Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, ADHD is a chronic condition marked by persistent inattention, hyperactivity, and sometimes impulsivity. ADHD begins in childhood and often lasts into adulthood. As many as two out of every three children with ADHD continue to have symptoms as adults. The number of children getting diagnosed and treated for ADHD has risen over time. The most common type involves both a mix of inattentive symptoms and hyperactive-impulsive symptoms.

Children with ADHD also may struggle with low self-esteem, troubled relationships and poor performance in school. 


A child who shows a pattern of inattention may often:

  • Fail to pay close attention to details or make careless mistakes in schoolwork
  • Have trouble staying focused in tasks or play
  • Appear not to listen, even when spoken to directly
  • Have difficulty following through on instructions and fail to finish schoolwork or chores
  • Have trouble organizing tasks and activities
  • Avoid or dislike tasks that require focused mental effort, such as homework
  • Lose items needed for tasks or activities, for example, toys, school assignments, pencils
  • Be easily distracted
  • Forget to do some daily activities, such as forgetting to do chores


A child who shows a pattern of hyperactive and impulsive symptoms may often:

  • Fidget with or tap his or her hands or feet, or squirm in the seat
  • Have difficulty staying seated in the classroom or in other situations
  • Be on the go, in constant motion
  • Run around or climb in situations when it’s not appropriate
  • Have trouble playing or doing an activity quietly
  • Talk too much
  • Blurt out answers, interrupting the questioner
  • Have difficulty waiting for his or her turn
  • Interrupt or intrude on others’ conversations, games or activities

 Children with ADHD are more likely than others to also have conditions such as:

  • Learning disabilities,including problems with understanding and communicating
  • Anxiety disorders,which may cause overwhelming worry, nervousness
  • Depression,which frequently occurs in children with ADHD
  • Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder,characterized by irritability and problems tolerating frustration
  • Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD),generally defined as a pattern of negative, defiant and hostile behavior toward authority figures
  • Conduct disorder,marked by antisocial behavior such as stealing, fighting, destroying property, and harming people or animals
  • Bipolar disorder,which includes depression as well as manic behavior
  • Tourette syndrome,a neurological disorder characterized by repetitive muscle or vocal tics

It is possible that the chronic use of sugar could cause changes in brain chemistry that may eventually lead to ADHD. Children with high-sugar diets were more likely to have disrupted sleep, most commonly breathing problems and night sweats.  Unfortunately, ADHD  can’t be corrected simply by removing sugar from the diet in short-term studies.

Children with ADHD are about twice as likely to be overweight or obese and vice versa. Many foods are very high in sugars, which are strongly associated with high insulin levels and inflammation, which is not obvious, but is present throughout the body.  This inflammation can only be detected by special blood tests in research labs. 

Researchers noted “improved behavior and focus” among children with epilepsy who tried the keto diet.  A decrease in carbohydrates may lessen the symptoms of ADHD.


Clinical research has found improvements in cognition in adults and children on the ketogenic diet as observed below:


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