The 5% claim has been around for many years. Critics say that "studies show" that the Feingold Diet helps only 5% (or 2% or 1%) of the children who use it. They generally don't cite any studies to support this, which is understandable, since there aren't any.
Most often, the source cited is a report from a panel convened by the National Institutes of Health in January of 1982. The panel examined all of the research that had been conducted in the late 1970s through 1981.
The panel concluded that while the Feingold Diet is a valid option for the treatment of hyperactivity, the studies do not support the clinical reports of 60 to 70% success. However, the panel said that the studies were flawed as most of them focused on dyes only, and did not consider the other aspects of the diet, such as artificial flavors, preservatives and salicylates. "Therefore, these controlled challenge studies do not appear to have addressed adequately the role of diet in hperactiviey." [See Defined Diets and Childhood Hyperactivity, published by the NIH].
Newer, better designed studies have shown a success rate of between 58% and 81% depending upon the design of the study. Interestingly, one early study from the University of Wisconsin showed a 100% success rate.
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Last Updated 11/18/13