Sue's Blog

How to do diet for ADHD

(Part 3 of 3 blogs focussing on ADHD and diet for both children and adults)

Here are some great kids paying tribute to the cover of the Failsafe Cookbook – thanks Jodie!

We support the Elimination and Challenge Diet developed and trialled on over 30,000 patients at Sydney's Royal Prince Alred Hospital (RPAH) Allergy Unit.

We highly recommend that you use this diet with a supportive and experienced dietitian. There are 100's in Australia - see list. For adults and children with ADHD!

These are the important factors:

1. Do it properly

“As a dietitian who uses the RPAH Allergy Unit Elimination Diet in my everyday practice, I can assure you that it does work brilliantly in the majority of cases…  it needs to be done properly…”  Joy Anderson, see more in our blog Why see a dietitian

“It's easier with the assistance of an RPAH trained Dietitian” – Samantha [1616]

“Pre-failsafe, my ADHD daughter was annoyingly hyperactive and inattentive. I was looking for one trigger…” - Rhonda [1528] (NOTE: most children react to between 2 and 5 challenges and delayed reactions mean you can’t work it out for yourself) - see more of Rhonda’s story below.

2. Avoid misdiagnosis/malnutrition

It is easy to misinterpret food reactions and people can end up avoiding nutritious foods unnecessarily.

"I've heard people say, 'I can't eat wheat,' for instance, when the real problem has turned out to be an additive, propionate, used to prevent bread going mouldy" -  Dr Alan Barclay, see more

3. Get best results and tolerate more foods

“Thought I would let you know I am a lot better. Seeing RPAH Allergy Clinic directly made the difference and now I am having symptom free days..." see more

4. Smooth the way

“We have been to a dietitian from your list… It was great advice as it really smoothes the way when having to deal with doctors and other govt agencies” see more

Reader reports


“Pre-failsafe, my ADHD daughter was annoyingly hyperactive and inattentive. I was looking for one trigger. What I learned was...

•    Salicylates make her vague
•    Amines make her antagonistic
•    Glutamates make her highs extra high and her lows extra low
•    Colours make her silly but only last a few hours
•    Antioxidants make her … an absolute pain in the neck … and it lasts for a week
•    Nitrites stop her sleeping

… But because the worst one - the antioxidants - lasted a week, I never connected the small Maccas fries she had on Sunday to the crappy behaviour on Thursday, and because amines took WEEKS to build up and was always there, there was no way I could have linked it to aged meat and bananas … I know rpah (failsafe) elimination diet is huge and daunting and really inconvenient but it really is the best (the only?!) way of clearly connecting trigger foods with symptoms” – Rhonda [1528]

Did Diet work for ADHD? - Yes, had huge results after first 2 weeks of going baseline. Concentration, focus, calmness. The boys dad thought I had sedated him. Strict elimination. MSG was huge problem” - Tracy [1503] 

”We were told at nearly 5 that we would get an ADHD and ODD diagnosis and to read up about Ritalin -I never did instead we went on the diet - changed after 2 days - when we went back the paediatrician was so amazed and said she could no longer give the diagnosis…” – Roxanne [1420]

”My 5yr old has ADHD, after 4wks on full elimination diet we definitely saw improvements in focus and sitting still. Eg. from getting up from dining table 20+ times while having dinner to only getting up 2-5 times ... Sals made him return to previous non-focus behaviours” – Lena [1616]

”My daughter diagnosed with ADHD, severe anxiety and reacts really badly to high sals, artificial colours, dairy and wheat. Definitely worth trying elimination process, it has helped us heaps– Lucy [1612]

“We did diet for explosive ADHD symptoms. It made a massive difference ... I highly recommend going the whole hog and doing full elimination. We tried just doing low and moderate and it didn't give us a clear enough picture of what the trigger/s were. I promise it's not as hard as it looks...”. – Kat [1529]


“I’ve had a patient I was seeing for gut issues who also had ADHD. She had an improvement & was able to reduce medication” – Jo (a dietitian) [1558]

“I did the elimination diet before being diagnosed with ADHD. I am sensitive to salicylates, amines, artificial colours, preservatives and antioxidants, mostly with behavioural reactions. Colours I react violently. The diet helped a lot, but the ADHD diagnosis and medication filled in the gaps and cleared the rest of the brain fog” - Jay [1558]

“…I started with my family about 25 years ago. It made a huge difference to all my children … I found out that I reacted to everything that they did, just not as strongly…” - Jane [1503]

“I've watched your fantastic DVD three times since receiving it. It has made me go back to the drawing board, I think I missed salicylates earlier. You might want to reconsider the title "Fed up with Children's Behaviour", it is not just about children I feel, and it is not just about behaviour either. It goes much further .” Peter [1134]

READ ADHD diagnoses increasing (blog 1 of 3)

READ ADHD diagnoses increasing (blog 1 of 3)

What you can do

See our list of supportive, experienced dietitians - since Covid, some of the NSW dietitians who have actually worked at the RPAH clinic for many years are on our list and will do online consultations.

Introduction to food intolerance

Free failsafe booklets

FUcover3FCcover3People find my books and DVD extremely helpful and dietitians say it cuts an hour off consultation time if people have read my book Fed Up

DVDcover4Our free video Fed Up with Children’s Behaviour “Thanks for your resources. It's a game changer. After watching the video, my husband is doing the diet with us!"

How to start failsafe eating factsheet