Autism is a communication disorder that is prevalent among children, leaving many parents desperate for a solution. One in every 150 children born in the United States will be diagnosed with autism or one of its related disorders. If your child has autism, you may find that you can alleviate his symptoms through dietary modification. While not all agree as to the effectiveness of this approach, some parents of autistic children argue that simple dietary changes have helped their child.
While it may not seem that something as simple as a dietary change could have an impact on a disorder as severe as autism, some contend that eliminating certain foods could do just that. The thought behind the diet modification push is that children who suffer from autism lack certain enzymes in their digestive tracts and, as a result, can’t digest certain foods. Those who argue for this diet contend that removing the indigestible substances from the child’s diet will then reduce autism symptoms, because these symptoms are a direct result of the buildup of the indigestible elements, reports WebMD.
Some who argue for the autism diet contend that parents should leave gluten off their autistic kid’s plate. Gluten is a protein found in wheat and similar grain-based substances. This protein is also found in starches as well as artificial colors and flavorings. Many natural food makers now offer gluten-free options for parents who want to remove this substance from their child’s diet.
Keep Casein Out
Casein is another protein commonly blamed for autism symptoms. It is found in milk products, such as cheese, ice cream and butter. Many man-made non-milk products, such as hot dogs and soy products, also contain trace amounts of casein.
The Jury is Out
While proponents argue that the symptoms of autism can be alleviated with dietary modification, others argue that that is not the case. Contenders say the studies that claim the dietary modifications work are flawed. As WedMD reports, numerous independent studies have been conducted on the impact of autism symptom-reducing diets and found that dietary modifications were not effective in alleviating symptoms.
If you are a parent of an autistic child, you are likely left wondering which camp to join. While you would certainly love to believe that there is something you can do to help your child overcome his problems, the evidence against autism-related dietary modifications is compelling. While deciding whether to buy into the diet modifications is certainly challenging, it is important to remember that the dietary changes won’t hurt your child. As ABC News reports, it may be worth a try if you find yourself desperate for a solution to your child’s autism.