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Is The Gluten/Casein-Free Diet Right For Your Child?

A Strict Diet Can Have Some Noticeable Effects


Here at Autism Home Support Services, we want all of our Northville, Michigan clients to have as many resources as possible when it comes to finding effective methods to help their child with autism lead a productive and healthy life. While we strongly feel that applied behavior analysis therapy is an effective therapy method for children with autism, recent studies have suggested that a diet free of gluten and casein can also deliver beneficial results. In today’s post, we are going to go over the GFCF diet in more detail so that you, the parent, can make a more informed decision when it comes to your child.


The GFCF Diet: What is it?


Originally developed to help those individuals who suffer from celiac disease, the GFCF (gluten free casein free) diet requires individuals to avoid foods that may have an unintended inflammatory effect on their GI tract. In relation to autism, the theory is that if a child is having GI responses to these products, it could lead to inflammation of their intestinal lining. This inflammation leads to the intestines absorbing molecules from food that are not meant to be absorbed by healthy intestines. While this is not normally a huge issue, for those with autism it can quickly turn into a big problem. Recent evidence suggests that these unwanted molecules, when absorbed through an unhealthy intestinal tract, can interact with the brain in unintended ways. These interactions can lead to anxiety, mood swings, difficulty with mental processing, and the worsening of behavioral symptoms of those with autism.


Should I Try the GFCF Diet For My Child?


This questions is rather hard to say yes or no to, as it is largely dependent upon each individual. While some parents swear by GFCF diet, others have noted that they have seen no real improvement in their child. However, if your child has gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea or constipation, the GFCF diet may be worth considering. While switching to the GFCF diet might not instantly provide the desired behavioral results, decreasing the amount of discomfort that your child is in on a daily basis can have real results regarding how they behave. While your child may not have a true case of celiac disease, it has been shown that certain individuals of the population are more prone to intestinal inflammation in reaction to gluten in their diet. In summation, while your child might not be absorbing the “wrong” kinds of food molecules, leading them to exhibit behavioral issues, increasing their GI comfort will put them in a better overall mood.


How Long Should my Child Stay on the GFCF Diet?


Again, this is a tricky question to answer because the results of being placed on a GFCF Diet can vary so greatly from child to child. To try and answer this question, we here at Autism Home Support Services in Northville, Michigan suggest that you first need to determine what you are trying to accomplish through the use of the GFCF diet. If you are hoping to relieve your child’s unwanted gastrointestinal issues, such as diarrhea and constipation, then we highly suggest that you give this diet a try. However, we strongly recommend that you establish a baseline before you put your child on a GFCF diet. Too often parents put their child on a GFCF diet without tracking the symptoms before they put their child on the diet. This misstep results in parents and doctors not really knowing whether or not the diet is effective in relieving their GI issues. For example, if your child is experiencing diarrhea 5 times a week but after being placed on the GFCF diet they only experience it 2 times a week, it can be reasonably assumed that the diet is having a positive effect. However, if you never kept track of your child’s GI issues before placing them on the diet, it can be difficult to determine whether or not the GFCF diet is working.


If you wish to learn more about placing your child on the GFCF diet to see if it improves their overall GI health, or to see if it is has any effect on their behavior, our experts at Autism Home Support Services will help you come up with a proper plan to present to your child’s physician.

It is our mission to provide the best applied behavioral analysis therapy to the Northville, Michigan area to help those with autism, lead a happy and productive life. To learn more about our services, visit our website or contact our facility today.

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