Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

ADHD in Children Health Center

Font Size

Experts Revisit Food Additives and ADHD

Research Suggests Limiting Food Additives in Diet May Help Kids With ADHD

Food Additives on Trial

The 2007 study cited by Kemp and the AAP editors included 297 British children from the general population who were either age 3 or between the ages of 8 and 9 and whose diets were closely controlled for six weeks.

During the study, the children drank either beverages with food additives or a placebo drink with no additives.

Neither the children nor the researchers knew which beverage the children were getting.

The children were evaluated for inattention and hyperactivity by parents and teachers and through a standardized computer testing.

The researchers reported that for both age groups evaluated, children who drank the beverages with the artificial additives exhibited more hyperactivity and shorter attention spans.

That 2007 study aside, pediatrician Mark Wolraich, MD, tells WebMD that most studies that have examined the impact of limiting food additives on ADHD are at least three decades old, and these studies showed benefits in only a small percentage of hyperactive children.

A professor of pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Wolraich notes that removing preservatives from many foods might pose a health problem of its own.

"The preservatives keep the food from spoiling, so there would be less food available if we removed them from all foods," he says.

Seattle Children's Hospital associate medical director Edgar Marcuse, MD, says the new study is more rigorous than any research that has been done before, even though it was not limited to children with ADHD.

As an editor of AAP Grand Rounds, Marcuse co-wrote the editorial calling on clinicians to be more open-minded about a possible role for dietary restrictions in the treatment of hyperactivity.

"This was not a huge study, but the overall findings were rather compelling," Marcuse tells WebMD. "We don't know what this means for any individual child at this point, but I think it reopens a book that has been closed."

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

doctor writing on clipboard
mother with child
disciplining a boy
daughter with her unhappy parents
preschool age girl sitting at desk
Child with adhd
father helping son with homework
children in sack race