What you feed your children can affect their behavior, doctor says

NEW YORK — Before you sit down with your child for their next meal, you may want to reconsider what you put on their plate. Dr. Robert Melillo, co-founder of Brain Balance Achievement Centers, says diet plays a major role in controlling behavioral and learning disabilities in children.

He suggests limiting refined sugars and to avoid ingredients like sucrose and high fructose corn syrup. Sugary sports drinks and artificial ingredients can also be added to that no-no list.

“In particular aspartame, because it literally affects glutamate. Glutamate is the No. 1 excitatory transmitter in the brain,” Melillo said, adding that it can excite certain areas of the brain more than others, causing an imbalance.

“When the brain is out of balance, the digestive system is out of balance and the immune system is out of balance, and that leads to the leaky gut.”

Melillo said the two hardest proteins for the body to digest is gluten from wheat and casein from dairy, yet it makes up 80 percent of the American diet.

His book, “The Disconnected Kids Nutrition Plan” includes many tips and recipes for enhancing learning and focus in children.