Why Diet Matters

Perhaps you want to know why diet matters. It’s because food is foundational to healing. Starting a healing diet is a critical first step on the road to recovery.

Basic Guidelines

As Michael Pollan wrote in Food Rules: “Eat food . . . not too much. . . mostly plants.” Here are some basic guidelines to follow:

Common Arguments

Here are some of the common arguments people use to not change the way their children eat:

It’s too expensive.

Expensive? Yes it is, but if you consider the cost of managing chronic illness over time, investing in healing food is a much better bet.

It’s hard to do.

Maybe at first, but you can find support. In addition, it gets easier as you go. Remember to take baby steps by making one change at a time. Before you know it, your family’s new way of eating will have become a lifestyle.

There’s not enough time.

There are many ways to overcome this obstacle:

  • Plan ahead
  • Consider using a slow cooker
  • Cook in bulk and freeze for the week
  • In a pinch, use short-cuts like organic pre-cooked ingredients found in health-food stores

My child is a picky eater and will starve.

Consider the causes of picky eating such as:

  • Sensory issues in the mouth
  • Nutritional deficiencies, such as zinc
  • Structural issues, such as tongue tie or high palate
  • Food-related anxiety
  • Emotional issues related to food and eating

Learn more about picky eating, and remember that there are professionals who can help you address these issues.

As you implement some of these changes, you’ll understand more and more why diet matters. 

Sources & References

Adams, J.B., Audhya, T., McDonough-Means, S., Rubin, R.A., Quig, D., Geis, E., et al. Effect of a vitamin/mineral supplement on children and adults with autism. BMC Pediatr. 2011;11:111

Adams, J.B., et al. Comprehensive Nutritional and Dietary Intervention for Autism Spectrum Disorder-A Randomized, Controlled 12-Month Trial. Nutrients. 2018 Mar 17;10(3).

Boris, M., et al. Foods and additives are common causes of the attention deficit hyperactive disorder in children. Ann Allergy. 1994 May;72(5):462-8.

Konikowska, K., et al.  The influence of components of diet on the symptoms of ADHD in children. Rocz Panstw Zakl Hig. 2012;63(2):127-34.

McCann, D., et al. Food additives and hyperactive behaviour in 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children in the community: a randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial. Lancet. 2007 Nov 3;370(9598):1560-7.

Millichap, J.G., et al. The diet factor in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Pediatrics. 2012 Feb;129(2):330-7.

Moss, M., et al. The Plasma Cysteine/Sulphate Ratio: A Possible Clinical Biomarker. Journal of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine. 2009 Jul;13(4):215-229.

Silfverdal, S.A., et al. [Food additives can increase hyperactivity in children. Results from a British study confirm the connection]. Lakartidningen. 2008 Feb 6-12;105(6):354-5.

Stare, F.J., et al. Diet and hyperactivity: is there a relationship. Pediatrics. 1980 Oct;66(4):521-5.

Stevens, L.J., et  al. Dietary sensitivities and ADHD symptoms: thirty-five years of research. Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2011 Apr;50(4):279-93.


Ballantyne, Sarah. Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease Heal Your Body. Victory Belt Publishing, 2014.

Cordain, Loren. The Paleo Diet Revised: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Foods You Were Designed to Eat. Harvest, 2010.

Davis, Sheri. All Natural Mom’s Guide to the Feingold Diet: A Natural Approach to ADHD and Other Related Disorders. Sheri Davis, 2014.

Ernsperger, Lori, et al. Just Take a Bite: Easy, Effective Answers to Food Aversions and Eating Challenges! Future Horizons, 2004.

Feingold, Ben. The Feingold Cookbook for Hyperactive Children, and Others Associated with Food Additives and Salicylates. Random House, 1979.

Feingold, Ben. Why Your Child Is Hyperactive: The Bestselling Book on How ADHD Is Caused by Artificial Food Flavors and Colors. Random House, 1985.

Hersey, Jane. Why Can’t My Child Behave?: Why Can’t She Cope? Why Can’t He Learn? The Feingold Diet Updated for Today’s Busy Families. Pear Tree Press, 2014.

Long, R.W. Push the Rock: Second Chances on the Road to Kilimanjaro. First Summit Project, 2015.

Matthews, Julie. Nourishing Hope for Autism: Nutrition and Diet Guide for Healing Our Children. Healthful Living Media, 2008.

Sisson, Mark. The Primal Blueprint: Reprogram Your Genes for Effortless Weight Loss, Vibrant Health, and Boundless Energy. Primal Nutrition, Inc., 2019.

Tam, Michelle, et al. Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Volume 1). Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2013.

Voegtlin, Walter. The Stone Age Diet: Based on In-depth Studies of Human Ecology and the Diet of Man. Vantage Press, 1975.

Wahls, Terry. The Wahls Protocol: A Radical New Way to Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions Using Paleo Principles. Avery, 2020.

Wahls, Terry. The Wahls Protocol Cooking for Life: The Revolutionary Modern Paleo Plan to Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions. Avery, 2017.


CBS News: ADHD Diet Study Suggests Healthy Eating May Help Kids

Chicago Tribune: Do Diet Changes Help ADHD Children?

Feingold Association

The Feingold Diet: Our Family’s Experience with a Dye-Free Diet

Julie Matthew’s BioIndividual Nutrition recipes

Julie Matthew’s BioIndividual Nutrition Feingold Diet / Failsafe Diet

Our Journey with the Feingold Diet

Terry Wahls MD