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How does ADHD affect diet and appetite?

Updated: Nov 7, 2023

ADHD can affect appetite in several ways, including:

  1. Overeating: For some people, the effect of ADHD on appetite is the tendency to overeat. This is because ADHD can cause impulsivity and difficulty with self-regulation, making it harder to resist food cravings and the impulses to eat more. This can lead to weight gain and other health issues.

  2. On the other hand, some people with ADHD may experience a decreased appetite, particularly when taking medications. Stimulants can suppress appetite as a side effect, which can make it harder feel the urge to eat enough to meet their nutritional needs.

  3. Cravings: Some individuals with ADHD may experience intense cravings for certain foods, particularly those high in sugar, salt, and fat.

  4. Inconsistent eating habits: People with ADHD may have a hard time sticking to a consistent eating schedule, which can lead to irregular eating habits and an imbalance in nutrient intake.

  5. Lack of interest in food: Some individuals with ADHD may struggle with sensory processing issues, which can affect their appetite and interest in food. They may find certain textures or tastes unappealing and have difficulty enjoying meals.

It is important to note that not everyone with ADHD will experience these effects on their appetite, and the severity and frequency of symptoms can vary from person to person. If you are concerned about how ADHD is affecting your appetite, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider or a registered nutritionist/dietician with specialist knowledge. ADHD affects the brain's executive functioning ability. Making decisions around food choices, creating grocery lists and shopping, finding recipes, preparing food and cooking all requires a lot of execute functioning! For some people with ADHD, these processes can feel overwhelming. I have produced an ADHD Nutrition and Meal Planner to help my clients work through their goals around dietary choices, appetite, and food preparation. The contents include weekly schedule guides followed by monthly, weekly and daily meal planning worksheets and nutritional information about proteins, carbohydrates and dietary fats The planner has all the guidance in one easy to follow, step by step guide. Click the link below to order yours. It's important to note that most people with ADHD will not experience significant improvements in symptoms through dietary changes alone. However, for many people, making changes to their diet may be a helpful addition to other treatments such as medication, coaching and complementary therapies. If you are considering making changes to your diet to help manage ADHD symptoms, it's a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a registered nutritionist with specialist knowledge, who can help you develop a safe and effective plan.

I have created a Nutrition and Meal Planner for my clients with ADHD. The aim of the planner is to provide information, practical support and space to take away some of stress and overwhelm of deciding what to eat and allows you to personalise your own meal plans, grocery lists and favourite recipes. I have now made the planner available to purchase in my Etsy shop, the link can be found below.

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