is WAY off. She was diagnosed with a mild form of SleepApnea but they arent doing anything to treat it currently. But about 3 months ago she started falling asleep later nad later (always in bed at 8:30 but not falling asleep now until 12ish) and then getting up earlier and earlier yesterday she got up at 5. I try desperatly to get her to sleep with me for a nap (if I dont lay with her she will just play) everytime we lay for 2 hours in bed trying to get her to sleep and she wont. I know she has to be exhausted because 5 hours of sleep is not cool for anyone.
She does well with pottying and rarely has an accident though we did have 2 this week at night time...I think I may have given in to her nighttime sippy urge.
Mainly she is very impulsive, mean, grumpy back talking, out of character for her. Screaming....mainly those things you listed above. She used to be the child everyone bragged on because she was so calm and complacent, loved to hlep others, very caring and generous.
Just a note:
We've done nearly every diet imaginable and nothing mattered here. Long stories to that. But my allergic son reacts not behaviorally but skin to allergens--hives, eczema, and the like. But no behavior changes. But to figure out what is affecting your child I'd start first with the major allergens--gluten, dairy, soy. Nuts are pretty allergenic but given that she's eating them regularly I would be concerned that if I pulled them out she'd sensitize. But you would try one at a time I think. Then feingold or failsafe might be another to try. It's a long process. You could also consider digestive enzymes to help process foods.

Ok, that said. The sleep may be your issue. Lack of sleep (and sleep apnea means for sure this was an issue with her) can cause severe behavioral issues and changes.
If you are seeing allergy signs in skin and such try diet. But either way I'd focus on sleep. You know she's not getting enough and that throws most kids way out of sync. That may solve all your problems.

First, why aren't they addressing the sleep apnea. Did she have a full sleep study? Was it obstructive sleep apnea? If not it could be reflux related. A lot of her sleep could be. I'd think about elevating the head of the bed 6 inches.

When some kids get sleep deprived the sleep less and less and the problem continues to get worse--sort of like a snowball. Your description of her taking longer to fall asleep and then waking earlier and earlier fits that to me. And if her behavior is getting worse along with this change I'd be focusing on sleep before I messed with diet. You might be able to use really low dose (like .25 mg) of melatonin to help her sleep get back on track. I've dosed my kiddo to sleep at a reasonable hour and then dosed again say at 3 so he sleeps to a reasonable hour in the morning...it lasts about 3 hours typically. Low dose. You wouldn't do that every night but just to get her sleep caught up and then you can use it at night a few nights. Hopefully when she gets caught up she'll start sleeping better and behaving better.

I guess I also believe that diet makes a difference for some kids. But not all. And the way you described sleep with her makes that a likely culprit in my mind.

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#13 of 17 Old 12-24-2007, 06:35 PM
 
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Her sleep is WAY off. She was diagnosed with a mild form of SleepApnea but they arent doing anything to treat it currently. But about 3 months ago she started falling asleep later nad later (always in bed at 8:30 but not falling asleep now until 12ish) and then getting up earlier and earlier yesterday she got up at 5. I try desperatly to get her to sleep with me for a nap (if I dont lay with her she will just play) everytime we lay for 2 hours in bed trying to get her to sleep and she wont. I know she has to be exhausted because 5 hours of sleep is not cool for anyone.
.
Food chemicals cause sleep issues for my DD. She normally falls asleep fairly easily around 7, but when she's reacting she won't fall asleep before 8:30 or 9 at the earliest. When she was a baby food chemicals made her wake up about 10 times a night (this was before I figured out that she reacted to food chemicals).

Also, I know of someone else whose DD had major major sleep issues due to gluten (found in wheat and some other grains).
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#14 of 17 Old 12-24-2007, 09:07 PM
 
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I've not read the responses, but yes, for Mark (my spd kiddo) food additive, particulary colors, are an issue for him. He reacts specifically to yellow and blue dyes, reds not as much but he does react. It increases his seeking activities, overall "ping pong" behaviors and he becomes intolerably whiny and unhappy. It also negatively affects his sleep.

We avoid as much processed food as possible, as I *think* some of the additives/preservatives are also problematic, but I haven't pinned them down yet.

It's not so much specific food for him as it is the un-natural things added TO the food.
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#15 of 17 Old 12-25-2007, 12:42 AM
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I think they do sometimes. I also think that parents set up that expectations for kids, so they do. Tell a kid enough that dairy or whatever makes them flip out, and they'll flip out when they eat it, because they're expected to. *shrug*
If you think this is the issue, though, can you explain how my son has night terrors and sleepwalking at will for up to a week on a tiny exposure to food dyes that he may not even be aware of? He doesn't do it because he's expected to. He doesn't even know he's doing it. We didn't realize it was causing the sleep issues until we restricted it in an attempt to help his behavioral issues, and he stopped having those problems.

When it happens, he wakes up exhausted with bruises from falling down and a sore throat from screaming for hours and he doesn't even remember why. He's just miserable.

The waking behavior, I'd believe, maybe, if I hadn't observed how it can affect him from his eating foods that you can't even tell have food dyes unless you read the label.

We avoid HFCS for multiple reasons, one of which is that too much sugar isn't good for his behavior, but also, more importantly, because we have a propensity towards developing diabetes in our family (so excessivbe sugars of any kind are not a great thing) and he has bad teeth (from refusing to brush or have his teeth brushd for nearly 2 years).

My .02

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#16 of 17 Old 12-25-2007, 01:09 PM
 
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If you think this is the issue, though, can you explain how my son has night terrors and sleepwalking at will for up to a week on a tiny exposure to food dyes that he may not even be aware of? He doesn't do it because he's expected to. He doesn't even know he's doing it. We didn't realize it was causing the sleep issues until we restricted it in an attempt to help his behavioral issues, and he stopped having those problems.

When it happens, he wakes up exhausted with bruises from falling down and a sore throat from screaming for hours and he doesn't even remember why. He's just miserable.

The waking behavior, I'd believe, maybe, if I hadn't observed how it can affect him from his eating foods that you can't even tell have food dyes unless you read the label.

We avoid HFCS for multiple reasons, one of which is that too much sugar isn't good for his behavior, but also, more importantly, because we have a propensity towards developing diabetes in our family (so excessivbe sugars of any kind are not a great thing) and he has bad teeth (from refusing to brush or have his teeth brushd for nearly 2 years).

My .02

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I didn't say always.
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#17 of 17 Old 12-25-2007, 04:35 PM
 
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This is a copy of a recent post of mine about a similar situation. I hope some of it helps.

Our son has rage and aggression, inability to hear and consider other's needs when he consumes dairy. It develops about one hour after consumption and lasts for 1-6 hours, depending upon quantity consumed. Dairy is not meant for human consumption, imo. It takes about six weeks to completely eliminate the dairy proteins from your body.

Also, artificial food colors yellow and red make him hyper and less able to control himself. You might find some information at The Feingold Diet about diet and behavior. But, diet is HUGE in our family. When ds doesn't eat dairy, or artificial colors, flavors and preservatives he is considerate and respectful of other's body. With dairy he invades other's space, pushes, hits, kicks, etc. https://www.mothering.com/discussions...9&postcount=14

There is also a lot of info in the "Health and Healing" forum about "Healing the Gut". https://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=434071

And in this old thread about diet and behavior:
https://www.mothering.com/discussions...highlight=post

HTH, Pat

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