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Autism and Diet

Submitted by Loring A. Windblad on July 9, 2010

Gluten is found in wheat, casein in dairy products. A diet totally free of wheat and dairy products is a gluten free casein free diet (GCFC). The GCFC diet is based on the theory that autistic children are allergic to or highly sensitive to certain foods and they process foods with gluten and casein differently when compared to other people.

Research has shown that the diet helps to alleviate the symptoms of autism such as speech problems, lack of focus and impulsive behavior. Certain autism experts believe that one of the causes of autism is the chemical by products of casein and gluten.

The jury is still out on this but many parents and doctors state that children/patients have shown a marked improvement once this diet is started. Both gluten and casein are proteins. Gluten and casein are like poison for an Autistic child.

They affect the brains of such children. Recent studies have established that there are certain foods that affect the brains of children and cause autistic behavior. This is because several children are unable to break down certain proteins.

The gluten and casein free diet is a difficult one to follow. It is not as simple as eliminating just bread and milk from a child’s diet. Gluten is also found in oats, rye, barley, wheat, soy sauce, natural flavorings, vegetable/plant proteins, grain vinegar, malt wash and malt grain starches among other foods.

Gluten is even found in many hygienic products and even PlayDoh. Casein is found in milk and milk products from mammals. Following a GCFC diet is expensive. Such foods are difficult to find and are often only available in online stores or specialty stores. Keep in mind that this diet may not affect every child and the same effects may not be seen in each child. It is best to try it out for at least 6 weeks if you wish to see results. Ensure that all gluten and casein products are eliminated from the diet. Even small traces of either will set the child back. You can start by eliminating all gluten products first and then all casein products.

Special Diets for Special Kids is a book written by Lisa Lewis. It contains practical information on choosing a special diet, the reasons behind it and offers over 150 tasty recipes too. Many parents have reported that following a GCFC diet for their autistic children has helped them a great deal.

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