It is common sense that what you eat has an impact on how you feel and behave. When you eat nothing but junk food, you often feel sick and don’t have the energy to do anything but lay on the couch. For children with autism, some parents have seen a difference in the way their children behave when they follow particular diets. While you cannot “cure” autism with a special diet, you can make certain choices that could help your child with certain behaviors. One popular diet for autistic children is a gluten-free, casein-free diet, or the GFCF diet.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, as well as other grains like oats and barley. Casein is a protein found in dairy products like milk and cheese. Some research has shown that these proteins are typically highly immune-reactive in children with autism, which may aggravate behavioral problems and disturb their GI tract. Following the GFCF diet has proven effective for some children with autism. To see if this diet is effective for your child, you may attempt an elimination diet, in which you eliminate gluten and casein for your child’s diet for a few weeks to see if their symptoms improve.
Again, there is no cure for autism, and a special diet will not necessarily help your child’s behavior. However, some research and many parents seem to see a link between diet and behavior, and it could be worth a try with your child. Regardless of the diet your child follows, it is important to make sure the food they consume is nutritionally balanced.
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