GLUTEN FREE CASEIN FREE DIET
Q: Should my child try the GFCF Diet?
A: Yes, for many children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder the GFCF diet is an effective elimination diet to help improve their behavior, gastrointestinal, and autistic symptoms.
Q: Do all children with autism benefit from the GFCF Diet?
A: No, the GFCF Diet does not help all children with autism. A large percentage of children with autism are “positive responders”, which means they experience symptom improvement on the GFCF Diet; a “nonresponder” does not.
Q: What kind of improvements can I expect to see if my child is a positive responder to the GFCF Diet?
A: According to reports from parents and anecdotal-based research, benefits of the GFCF diet include the following:
- Relieves gastrointestinal symptoms
- Helps child pass normal, formed stools
- Decreases hyperactivity
- Increases focus
- Reduces behavioral problems
- Improves speech and communication skills
- Improves sleep
Q: I heard that my child has to be on the GFCF Diet for at least one year before it is fully effective and see positive results, is this true?
A: No, I recommend parents commit to follow the GFCF Diet for at least three months. During this three month period, it is important to have 100% compliance which enables a better determination if the diet is helpful or not. If it is determined that the GFCF Diet is helpful, the child is a positive responder and continues the diet.
Q: Is it true that when my child starts the GFCF Diet he will get worse before he gets better?
A: Yes, the child’s behavior may worsen because he is no longer getting his favorite foods containing gluten and casein. This behavior regression is temporary and typically improves with time.
Q: How can my child go on a GFCF Diet when he already refuses most foods and the few foods he does eat contain wheat and milk?
A: That is a very legitimate concern. Children with autism tend to have Sensory Processing Disorder which makes it very difficult to handle any type of change especially acceptance of new foods. The child may refuse to eat because the new gluten and casein free foods have a different texture, color or taste.
In my next blog post I will discuss how to transition your child into the GFCF Diet, expand the diet, and avoid nutritional deficiencies.