In the 1960's, Ben F. Feingold, MD, was Chief of Allergy at
Kaiser-Permanente Medical Center in San Francisco, CA. Dr. Feingold was also a pediatrician and had taught pediatrics at Northwestern University Medical School.
He had begun using a diet similar to that developed by Dr. Stephen Lockey of the Mayo Clinic. This was not a diet for treatment of hyperactivity, but rather for skin conditions and asthma related to aspirin-sensitivity.
Using an elimination diet which excluded not only aspirin but foods believed to contain
salicylate compounds, as well as the synthetic colorings and flavorings, patients dramatically improved.
Colleagues treating one of Dr. Feingold's patients for a mood disorder
alerted him to her dramatic improvement in her psychiatric symptoms while she was using
the new "diet" for hives. He began to recommend the the food plan to other patients at the clinic. Some of the parents of allergic children reported that not only did their child's allergy symptoms improve, but their hyperactive child calmed down and was doing better in school.
Eventually, Dr. Feingold and others began to try this regimen, which he named the "K-P Diet," on children with behavior problems who had not been helped by any of the medical interventions that had been used. The results were encouraging and began to appear in newspaper articles.
In 1973, after eight years of clinical research, Dr. Feingold
announced his findings at a meeting of the American Medical Association and
later published articles in various medical journals. His work was greeted with enthusiasm by his colleagues, who had been seeing an alarming increase in the number of children diagnosed as hyperactive. The AMA arranged for press conferences around the country and sent him out to share this information with the public.
Random House saw the importance of Feingold's work and asked him to write a book designed for parents. They named it Why Your Child is Hyperactive and published it in 1974, whereupon the press began to call this diet the "Feingold Diet." As a result of the book and media coverage, Feingold's information reached millions of parents.
In May of 1976, parent volunteers from around the country met in Washington, DC,
to establish a national organization that would support the work of the many local
groups. These grateful parents
chose the name Feingold Association of the United States [FAUS] to honor the doctor who had helped their families. Success stories continued to multiply as new families tried
the Feingold Program. The mission of the organization was and still is
".....dedicated to helping children and adults apply proven dietary
techniques for better behavior, learning and health."
Dr. Feingold continued to teach parents how to help their children with learning and behavior problems until his death in 1982. Then, however, with no one to fill his shoes, the media interest died out.
Over the years, FAUS developed printed materials to help new families use the Program. The Association conducts extensive research with manufacturers to identify foods and non-food items that are free of the offending additives. They publish books listing thousands of acceptable brand name products that are readily available in most supermarkets. This information is updated
ten times a year through the Association's newsletter,
Dr. Feingold's first book, Why Your Child is Hyperactive, was later followed in 1979 by The Feingold Cookbook, which is now out of print. While these books are very useful, the program has been streamlined and updated in the new book Why Can't My Child Behave?
You can READ Part One of this book here.
Today, we have scientific validation of many of the ideas presented by Dr.
Feingold a quarter century ago. Hundreds of thousands of children, adults and now second-generation
families have benefited from the Feingold Program.