The Feingold diet was designed by pediatrician and allergist, Dr. Benjamin Feingold in the 1970s. It was first published in his successful Why is Your Child Hyperactive book and was then expanded in his Feindgold Cookbook For Hyperactive Children
The diet was originally intended to help children suffering from ADD or ADHD get over acute symptoms and live life normally. Later on, as more and more people began to enjoy the benefits of the diet, it became synonymous with healthy eating habits.
Basically, the same principles can be applied to children or adults. Read below to see how well these books really work and if the Feingold diet can really help you to shed weight and lead a healthier life.
The Feingold Cookbook: overview
Dr Feingold’s work as pediatrician brought him in contact with many children who were suffering from different kinds of allergies. Among these, one kind of allergy went largely unnoticed – food allergy. He noticed that food additives contributed to hyperactivity in children suffering from ADHD. So, he published a book titled, ‘Why your child is Hyperactive’. The Feingold diet originated from this book.
The Feingold diet revolves around eliminating additives and chemicals from the diet. This in turn would lead to the elimination of various diseases and disorders, including obesity.
This diet identifies four main groups of additives. These are:
- Synthetic food colors
- Artificial flavors
- Artificial sweeteners
- Artificial preservatives
These have to be eliminated.
To accomplish this, the Feingold diet is formulated in two phases. In the first phase, all offending foods are eliminated. In the second phase, substances are re-introduced item by item to detect those substances that cannot be tolerated by the body.
In the first phase, the diet recommends the complete elimination of Salicylates from food. Salicylates are food additives, but they also occur naturally in foods like oranges, peaches, plums, tangerines, prunes, coffee, cloves, grapes, apples, tomatoes, tea and berries. So, these foods too are avoided.
In the second phase, those Salicylates that may be tolerated by the body are identified by reintroducing foods one by one.
Feingold Diet Pros and Cons
- Written by a qualified doctor
- Advocates a balanced diet
- Many substitution recipes are available
- Diet beneficial to children with ADD symptoms
- A comprehensive food list
- A nice compilation of recipes
- Too difficult to follow
- Requires a lot of planning
- No role for exercise
- Time consuming
- Rigorous and restrictive
- No fast foods or restaurant foods allowed
The Feingold diet is undoubtedly based on careful research and experimentation. The book contains all the information to help you begin a healthier and more nutritious lifestyle. It encourages that the diet be followed by all the members of the family so that everyone can get maximum benefit and nobody feels isolated.
On the down side, the meal plan is very restrictive. Once you start the diet, you are advised to stick to it rigorously. Even a single transgression can have effects that last for 2-3 days. This makes it hard to follow or sustain this diet. Also, exercise is not mentioned anywhere in the entire plan.