The Number One Reason Why Your ADHD Child is Always Hungry? - Finally Calmed & Focused (2024)

Parents often ask “Why is my child always hungry?”

Or some kind of variations like, “he’s always asking for snack right after dinner? Or “waking up in the middle of the night binging on junk food,” Or “I find candy wrappers in her bedroom”.

People often wonder if ADHD affects appetite.

The answer is “yes” and “no”.

Yes because the dopamine reward center of the brain is messed up in ADHD. This reward center also regulates appetite and hunger. So, naturally, it is affecting appetite.

No because ADHD is not the only reason why your child’s appetite is whacked.

The answer is really simple.

In adults, we call it “cravings”. In kids, we call it “hungry” because that’s what your child always say, “mom, I’m hungry”.

We know when you have craving, your body is telling you something is missing, usually some kind of nutrients, but we always ended up eat junk food with empty calories, then we end up binging because our body did not get what it needs.

The way to look at this is really simple.

When we’re hungry, our body needs energy.

When we’re thirsty, our body needs hydration.

When we have cravings, our body needs nutrients.

Just that simple.

So when your child say, “mom, I’m hungry”. They are hungry for nutrients, things like vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

They’re not starving for energy, so giving them more goldfish crackers or granola bar will not help.

Some of you may even notice that your child craves salt as well. That’s definitely a sign of mineral deficiency.

In fact, nutrient deficiencies are very common in children with ADHD. This’s been proven by scientists over and over again. The most common nutrient deficiencies in children with ADHD are magnesium, zinc, iron, vitamin D, vitamin Bs and omega-3 fatty acids.

There are 2 main underlying causes for nutrient deficiencies in children with ADHD making them always hungry and always asking for or sneaking food.

1. Poor food choices.

This comes no surprise because everyday I see parents trying their best to give their children what they think is the best. But what I see is they’re feeding them what food manufacturers think is best for their families.

Every kid that I see, their snacks include a repertoire of processed crackers, cookies, chips, puffs, cakes, candies, chocolates, fruit snacks, sugar-loaded yogurt. Breakfast are always sugary cereals, poptarts, granola, and bagels. Lunch and dinner are usually chicken nuggets, hot dog, pizza, etc.

Where are the real foods? What vitamins and minerals do you get from these food?

These are so-called “kid food” or “kid-friendly food”. Why do kids have to have their own food like dog food and cat food? Shouldn’t kids be eating the same human food as their parents?

I know these parents are trying their best to feed their families.

But these food are cheap, convenient, “fun”, “kid-friendly” and “healthy” according to the TV commercials.

Do you really know what’s in these food? How much does these food affect your child’s ADHD symptoms?

You get the idea?

Besides many of these processed food are loaded with processed sugar and high fructose corn syrup, which the ADHD brain has difficulty processing. When the ADHD brain is fed a carb-loaded diet and cannot use their sugar for energy, it sends distress signals to the body that it’s starving.

2. Poor Digestion

This is a little more complicated concept. Most people assume everything that we eat are 100% broken down into the basic units of amino acids, glucose, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.

But the digestion process is quite complicated and for many people, especially kids with ADHD, this process is not smooth.

When food you eat are not properly broken down, our body cannot pull the nutrients from the food.

When food are not being digested properly, it can actually hurt the intestine and create tiny little holes, where undigested food can end up in our blood stream and trigger allergic reaction and inflammation.

For some kids, the allergic reaction and inflammation caused by poorly digested food one of the many causes behind their lack of focus (brain fog in adult term), hyperactivity (restlessness) and mood swings.

Poorly digested food also changes the intestinal environment causing gut bacteria imbalance.

Poor digestion can also be caused by nutrient deficiency. Your body needs a lot of different nutrients to make stomach acid, and digestive enzyme to break down food.

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The Number One Reason Why Your ADHD Child is Always Hungry? - Finally Calmed & Focused (2024)

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