Feingold Diet and Autism Ranking: No evidence

Aims and Claims


According to the Feingold Association of the United States website, accessed on 2 July 2013, The aim of the Feingold Diet is to “determine if certain foods or food additives are triggering particular symptoms” and then to manage those symptoms by excluding those foods or food additives from the diet.

Some researchers have suggested that the Feingold diet, like other diets which exclude certain foodstuffs, may work because some people, including some people on the autism spectrum, are allergic to those foodstuffs.  For example, according to De Theije et al (2014),

“Based on clinical and preclinical observations, it seems feasible to hypothesize that allergic reactions to foods indeed trigger or worsen the manifestation of neurodevelopmental disorders in at least a subset of patients. In children with ASD, these allergic reactions could be both IgE as non-IgE-mediated, while in ADHD, it is more likely that non-IgE-mediated, cell-mediated, or non-allergic responses to foods are involved. We hypothesize that both prenatal and postnatal allergic immune activation regulate complex, but critical, neuroimmune interactions and therefore affect neurodevelopment and brain function. “

Please note:  

  • IgE antibodies are found in the lungs, skin, and mucous membranes. They cause the body to react against foreign substances such as pollen, fungus spores, and animal dander. They are involved in allergic reactions to milk, some medicines, and some poisons. IgE antibody levels are often high in people with allergies.
  • IgE antibodies and reactions occur to proteins in foods, whereas the additives and salicylates avoided in the Feingold diet are not proteins.


According to the Feingold Association of the United States website, accessed on 2 July 2013, the Feingold program can help with behaviour, learning and health problems.

Behaviour problems include marked hyperactivity, impulsive actions, compulsive actions, and emotional concerns.

Learning problems include short attention span, neuro muscular involvement, cognitive and perceptual disturbances.

Health problems include frequent physical complaints and sleep problems.

It also claims a success rate for families following the diet correctly at over 80%.

01 Nov 2017
Last Review
01 Sep 2017
Next Review
01 Sep 2020