Feingold Diet: Navigating Behavioral Health through Additive-Free Nutrition

Stanly Lawrence


Feingold Diet

Welcome to the realm of the Feingold Diet, a dietary approach pioneered by Dr. Benjamin Feingold in the 1970s, designed to explore the intricate connection between nutrition, artificial additives, and behavioral well-being. This journey delves into the principles of the Feingold Diet, where the spotlight shines on eliminating specific artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives from daily consumption. The goal? To unravel the potential impact of these additives on behavior, especially in children, and to empower individuals to make informed choices for a healthier and more mindful lifestyle. Join us as we navigate label reading, embrace whole foods, and unravel the complexities of this fascinating dietary philosophy.

What is Feingold Diet?

The Feingold Diet, developed by Dr. Benjamin Feingold, is a nutritional approach centered around the elimination of specific artificial additives from one's diet. This includes the removal of artificial colors, flavors, and certain preservatives with the belief that these additives may contribute to behavioral issues, particularly in children. By emphasizing whole, unprocessed foods and encouraging careful label reading, the Feingold Diet aims to create a diet free from potentially problematic additives, with the goal of improving behavior, focus, and overall well-being. While its effectiveness remains a topic of debate, individuals interested in this dietary approach often embark on a journey of mindful eating, navigating challenges, and making informed choices for a healthier lifestyle.

Pros and Cons of Feingold Diet

Pros of the Feingold Diet:

Behavioral Improvements: Many proponents of the Feingold Diet report positive changes in behavior, particularly in children with attention and hyperactivity issues.

Reduced Artificial Additives: By eliminating artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, adherents reduce their intake of potentially harmful additives, fostering a diet focused on whole and natural foods.

Increased Awareness of Nutrition: The Feingold Diet encourages individuals to become more mindful of their food choices, fostering an awareness of nutrition labels and the impact of additives on health.

Potential Allergy Reduction: Some individuals experience a reduction in allergic reactions and sensitivities when following the Feingold Diet.

Cons of the Feingold Diet:

Limited Scientific Support: The scientific evidence supporting the effectiveness of the Feingold Diet in improving behavior is limited, leading to skepticism within the medical and scientific communities.

Strict Dietary Restrictions: Adhering to the Feingold Diet requires strict avoidance of specific additives, which can be challenging and may limit food choices, especially in social situations.

Varied Individual Responses: Responses to the diet vary widely, with some individuals experiencing significant improvements, while others report no noticeable changes in behavior.

Difficulty in Maintaining Long-Term: The Feingold Diet can be challenging to maintain over the long term, and some individuals may find it impractical to adhere to the strict restrictions consistently.

In conclusion, the Feingold Diet offers potential benefits in terms of behavioral improvements and a focus on natural, additive-free foods. However, its limitations and lack of robust scientific support raise questions about its universal efficacy, necessitating careful consideration and consultation with healthcare professionals before adoption.

What Foods can include and avoid in Feingold Diet?

Foods to Include in the Feingold Diet:

Whole Fruits and Vegetables: Fresh fruits and vegetables without added preservatives or artificial coloring are staples of the Feingold Diet.

Lean Proteins: Incorporate lean meats, poultry, fish, and plant-based protein sources into your diet.

Whole Grains: Opt for whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, and oats, avoiding processed grains with artificial additives.

Dairy: Choose plain, unsweetened dairy products, avoiding flavored options that may contain artificial flavors and colors.

Nuts and Seeds: Enjoy nuts and seeds without added artificial additives as a source of healthy fats and protein.

Natural Sweeteners: Use natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup in moderation, steering clear of artificial sweeteners.

Herbs and Spices: Enhance flavor with herbs and spices without added artificial flavorings.

Water: Stay hydrated with water as your primary beverage, avoiding sugary drinks and those with artificial colors.

Foods to Avoid in the Feingold Diet:

Artificial Colors: Steer clear of foods and beverages containing artificial colors such as Red 40, Yellow 5, and Blue 1.

Artificial Flavors: Avoid products with artificial flavors, opting for foods with natural flavorings.

Preservatives: Eliminate foods with synthetic preservatives, including BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene).

Artificial Sweeteners: Stay away from artificial sweeteners like aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose.

Processed Foods: Minimize the consumption of heavily processed foods, as they often contain a higher likelihood of artificial additives.

Packaged Snacks: Be cautious with packaged snacks, as they may contain artificial colors and flavors. Opt for homemade snacks whenever possible.

Candy and Sweets: Many candies and sweets contain artificial colors and flavors. Look for natural alternatives or enjoy fresh fruits as sweet treats.

Sodas and Sugary Drinks: Avoid sugary beverages and sodas, especially those with artificial colors and sweeteners.

Remember, the Feingold Diet is about mindful, additive-free eating, and focusing on whole, unprocessed foods. Always check labels carefully, as artificial additives can hide under different names. It's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or a nutritionist before making significant changes to your diet.

