Struggling with Learning Disorders, Behavior Problems? Look to Diet First

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Learning disorders
are the fastest growing childhood disorder in the United States,
affecting 9 to10 percent of all school-aged children. ADD and ADHD
are disorders of the central nervous system that have documented
links to diet. Development of a healthy nervous system depends upon
appropriate nutrition. Diet is a great area where parents can take
action to help their children.

When working
with a learning disorder or behavior problems, diet is one of the
first places to look. How much sugar is in the diet? Learn to read
labels. One teaspoon of sugar is 4 grams by weight. Many breakfast
cereals and bars have 16 to 20 grams of sugar. That is 4 to 5 teaspoons.
Sodas have around 9 teaspoons of sugar. Juices, even 100% juice,
are also sources of sugar with roughly 5 to 8 teaspoons of sugar
per serving. Take out a cup measure and fill it with the amount
of sugar your child consumes on an average day. It may be surprising
to you. Also nearly as important to monitor are the starchy foods
that convert easily to sugar in the body. These include white potatoes
and foods made with white flour such as pasta and crackers.

Food allergies
are another place to look for causes of behavior problems. Common
allergens are dairy, wheat, and corn. Some allergies are actually
caused by nutritional deficiencies. For instance, wheat allergy
generally comes into balance when you supplement magnesium and essential
fatty acids. Notice what happens after your child eats certain foods,
especially those that are consumed daily. Consider rotating common
foods out of the diet so that they are eaten only 2–3 times
per week. (Yes, this takes lots of planning.)

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November
7, 2009

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