Tuesday, 16 September 2014

The 'Autism Diet' and Oats

Gluten-free casein-free diet or GFCF is the most popular alternative treatment for autism. Many doctors are still cautious as it hasn’t been proved yet but still it may help your child says Sally Kuzemchak, RD mother of three and star in a reality show- The Real Housewives of New Jersey’ star’s son Nicholas was diagnosed with autism. The treatment regime includes dairy-free, gluten-free diet which is believed to reduce behavioral effects of autism.

Strict Elimination

Two proteins casein and gluten are removed by GFCF diet. Milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, most breads, cereals, and pasta contain casein and gluten which should be avoided. Most processed foods like hot dogs, lunch meat, bottled salad dressings, jarred sauces contain ingredients made from gluten or casein. So examine labels and ingredients before buying. To get the benefit of GFCF diet, gluten and casein protein based foods are to be removed for good. According to a survey kids who default routine for just even a day show slower pace of improvement.

Research is mixed -- but promising

According to a research conducted, there was no evidence to support GFCF diet but some findings support it. In a study conducted on children aged 4-11, some kids showed improvements between 8, 12 and 24 months on a GFCF diet. 400 kids with autism were surveyed by researchers at Penn State who found that the diet improved symptoms like hyperactivity, temper tantrums, problems with eye contact and speech skills, and physical ailments such as skin rashes and seizures for certain groups of children. Those who didn’t divert from the routine showed the most improvements.

No one knows for sure how it helps

Children with autism have greater intestinal permeability, or "leaky guts and are unable to break down casein or gluten. The undigested part then leaks through the intestinal wall and then to the bloodstream. The protein then reaches the brain and affects behavior, speech and social skills. Another theory suggests that children with autism suffer from pain and discomfort due to intolerance towards gluten and casein. Another theory suggests that a protein free diet help kids feel and sleep better and be more alert, get more out of therapies, and make greater progress.

Is Oats good for an ‘Autistic Diet”?

The protocol of GFCF diet is to remove casein and gluten protein from the diet. Casein is found in all milk and milk products and gluten is found in wheat, rye, barley and some brands of oats. A good uncontaminated oats that is not contaminated from wheat, rye or barley and displays
< 3ppm on the nutritional panel, results from independent testing can add good nutrition to this child’s diet.

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