Many doctors agree that the foods we eat can have a negative or positive effect on our health. There are positive reports that the symptoms of autism in children can be controlled by proper diet. Reports from some parents show that they see a significant difference in the behavior of their child since changing to a gluten and casein-free diet.
Autistic children have trouble digesting gluten and casein because of the inability to digest the peptides contained in these two substances. Many autistic children have a high absorption rate of peptides. Eliminating gluten and casein from your child’s diet, will help the process of breaking down peptides and aid digestion. A doctor can perform a simple urine test to determine the rate of peptides in your child.
To most autistic children, gluten and casein act like opiates and they can be very addictive. They leak into the gut, undigested, and attach to the opiate receptors of the autistic’s brain.
Gluten is found in wheat and other grains, including oats, rye, barley, bulgur, durum and spelt. They are the grains used in most manufactured food products. Gluten is also in food starches, semolina, couscous, malt, some vinegars, soy sauce, flavorings, artificial colors and hydrolyzed vegetable proteins.
Casein is a protein in milk and all dairy products, including cheese, butter, yogurt, ice cream, whey, some margarines and it may be added to non-milk products such as soy cheese and hot dogs.
Reading labels is very important, and there are many products on the grocery shelf that are gluten free. Read the labels carefully on all products to avoid gluten and casein.
Seek the advice of a nutritionist or your child’s doctor before making any major dietary changes. The best method of safely removing gluten and casein from the diet is to gradually reduce the amounts of breads, grains, and milk products that contain them until they are completely eliminated from the diet.
Your child may reject some of these dietary changes at first and there may be a short “withdrawal” reaction, but as they begin to feel healthier they will easily adapt to the new diet.
Autistic children have shown improvements in speech and behavior after the gluten and casein were removed from their diet and many parents have reported that there were less episodes of diarrhea and loose stools since starting their child on a gluten-free, casein-free diet.
Sources: glutenfreemall.com, autismweb.com/diet.htm