Several experts were consulted for their reactions and, while some are receptive to the research, most are skeptical.
- Premature The Guardian turns to Professor David Daley at Nottingham University's institute of mental health for a comment on the new study's findings. "Scientifically, I think this paper offers excellent evidence about another possible underlying cause of ADHD, but it would be premature to conclude such dietary intervention would be of any clinical benefit to children with ADHD and their parents. We need to know more about how expensive the intervention is, how motivated parents must be to make it work, and how easy it is for parents to get their child to stick to the diet," he said.
- Worth Considering In Bloomberg's Business Week, Dr. Jaswinder Ghuman, the author of an accompanying editorial in the same issue of the journal that featured the study, clarified how exactly this diet must be carried out. "If parents have noticed that a child's behavior seems to get worse with certain foods, it may be worth considering," said Ghuman, who is an associate professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the University of Arizona in Tucson. "But, for this diet to work, you have to be very consistent with it, and you have to pay attention to nutrition. It should be done under the supervision of a primary care doctor, and if possible, a dietitian," she advised.
- Beware of the Risks Eugene Arnold, MD, professor emeritus of psychiatry at Ohio State University's Nisonger Center, Columbus, reviewed the study's findings for WebMD. Arnold warns that the diet must be supervised by experts, not parents alone. "There is a risk of malnutrition if you don't pay attention to the balance of nutrients," he says, noting that the results of the original study must be achieved again with different children before anything is proved and that parents should abandon the diet if it doesn't work. "If there is no improvement in two to five weeks, forget it," Arnold says.
- A Good Alternative Professor Jim Stevenson of Southampton University tells Reuters that the diet may be a good alternative to ADHD medication. "Many parents are reluctant to use a drug treatment and it is important that alternatives such as the few foods approach can be shown to be effective," he said.
- Not Convinced But William Pelham, a psychologist at the University of Buffalo, made clear in an interview with MedPage Today that he was skeptical of the study's findings, pointing to 30 years of studies that found no link between diet and ADHD symptoms. "One open study allegedly demonstrating a relationship does not change my mind," he wrote in an e-mail.