Many swear that a change of diet can help manage autism and other autism spectrum disorders. And it’s not just autism that can be improved with a change of diet. A lot of different kinds of disorders seems to be positively affected by cutting out certain types of food. The most popular diet seems to be the GFCF-diet, which stands for Gluten-free and Casein-Free diet. It basically means you should cut food that contains these two kinds of protein. Cause that is exactly what gluten and casein is – protein. Gluten is a protein that can be found in most grains including wheat, rye and barley, while casein is a protein in dairy products. This means that in order to avoid the two types of protein, you have to avoid some pretty basic food types such as bread, pasta, milk, cheese and baked goods.
While many parents have reported that their child’s behaviour has improved since changing the diet, there isn’t a 100 % clear evidence that it’s true. This study found that the 20 children who participated in the study changed significantly in their behaviour over the year they were on a GFCF-diet, while this one shows that the diet has no effect at all. Either way, I don’t think there is a harm in trying the diet and see how it works for your child. It is important to remember that the diet does not work every child and to have patience when trying out the diet. For some it takes up to a year to see an improvement.
Another alternative treatment that parents sometimes opt for is Omgea-3 fatty acid. The good fat, which can be found in fish or in pill form, is suppose to have a positive effect on brain development and function. However, it has not been proven that the omega-3s has an impact on behavioural problems.
If you do decide to put you child on the GFCF-diet, make sure to consult with you GP or a nutritionist or dietician to make sure that your child still gets the right amount of vitamins and minerals to secure normal growth and wellbeing.