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Many people believe that Dr. Feingold developed this program to help children

Many people believe that Dr. Feingold developed this program to help children with ADHD, but that’s not the case at all. (The name “ADHD” did not come into use until more than 15 years after his initial work.)

He first used it to help an adult patient with a severe case of hives (urticaria). As an allergist, Dr. Feingold knew that a person can be sensitive to, or allergic to, virtually anything. But his research showed that some things are serious offenders for many people and these are the foods and additives that he believed should be considered first.

Since synthetic food additives like dyes do not offer any benefit
for the consumer — only for the manufacturer — and because
they are known to cause harm for some people, Dr. Feingold
believed that they are a good place to begin looking for culprits.

Doctors have known

Doctors have long known that some people are unable to tolerate aspirin, and that hives are one of the possible reactions. But as he researched aspirin sensitivity and communicated with other doctors investigating this, Dr. Feingold learned that synthetic food dye can have a similar effect. He also learned that some plants produce  chemical which is a “cousin” to aspirin and dyes. So he told his patient to avoid these three categories:


  • Aspirin and medicine that contains aspirin
  • Artificial food dyes
  • A group of foods that contain the aspirin-like compound referred to
  • as “salicylate.” (The name for aspirin is acetyl-salicylic acid.)


He would later find that there are huge differences in what plants people can tolerate and so his program shows how to test them and determine if someoneis sensitive to any of them. As he gained experience in using the diet (which he named the K-P Diet) Dr. Feingold made adjustments to it, removing artificial flavorings and three preservatives.


The Feingold Diet eliminates the synthetic food additives that appear to be the worst offenders. Most of them are made from petroleum and are contaminated with toxic heavy metals. They offer no benefit for the consumer, and the foods that contain them can easily be replaced with foods made from natural ingredients, so these additives are not added back.

Many physical problems can be triggered by additives and salicylates

In 1985 the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Drugs published their report on the effects of dyes in the

October issue of the journal Pediatrics. Here are the physical symptoms they reported: respiratory problems, hives, swelling, bruising, rhinitis, nasal congestion, abdominal pain, vomiting, indigestion, contact dermatitis, difficulty breathing, wheezing and anaphylaxis.


Other research found that synthetic dyes can damage the DNA, which leads to cancer and can also damage chromosomes, the mitochondria and white blood cells. These additives can inhibit the immune system, damage sperm and bring on hypertension. Animal studies found dyes harm the reproductive system, lead to lower birth weight and lower survival,  and cause abnormal behavior.

Feedback from members

Dr. Feingold used to explain that a food or food additive can affect anyone who has a sensitivity to it, and we have received many reports of problems of all types that have been helped. One little boy suffered from severe rheumatoid arthritis that cleared up on the diet. A dad who used the program to help his son’s behavior found that his own painful nasal polyps cleared up after the family changed their food. Handwriting improves when petroleum-based food additives are removed, and many children no longer suffer from tics. Occasionally, we learn of a child who was clearly autistic, and who no longer had those symptoms. For most children the first improvement is seen in behavior. Tinnitus (ringing in the ears), nystagmus (rapid uncontrolled eye movements), strabismus (crossed eyes), depression, and irrational fears are among the many problems which have been resolved based on the reports we have received, in addition to the typical benefits of normalized behavior and dramatic improvements in concentration and schoolwork.

Behavior, Learning & Health

That woman who suffered from hives had an additional problem – bad behavior. She had long received counseling because she had trouble getting along with others, but nothing had helped. Dr. Feingold was
surprised to learn that when she used the K-P Diet her behavior became normal, and when she went off of it the belligerent behavior returned.

This was the beginning of his recognition that food and food additives can impact behavior, and this is why it has attracted so many parents of children with these problems.

Adult symptoms compared to a child’s symptoms

Doctors once believed children outgrew what is today called ADHD, but parents of children on the Feingold Diet knew this isn’t so. Not only are adults affected, but for every child who is sensitive there is at least one parent who shares these symptoms. The difference is that an adult is likely to react in other ways.

A 3-year-old who has consumed synthetic chemicals may throw a tantrum, while a parent might be able to exert more control over his reaction. But adults who eat the wrong things and lack self-control could have a different type of tantrum, such as reckless driving or pitching an adult-type of fit. They might also resort to alcohol in an effort to self-medicate.

Certain food addi ves are harmful for people of all ages

Eczema, liver damage, kidney damage, aggression, overactivity, sleep difficulties and mood changes were also found. By causing elevation of triglyceride levels, an individual is at a greater risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke, and suppression of glutathione deprives the body of a valuable antioxidant

Dyes can function as “xenoestrogens,” disrupting our hormones and causing damage to the immune and nervous
systems. These foreign substances have been linked to conditions that include breast, prostate and testicular cancer,
infertility, endometriosis, early onset puberty, miscarriage, diabetes and  obesity.





The Feingold Association collects medical research documenting symptoms such as these.  Go to the following link:  Research Studies






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