Guest Post: Dietary Considerations for Autistic Children- Part II

NutritionAustimAutism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that affects children’s ability to communicate, understand the feelings of others and creates social anxieties.

Studies show that certain diets can help alleviate ASD symptoms. There are an abundance of diets that have been known to help reduce these symptoms, however, recently the most popular one is the gluten and casein free diet, also known as the GCFC diet.

“Autism Research Institute (ARI) surveyed thousands of parents and found that’s 69% of those applying the GCFC diet saw improvement” (Kawicka and Regulska-Ilow, 2013) when implementing this diet, it is crucial to remove all foods with gluten (barley, rye, wheat) and casein (dairy and milk products). The benefits of the gluten and casein free diet come from the concept that ASD children may have food sensitivities, similar to that of an allergy, in foods that have gluten and casein in them. Children, who have ASD, according to this concept, digest proteins differently than children who do not have ASD. Theoretically, the difficulty in digestion of these proteins may enhance autistic symptoms. The brain therefore does not process this intake of proteins the way it normally would and this causes the behavior of the child to fluctuate (Williams, 2013). Gluten and casein free diets is said to alleviate these reactions and increase better communication and social behaviors.

It is suggested that additional dietary recommendations that help relieve ASD symptoms include increased levels of omega 3 fats, certain vitamins and minerals.

Since it is known that some autistic children have an “enzymatic defect that removes essential fats from brain cell membranes more quickly than it should” it is important to provide an ASD child with higher intakes of omega 3 fats (ASD and Diets, 2016). Increasing the intake of these essential fats, as well as the inclusion of certain vitamins and minerals will help improve the child’s overall behavior, sleep patterns and social communication skills.

Guidance from a qualified dietitian is always recommended to ensure that the child is taking in all of the proper nutrients during a specific diet. Contact Nutrition CPR to learn more.

SGGuest Post by Sidney Gleason

Sidney is a junior at Lynchburg College and a Health Promotions major. She is a member of the women’s lacrosse team and has a younger brother with Autism. Her sibling bond is the reason for her interest in the correlation between nutrition and the behavior of children with ASD. Sidney will be writing 2 more articles on autism and diet this summer for Nutrition CPR!

 

 

References

Williams, K. (2013). How helpful is the casein-gluten-free diet? Retrieved August 6, 2016, from https://www.autismspeaks.org/node/112986
Kawicka, A., Regulska-Ilow, B. (2013). How Nutritional Status, Diet and Dietary Supplements can Affect Autism. A Review. 1-12. Retrieved August 6, 2016, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23789306
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and Diet. (2016). Retrieved August 6, 2016, from http://www.eatright.org/resource/health/diseases-and-conditions/autism/autism-spectrum-disorders-asd-and-diet
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Guest Post: Dietary Considerations for Autistic Children

NutritionAustimBy: Sidney Gleason

There is much more than meets the eye when dealing with autism and children. Actually, most of what is considered an autistic symptom is completely underneath the surface of physical features and deals particularly with social skills, understanding the feelings of others, visual misperceptions and anxiety (Williams, 2011).

Growing up with a little brother, who has autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, makes nutrition and eating properly a priority in our household. What we have noticed over the years is that the less additives and preservatives in the food, the better. It is known that most autistic children have specific food sensitivities that can affect them negatively and cause unpleasant behavioral reactions (Autism Spectrum Disorder and Diet, 2016). My mother compares the food sensitivities of autistic children to that of an allergic reaction in which there is physical reaction, however, they cause frequent mental breakdowns, poor social skills and unwanted temper tantrums.

Most autistic children suffer from metabolic and digestive problems. These issues can lead to essential nutrients not being fully absorbed in the small intestines and therefore not being transferred to the brain in full amounts that in return can cause the problematic reactions (ASD and Diet, 2016).

Nutrition plays a significant role in helping reduce the symptoms of autism in children. (Kawicka and Regulska-Ilow, 2016). Some diet recommendations include: gluten free, casein free and the specific carbohydrate diet. All of the “autism diets” include the removal of the foods causing the negative reactions and the addition of foods easier for them to digest.

There are some simple ways to get started on one of these diets. Begin by removing all non-organic foods with antibiotics, pesticides and hormones and replacing them with organic products (Kawicka and Regulska-Ilow, 2016) Choose organic produce and implement more naturally fed protein options such as: grass fed meats, free-range chickens and wild caught fish. At minimum, choose hormone and antibiotic free animal products. Be conscious of the pre-packaged items bought in stores and how often they contain additives, preservatives, food dyes, gluten and casein that can exacerbate symptoms of autism.

Guidance from a qualified dietitian is recommended to ensure optimal nutrition. Contact Nutrition CPR today for a consult. info@nutritioncpr.com

SGSidney is a junior at Lynchburg College and a Health Promotions major.  She is  a member of the women’s lacrosse team and has a younger brother with Autism.  Her sibling bond is the reason for her interest in the correlation between nutrition and the behavior of children with ASD.  Sidney will be writing 2 more articles on autism and diet this summer for Nutrition CPR! 

 

References
Williams, B. L. (2011). About autism. Retrieved June 10, 2016, from http://www.foodforthebrain.org/nutrition-solutions/autism/about-autism.aspx
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and Diet. (2016). Retrieved June 10, 2016, from http://www.eatright.org/resource/health/diseases-and-conditions/autism/autism-spectrum-disorders-asd-and-diet
Kawicka, A., Regulska-Ilow, B. (2013). How Nutritional Status, Diet and Dietary Supplements can Affect Autism. A Review. 1-12. Retrieved June 10, 2016, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23789306
Posted in Weekly Nutrition Posts | Comments Off on Guest Post: Dietary Considerations for Autistic Children