young child preparing ingredients with mother and sister
Diya Patel

Understanding Gluten-Free/Casein-Free Diets

Gluten and Casein free (GFCF) diets are very common within the Autism community. Many people believe that it can help with managing symptoms or behaviors of ASD. Although there is no researched proof of a direct causation, there are benefits that many people see when implementing this restriction diet.  

Keep in mind that these diets are best done under supervision of a medical professional. Tests can be done to ensure the necessity of this diet in your child’s life. Their advice is what is best for your child and this is a resource to understand the prominence of this diet in the community.  

Gluten is a substance found commonly in many wheat-based products, like bread and cereal. Casein is a protein found in most mammalian milks, specifically in human and cow milk. These two protein structures can have negative effects on those with many Gastrointestinal (GI) issues; prominently with people with celiac disease and the lactose intolerant.

The UC Davis MIND institute did find a correlation with autism and GI issues. These diets can be helpful when addressing any digestive problems and determining what foods cause irritation for your child.  

The GFCF diet is relatively difficult, because of the prominence of dairy and gluten in the American diet. There are many resources available on the internet, and there is a list below of resources when starting this new lifestyle change.  

If you have concerns about your child’s digestive health, contact your child’s physician first. Comment below if you have any advice or personal stories to share! 

Resources for starting a GFCF diet:  

  • https://www.childrensmn.org/educationmaterials/childrensmn/article/15864/gluten-free-casein-free-diet-for-autism-spectrum-disorder/ 
  • https://www.eatright.org/health/diseases-and-conditions/autism/nutrition-for-your-child-with-autism-spectrum-disorder-asd 
  • https://autismawarenesscentre.com/like-start-gfcf-diet-child-autism-begin/ 

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