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Autism and Diet - what are the effects? | The Essential Guide To Autism

Autism and Diet - what are the effects?

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Autism can be a particularly difficult condition to deal with as a parent. It involves making sacrifices, changing your lifestyle, and exploring a variety of methods that can help reduce the intense social anxiety that is linked to this condition.

One of the least recognized ways to deal with autism is through the adoption of a specialized diet. There is so much ongoing research into autism from the scientific and behavioral standpoint that dietary factors are sometimes overlooked or just ignored. In reality, however, some parents of autistic children have noticed a strong connection between autism and diet for many years. Today, there is a growing body of research that is starting to back up this observation.

This new way of thinking has led to the creation of the gluten and casein free diet. You may be wondering how gluten and casein affect children with autism? Researchers have discovered that some autistic people may have difficulty processing the proteins - gluten and casein. Gluten is found in wheat, barley, and oats and casein is a type of milk protein. What happens is that the breakdown of these foods in the body causes opiates to be produced, so in essence, children with autism can become addicted to foods containing these proteins. The result is that like an food allergy, behavior can be effected.

Take note of what your child chooses to eat. If your child constantly eats products containing dairy and wheat, then this can be a sign that there bodies are struggling to process these foods and therefore, they crave more. Of course, the child does not understand what is going on physically, he or she only realizes that eating such foods produces a pleasurable feeling.

There have been many reports of autistic children showing vast improvement after making wholesale dietary changes. This means getting away from products that contain gluten and casein. Of course, it is best to take away one source of food at a time to lessen the shock of change. Experts recommend removing dairy products first, and then forming a plan to introduce a totally gluten-free diet. It is important, as a parent of an autistic child, that you become a devout label-reader. Oftentimes, there are gluten and casein proteins that are not obvious! Planning a gluten and casein free diet is not an easy task. Fortunately, many autistic children come to enjoy their new diets in a short period of time and will actually begin to try different foods.

Planning out a proper diet is extremely important and it is probably a good idea for you to consult with a nutritionist. You may need to get certain vitamins for your child in order to make their diet healthy as well as reducing some of the symptoms of autism. Again, many vitamin products are actually made with gluten, so it is important to select products that do not include this protein. The best place to find these kinds of supplements are health and natural food stores. They usually have a tremendous selection of gluten and casein free products.

Many food products exist that are gluten and casein free. They are available at supermarkets, organic grocery stores, and other specialty locations. Some of the products are slightly more expensive than regular groceries of the same variety, but the difference in price can be worth it if your child’s behavior improves.

If you are skeptical about the affect of diet on autism it is completely understandable. But recent research has indicated that it is very likely food can affect behavior in autistic persons. Since these findings are relatively new, even your doctor might not be aware of the possible link. Eliminating these proteins from your child’s diet will not cause any damage or increase the symptoms of autism. There is no risk involved with trying a diet that could actually be incredibly effective in easing symptoms of autism.


Behavior Balance - DMG™ - A dietary supplement to support balanced behavior, social interactions, and to manage stress.
Special Diets for Special Kids, by Lisa Lewis
The GFCF Diet Support Group Information Website
The Gluten Free Pantry

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