People with ADHD know how the condition can impact all aspects of their lives, from their performance at school to their relationships.
But many people with ADHD may not be as aware of how much the condition can affect their eating habits. And if left unchecked, these poor eating habits could eventually affect them mental and physical health.
Some of the most common problems are “hyperfixation” and binge eating. Hyperfixation is one intense fixation on specific activities or interests, but may also include eating habits.
This means that some people only eat a certain food or meal for a certain amount of time before they get fed up and move on to a different food or meal.
Studies have also shown a link between ADHD and certain eating disordersWith binge eating disorder to be one of the most common.
Binge eating disorder occurs when people eat large amounts of food in a short period of time, even when they are not hungry. It is estimated that almost a third of people in the US suffer from binge eating disorder also have ADHD.
Some experts believe that people with ADHD may overeat to satisfy themselves need for stimulation.
Binge eating can also occur because ADHD makes it difficult for people to have self-control and self-regulation, which means they’re more likely to overeat when they’re sad or angry, and it may not be as easy for them to know when they are full.
Some evidence suggests that binge eating may be due to an increase in people with ADHD neural reward response to eating rather than impulsiveness.
This is when the brain is exposed to a rewarding stimulus and responds to it by releasing an increased amount of dopamine, a chemical associated with it in the brain reward and pleasure. However, impulsiveness (another symptom of ADHD) can also cause people to overeat — especially unhealthy foods.
Some ADHD medications can do this, too suppress appetite during the day. But when the drug wears off in the evening, appetite increases, which can lead to binge eating.
sensory problems may also explain why some people with ADHD tend to eat or avoid certain foods.
Certain textures or smells can cause sensory overload, making it difficult for people with ADHD to eat — leading to avoidance of those foods or food groups altogether.
There is also evidence that people with ADHD tend to have a preference for junk food, especially groceries much sugar. This may be because foods high in sugar stimulate the release of dopamine.
have people with ADHD lower dopamine levels. As such, they may be more “wired” to seek out dopamine. Because eating simple carbohydrates (such as foods high in sugar) triggers one rush of dopamine in the brain, this may be why people with ADHD tend to hyperfix or consume these foods.
What about the diet?
Not eating a varied diet or only eating foods high in sugar can lead to a range of health problems, from vitamin deficiencies to vitamin deficiencies obesity. A high-sugar diet can also affect energy levels and mood.
Some preliminary research suggests that certain foods, such as highly processed additives and preservatives, may also change behavior and cognitive development.
Several studies have shown that nutritional deficiencies can affect the behavior and cognitive function of people with ADHD.
Vitamin D and magnesium, in particular, are important, as research shows improve attention and reduce hyperactivity some. Vitamin D can also affect dopamine shapes in the brain.
But although ADHD can make it harder to control eating habits, there are things you can do to improve the situation if you have ADHD. Here are some of them:
To plan: Shopping and planning meals for the week ahead. Meal planning makes it easier to decide what and when to eat, and can help you avoid buying or eating unhealthy, processed foods.
Eat small but nutritious meals throughout the day. When these are planned, it can help you avoid unhealthy snacking—and can also help you avoid late-night binge eating if you’re someone who forgets to eat throughout the day. A balance of protein and complex carbohydrates (like chicken, beans, or whole grains) will help you get enough nutrients and vitamins, but will also help you feel fuller longer and give you energy.
Create a healthy eating environment at home. This may mean not buying high-calorie snacks, or instead replacing them with nutritious ones — like fruits or vegetables that can help improve your health attention.
Supplement certain vitamins and minerals. People with ADHD are more likely to be deficient in certain micronutrients, including Omega-3, Magnesium and Zinc. These nutrients are important to ensure the brain, body and immune system are functioning at their best.
While making adjustments to your diet isn’t always easy, working with a nutritionist or psychologist, getting help from a loved one, or even using a daily meal planner can help get you on track.
Even small changes in your daily eating habits can have a significant impact on your health in the long term.
Hazel flightProgram Manager Nutrition and Health, Edge Hill University
This article is republished by The conversation under a Creative Commons license. read this original article.