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Speaking on the BBC Radio 5 Live Headliners podcast, Joe Wicks revealed that he believes that a surge in childhood ADHD diagnoses is linked to poor diets and Ultra Processed Foods (UPFs).

On the podcast, Joe, also known as The Body Coach, said that he believes that if he were a child in 2024, he likely would have been diagnosed with ADHD, and he believes his poor behaviour at school was directly linked to his diet at home.

He said: “Looking back now, there’s no doubt the food I was eating was directly linked to my behaviour. I was never diagnosed with ADHD but I think nowadays it’s this common thing that every child seems to be being diagnosed.

“And I think a lot of it can stem back to the diet and the foods that we’re eating.”

He elaborated that his diet as a child was, “Cereal for breakfast, concentrated juice from the milkman, Sunny Delight, Wagon Wheels, sandwiches just jam, Nutella, very little nutrients — pure sugar.”

The cookbook author voiced concerns on children’s diets

The coach, who has published 11 cookbooks which have collectively sold over 2 million copies, believes that the nation’s tendency to opt for convenience over fresh ingredients is harming children.

He said: ’The thing about them [UPFs] is we can eat so much, so fast, because they’re so palatable, we know these foods just taste amazing and we can consume so much of it.

“And then we’re taught this is what kids eat, kids need these snacks in their lunchbox, this is what they have for dinner. So, we’re kind of being confused and led down this path that adults have adult food and kids have kids menus and kids food.”

He added that he believes people are cooking less than ever and relying on processed foods, and said that kids are getting the energy “sucked out of them.”

The coach explained: “They’re struggling at school with focus, they’re gaining weight, and probably having really low energy crashes because these foods are just not going to give your children the energy they need to sustain a healthy day — a balanced level of energy.”

He also urged listeners to wean themselves off unhealthy foods and get in their kitchens to feel the benefits of healthy foods.

Leading ADHD charity issued a statement on his comments

In response to his comments, ADHD UK, a leading ADHD charity, released a statement.

It read: “It was really disappointing to hear Joe Wicks linking a processed food diet to having ADHD. Joe is a force for so much good but on this he is abjectly wrong. His core point that a good diet can help people in so many ways is absolutely correct. But a diet good, bad, or ugly won’t make you have ADHD or make you not have ADHD

“To suggest for ADHD that swapping sweets or [burgers] for a plate of veggies is all that is needed to “fix” someone with ADHD is both wrong and damaging. It’s misleading and undermines the very real difficulty of living with the life-long condition ADHD”

According to ADHD UK, there is no one cause of ADHD. It is considered to be a result of an often complex interplay between genetic and environmental factors – with genetic factors being responsible for 70%-80% of the probability.

HuffPost UK has contacted Joe Wicks’ team for comment.

Do you think you may suffer from ADHD and live in Florida, California or New York?

If so, please consider scheduling a proper virtual online ADHD and Anxiety diagnosis with one of our physicians. Although we have an online ADHD and Anxiety diagnosis tool, a proper diagnosis from a Board-Certified Medical Doctor will help you know for sure. If appropriate, a customized treatment program will be recommended at the conclusion of that initial visit.

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