what is the feingold program?
What is the Feingold Program?
It is an elimination diet that helps you find out if certain foods or artificial additives are triggering the problems you are seeing.
If you see positive results once you have gotten rid of those chemicals then you simply continue to eat the foods you enjoy that are free of them. Happily, there is a huge selection of brand name foods of all kinds, including snacks, desserts, drinks, convenience foods and mixes that are acceptable.
The Feingold Diet removes
- Artificial (synthetic) food dyes
- Artificial (synthetic) flavorings & fragrances
- Three preservatives
- Artificial sweeteners
These are temporarily removed at the start of the program and may be reintroduced:
- Foods and non-foods containing salicylates
- Aspirin and medicine containing aspirin
Products containing several other additives are marked in our Foodlist book because many of our members need to or want to avoid them. Sugar is not removed; most members tolerate sugar in moderation, although corn syrup is a problem for some.
How will I know which brands to buy?
The Feingold Association researches brand name foods with the manufacturers and uses the information
we receive to create lists of products we have found to be free of even small amounts of unwanted additives.
We collect this information and publish what we call “Foodlists” — a collection of more than 13,000 brand name products we have researched and are acceptable for you to use.
Foodlist & Shopping Guide
Who decides if an additive is safe to use?
The Feingold Handbook
It contains the best ideas and solutions that have been found by parents like yourself since the Association was formed in 1976.
Some of the topics covered in the Handbook are:
- Using the Program for different ages
- Gaining your child’s cooperation
- Meal suggestions
- How to keep a Diet Diary
- Better foods at bargain prices
- How to substitute ingredients
- Tips and time-savers
- Holiday ideas
- Working with your child’s teacher
- How to handle parties, soccer games, etc.
- Getting help from the relatives
- Doctors, dentists & counselors – how to get their help
- How to deal with a reaction
- Other additives to consider
- What about gluten and casein?
My child is taking medicine; can I still use the program?
Many families use the diet while their child is taking medication and find that they can achieve the same results with a smaller dose. It isn’t an ideal way to test out the diet, but you have to eat anyway, so you might as well provide your family with healthy choices. This is one of the topics we cover in the Feingold Handbook.
Is this program just for ADHD?
No, not at all. The program was actually designed for a woman who had a terrible case of hives. Dr. Feingold put her on a diet that removed several things: artificial colors, artificial flavors, aspirin and a group of foods we refer to as “salicylates.” He was amazed to learn that not only did the hives clear up, but her behavior changed from angry to normal. As long as she didn’t eat the above things she did not fight with her family and co-workers. As he began using the diet with children he saw many cases where their behavior quickly improved. Parents also reported major changes in a child’s schoolwork and in many other areas. Over the years Dr. Feingold found that many other problems improved when people stopped eating things like food dyes. The Feingold Association continues to collect feedback from families who have reported a wide range of improvements.
Why are these additives such a problem?
Food dyes are not new; they’ve been around for more than 100 years.
So why are we only seeing problems with them in recent years? In years past most children only consumed them occasionally — usually at holidays and parties. But today they are being added to more and more foods and nonfood products, and in much larger quantities. Synthetic dyes and flavorings are more like drugs than like foods, and in both cases, the dose determines the outcome.
Between the 1950s and today, the use of food dyes in the United States has increased 500%!
At one time (in the days before “rainbow cake,”) cereal was beige, orange juice was made from fruit, a soda drink was an occasional treat, and if your mother made you take vitamins, they didn’t taste good.
Here’s a rainbow cake made with
natural dyes. These are quite
pale, but there are also vivid natural
Studies on food additives show many unwanted effects
Here is a list of some:
- Behavior problems
- Nerve damage
- DNA damage
- Headaches, migraines
- Ear infections
- Difficulty concentrating
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Sleep disorders
- Brain damage
- Liver damage
- Lower brain weight in animals
- Developmental problems
- Reproductive abnormalites
- Skin rash
- Speech disorders
- Vision problems
- Edema (swelling)
- Abdominal pain
- Nasal polyps
Where can I find the acceptable brand name products?
Can I use the Feingold Program on my own?
Yes, if you are willing to make all of your food from scratch and not use any processed foods or commercial household
or personal care products, and not eat out at restaurants.
Can we still eat out at restaurants?
While it’s best to stick with foods at home for the first few weeks, Feingold families have many restaurant options.
As more and more people are dealing with allergies and sensitivities, restaurants, resorts and amusement parks (including Disney parks) are responding to this need.
Fast Food Guide
Looking for recipe help?
We’ve collected many simple family favorites that are ideal for the newcomer. You can use prepared foods of course, but for those times you want something homemade this book is for you. Most of the recipes are short-cuts, like the many time and money-saving mixes you can have ready to go. Over 200 pages of easy recipes that are additive-free and low-salicylate.
Whether you are new to the Program or have been eating additive-free for a while, these recipes will become some of your go-to meals. This book includes recipes for beverages, breakfast foods, snacks, main dishes, take-out meals, breads, rolls, sides, salads, soups, side dishes, mixes, syrups and desserts. This is a great cookbook for kids that are ADHD and for those that are doing stage one on the Feingold Program too. Click on the recipe book to get yours today!