A new report from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in 88 kids has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. With boys, the frequency may be as high as one in 54. Many parents turn to experimental autism treatments and autism diets. Research has not shown any one diet to treat autism, but individual accounts suggest that some parents have seen results. You know your child best and have the best chance of evaluating results one way or another.
The gluten-free/casein-free (GFCF) diet is one of the most popular autism diets. Whether or not a child has a casein or gluten allergy, parents often decide to eliminate those proteins entirely. The GFCF diet is a big commitment, especially for children who may already be picky eaters with a limited selection of favorite foods. Gluten is found in most grain products, such as bread, and casein is found in dairy as well as other products. It’s important to read labels carefully when embarking on the GFCF diet.
Research ingredients carefully to avoid accidental exposure to gluten and casein. It can be difficult to find packaged foods that don’t contain traces of casein or gluten. Try making meals at home as often as possible with gluten-free/casein-free recipes and call ahead when dining out and ask if the restaurant offers GFCF menu items.
Remember, the GFCF diet is considered an experimental therapy. If you try it, make careful note of your child’s progress. Always let your child’s doctor know you’re trying an elimination diet, and consider talking to a nutritionist about getting a balanced diet without foods that contain gluten or casein. To learn more about autism awareness, visit Where the Other Sock Went, a partnership between Autism Speaks and SheKnows.
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