Sample Feingold Diet Meal Plan

Day 1:


Scrambled eggs with spinach and tomatoes

Whole grain toast (without artificial additives)

Fresh orange slices


Grilled chicken breast salad with mixed greens, cucumbers, and bell peppers

Quinoa salad with olive oil and herbs

Apple slices


Plain Greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey

Handful of almonds


Baked salmon with lemon and dill

Steamed broccoli and carrots

Brown rice

Day 2:


Oatmeal made with water or milk (without added sugar)

Sliced banana



Turkey and avocado whole grain wrap

Carrot sticks with hummus



Cottage cheese with pineapple chunks


Quinoa-stuffed bell peppers with black beans and corn

Mixed green salad with vinaigrette dressing

Steamed asparagus

Day 3:


Whole grain pancakes with fresh berries

Greek yogurt


Lentil soup (homemade without artificial additives)

Whole grain crackers

Mixed fruit salad


Sliced cucumber with guacamole


Grilled shrimp skewers with lemon and garlic

Sweet potato wedges

Steamed green beans

Day 4:


Smoothie with spinach, banana, berries, and almond milk (without added sugar)


Quinoa bowl with roasted vegetables (zucchini, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes)

Orange slices


Rice cakes with natural peanut butter


Baked chicken thighs with rosemary and garlic

Quinoa pilaf with peas and carrots

Mixed salad with balsamic vinaigrette

Remember to stay hydrated throughout the day by drinking water, herbal teas, or other beverages without artificial additives. Adjust the meal plan based on personal preferences, dietary restrictions, and nutritional needs. It's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or a nutritionist before making significant changes to your diet.

Recipes for Feingold Diet

1. Herb-Roasted Chicken with Vegetables:

Herb-Roasted Chicken with Vegetables


4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Salt and pepper to taste

4 cups mixed vegetables (carrots, potatoes, green beans), chopped


Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

In a small bowl, mix together thyme, rosemary, oregano, salt, and pepper.

Rub the chicken thighs with olive oil and the herb mixture.

Place the chicken on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Toss the mixed vegetables with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Arrange them around the chicken on the baking sheet.

Roast in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender.

2. Quinoa and Vegetable Stir-Fry:

Quinoa and Vegetable Stir-Fry


1 cup quinoa, rinsed

2 cups water or vegetable broth

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup broccoli florets

1 bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 carrot, julienned

1 zucchini, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons soy sauce (ensure it's free of artificial additives)

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Green onions for garnish (optional)


In a saucepan, combine quinoa and water or vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until quinoa is cooked and water is absorbed.

While the quinoa cooks, heat olive oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat.

Add garlic, broccoli, bell pepper, carrot, and zucchini to the skillet. Stir-fry for 5-7 minutes or until vegetables are tender-crisp.

In a small bowl, mix together soy sauce and sesame oil.

Add the cooked quinoa to the skillet and pour the sauce over the quinoa and vegetables. Stir to combine and heat through.

Garnish with green onions if desired.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the Feingold Diet

1. What is the Feingold Diet?

The Feingold Diet is a dietary approach developed by Dr. Benjamin Feingold in the 1970s. It involves eliminating specific artificial additives, such as colors, flavors, and preservatives, with the goal of improving behavior, particularly in children.

2. Which additives should be avoided on the Feingold Diet?

The Feingold Diet recommends avoiding artificial colors (e.g., Red 40, Yellow 5), artificial flavors, preservatives (e.g., BHA, BHT), and artificial sweeteners (e.g., aspartame).

3. What are the potential benefits of the Feingold Diet?

Advocates of the Feingold Diet suggest potential benefits such as improved behavior in children, increased focus and concentration, and a reduction in allergic reactions for some individuals.

4. Is there scientific evidence supporting the effectiveness of the Feingold Diet?

The scientific evidence supporting the Feingold Diet's effectiveness is limited. While some studies suggest a connection between certain additives and behavior, the overall consensus within the scientific community is not firmly established.

5. What foods can be included in the Feingold Diet?

The Feingold Diet encourages whole, unprocessed foods. This includes fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and natural sweeteners. It emphasizes avoiding processed foods with artificial additives.

6. How do I read food labels on the Feingold Diet?

When reading labels, look for and avoid specific additives listed in the diet guidelines. Learn alternative names for additives, and be vigilant about hidden additives in processed foods.

7. Can adults benefit from the Feingold Diet, or is it primarily for children?

While the Feingold Diet gained popularity for addressing behavioral issues in children, some adults have reported benefits as well. It's essential to consider individual responses and consult with healthcare professionals.

8. Are there any challenges associated with the Feingold Diet?

Challenges may include the strict avoidance of certain additives, difficulties in social situations, and the need for careful meal planning. Adhering to the diet can also be challenging in the long term.

9. Can I gradually transition into the Feingold Diet?

Yes, some individuals find success by gradually eliminating additives rather than making abrupt changes. This approach can make the transition more manageable.

10. Should I consult with a healthcare professional before starting the Feingold Diet?

Yes, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian before making significant changes to your diet, especially if you have underlying health conditions or concerns.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, the Feingold Diet offers a distinctive approach to nutrition by focusing on the elimination of specific artificial additives, aiming to enhance behavior and overall well-being, particularly in children. While the diet has gained attention for its potential benefits, it is essential to approach it with a balanced perspective. The limited scientific consensus and varied individual responses underscore the need for careful consideration and consultation with healthcare professionals before embarking on this dietary journey. As with any significant lifestyle change, maintaining open communication with medical professionals, embracing a mindful approach to nutrition, and acknowledging individual variations will contribute to a more informed and personalized experience with the Feingold Diet.

Post a Comment

Post a Comment (0)