Autism is a complex and mysterious disorder, affecting an average of 1 in 110 children in America, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states. There are theories surrounding possible treatments for autism, but none have been scientifically substantiated. Treating autism with diet modification, namely the gluten-free, casein-free, or GFCF diet, is a promising choice, according to some parents who've claimed success with it.
Bread, oatmeal and pasta are just some foods that contain gluten. Removing gluten from the diet of an autistic child is essential to implementing the GFCF diet. Gluten is believed to be metabolized differently in autistic children, amplifying or even causing autistic symptoms, according to Talk About Curing Autism, or TACA. Gluten is commonly known to be present in wheat, rye, barley, oats and millet, but it's often a hidden ingredient in many products, too. According to the Children's Digestive Health and Nutrition Foundation, beware of luncheon meat, prescription medications and even lipstick as overlooked sources of gluten.
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A protein found in dairy products, casein is present in foods like milk, cheese, butter and yogurt. The autism advocacy group TACA cautions not to be fooled by labels reading "dairy-free" or "lactose-free" to mean the foods don't contain casein. Instead, reading food ingredient labels carefully is advised. Hidden sources of casein include hot dogs, lunch meat and sausage. Because dairy products contain a lot of calcium, taking a calcium supplement is highly recommended, best with the supervision of a doctor.
Soy manufactured in America is often genetically modified and is considered a considerable allergen and possible trigger for autism symptoms, TACA states. There are no scientific studies showing a link between autism and soy intake, but TACA recommends removing soy from the diets of autistic children. Food items to be wary of include soy sauce, soy oil and tofu. Some hidden sources of soy include bulking agents in foods such as guar gum and frozen veggie burgers.