Salicylate elimination diets in children: is food restriction supported by the evidence?

Joan C Breakey
Med J Aust 2013; 199 (7): . || doi: 10.5694/mja13.10896
Published online: 7 October 2013

To the Editor: I am concerned that the recent articles on salicylate diets in the Journal1,2 may be seen as a current position statement on the usefulness of a low-chemical elimination diet. An elderly psychiatrist colleague said in 1976, “In 20 years time many parents will not be giving their children red cordial but scientists will still be discussing the issue!” The discussion continues, not because diet has no role, but because the issue is complex. One meta-analysis cited by both Gray and colleagues and Loblay and colleagues implicates artificial food additives;3 another meta-analysis also implicates additives, but also supports a few-foods diet.4

  • Brisbane, QLD.


Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

  • 1. Gray PEA, Mehr S, Katelaris CH, et al. Salicylate elimination diets in children: is food restriction supported by the evidence? Med J Aust 2013; 198: 600-602. <MJA full text>
  • 2. Loblay RH, Soutter VL, Swain AR. Salicylate elimination diets in children. Med J Aust 2013; 198: 603. <MJA full text>
  • 3. Schab DW, Trinh NH. Do artificial colours promote hyperactivity in children with hyperactive syndromes? A meta-analysis of double-blind placebo-controlled trials. J Dev Behav Pediatr 2004; 25: 423-434.
  • 4. Nigg JT, Lewis K, Edinger T, Falk M. Meta-analysis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms, restriction diets, and synthetic food color additives. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 2012; 51: 86-97.e8.
  • 5. Breakey J. The role of diet and behaviour in childhood. J Paediatr Child Health 1997; 33: 190-194.
  • 6. Breakey J, Hill M, Reilly C, Connell H. A report on a trial of the low additive, low salicylate diet in the treatment of behaviour and learning problems in children. Aust J Nutr Diet 1991; 48: 89-94.


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