Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Diet for Autistic Children

What Could a Gluten and Casein Free Diet Do For Your Autistic Child?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and triticale. These food products are used to produce most breads, cereals and grains. Dextrin, a common food additive used to stabilize and thicken foods, is often produced from gluten. Casein is a protein found in mammalian milk, making up 80% of the proteins in cow milk and between 60% and 65% of the proteins in human milk. It is medically accepted that those with celiac disease and wheat allergies should follow a gluten-free diet, and those with milk allergies should follow a casein-free diet; but what about children with autism? Should they follow a gluten and casein free diet?

Research has yet to show that a gluten and casein free diet (GFCF) can alleviate some of the systems of autism. Still, many parents and medical practitioners believe there may be something to the theory. In the early 1990s, the theory that autism could be caused or intensified by opioid peptides (metabolic products of gluten and casein) was formed. Several studies were performed, and support for the theory was supposedly found by some of these studies. However, many flaws were found in these studies causing the theory to lose its credibility in the medical field.  However, many testimonials exist stating the benefits of a gluten and casein free diet to autism symptoms; including social engagement and verbal communication.

Doctors and nutritionists who oppose the gluten and casein free diet argue that your child could potentially become deficient in calcium, Vitamin D and other important vitamins and minerals. For this reason, it is very important to seek the advice of a nutritionist before trying the gluten-free diet.
If your doctor or nutritionist gives you the green light to try out the diet, note that it will take your child’s body around one month to rid itself of casein and three to six months to rid itself of gluten; so results will not be seen for three to six months or longer. Remove and replace one food at a time. This will make it easier on you when learning new recipes and meals. Ask your family and friends to help you notice any changes in behavior and symptoms and schedule regular appointments with your nutritionist or doctor to monitor your child’s weight and nutritional health.
What products can your child eat? Rice, quinoa, potato, buckwheat flour, corn, fruit, oil, vegetables, beans, meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, nuts, eggs, sorghum, soy milk and soy cheese is the basic short list of gluten-free/casein-free (GFCF) products. Most supermarkets now have a “GFCF” section, and there have been several GFCF cookbooks written. Ask your nutritionist for a complete list of gluten-containing products and those foods that do not contain gluten. Better yet, ask your nutritionist to create a meal plan for your child.
Keep in mind that this diet requires a lot of work and may be difficult to maintain given the challenges. Due to possible nutrition deficiency, it is imperative that you consult with a nutritionist or doctor. Remember, there is a chance your child may experience no changes in behavior, but the possible benefits of the diet may be well worth the try.


  1. Kids can be given ragi (millet) if they are on the GFCF diet. It's full of calcium and probably much more healthier than the milk we get these days.
    Also most of the kids on the GFCF diet are allergic to soya so it would be better not to substitute dairy with soya.

    My niece who has asthma, was put on the GFCF diet for 5-6 months with amazing results!

  2. That was a good read n lot of good info. Thanks a lot for sharing.


  3. Nice post Shirley...
    Hoep you are having a wonderful week and thanks for this informative post :-)

  4. An excellent informative article!



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