The Gluten-Casein Free Diet for Autistic Children

Bread and MilkA few weeks back, I discussed how gluten can cause behavioral disorders in children who are incapable of digesting it. Many parents have also found that removing Gluten from their Autistic child’s diet has been very beneficial. The same goes for Casein (dairy).

How does one go about removing this from a child’s diet? It’s unfortunately not as simple as cutting out just bread and milk. Carol Ann Brannon, who focuses on specialized diets for Autistic children notes that gluten can not only be consumed via food, but also through the skin:

    “Gluten is found in wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelt, and any derivatives of these grains, including, but not limited to malt grain-starches, malt wash, hydrolyzed vegetable/plant proteins, grain vinegar, soy sauce, and natural flavorings. Casein is found in milk and milk products from mammals….Gluten is in even in Play-Doh, adhesive on stamps and stickers, and many hygiene products. Soy, another common food allergen, is in many foods and hand lotions, make-up, etc.”

Starting the diet is always the toughest part. Should you go cold-turkey; cutting out all bread and dairy products all at once? Or should you slowly omit these foods from your child’s diet? Some parents choose to completely cut out all Gluten and Casein all at once. It is also common that parents and other non-autistic children in the family will feel the benefits of the diet as well. Other parents choose to cut the gluten out of their diets first, and then move on the milk products.

If your child is on the GFCF (Gluten-Free Casein-Free) diet, what CAN they eat? It seems that living without bread and milk takes the majority of food choices away.

“Children can eat a wide variety of meat, chicken, eggs, fruits, and vegetables -– anything that does not contain wheat gluten or casein. It is generally recommended that organic, whole GFCF foods be consumed whenever possible.”

It is very important to share your child’s diet with family, friends, doctors, etc. so that they are all aware of such changes. Even a small amount of bread or dairy could have an effect on your child. Also, make a habit of reading food labels and taking note to all of the ingredients.

Comments

  1. Leigh Reece says

    I have a 7 year old with autism that want eat anything but dry cerral and chips and that is it,what can I do?

  2. Dr najeh Alomari says

    please let us know more about what food we can give our child,he is on GFCF diet and supplicants according to DAN protocol

    Thanks

    Dr Najeh Alomari

  3. admin says

    Leigh –

    There are Gluten-Free chips that are available at whole-food stores. Do you have any of those stores locally?

  4. D Balasubramaniam says

    My son is 7 years old with Autism. We have stopped all the Wheat and Milk products ( GFCF diet), as advised by his therapist. We found that it has a very good affect on him. He has shown a appreciable change in his behaviour and slight improvement in his communication.

  5. aamir aziz says

    I HAVE A DAUGHTER WHO IS SIX YEARS OLD AND SHE IS AUTISTIC.SHE IS UNDER TREATMENT IN THE CLINICAL PSYCOLOGICAL DEPARTMENT IN PUNJAB UNIVERSITY LAHORE PAKISTAN.AT THE MOMENT HER MAJOR PROBLEM IS THE SPEECH PROBLEM. SHE IS UNABLE TO SPEAK.SHE CAN LISTEN.SHE IS ATTRACTED TO TELIVISION ADDS AND THE VOICE OF WRAPPERS OF SWEETS.SHE LIKES DAIRY PRODUCTS LIKE MILK CHOCOLATES.ETC.PLEASE SUGGEST ME WHAT FOODS SHOULD I GIVE TO MY DAUGHTERS. AS I BELONG TO A COUNTRY WHERE AUTISM IS VERY RARE,PLEASE TELL ME THE PLACE OF AVAILABILITY OF VARIOUS FOODS/ CERAELS FOR AUTISTIC CHILDREN IN LAHORE PAKISTAN.AS YOU KNOW THAT I BELONG TO A POOR COUNTRY AND I CANNOT AFFORD EXPENSIVE CEREALS PLEASE MENTION COST EFFECTIVE AND EASILY AVAILABLE FOOD MATERIALS

  6. aamir aziz says

    PLEASE GUIDE ME ABOUT ABOUT THE FOOD FOR MY SIX YEAR OLD AUTISTIC DAUGHTER

  7. Philip says

    I can understand your confusion Leigh, my 6 year old son has ADHD and is mainly fed by dairy products and cerials! He won’t/doesn’t like anything else and we have tried EVERYTHING to make him eat more types of food.So starting the GFCF diet on him would mean cutting off 90% of his diet…

  8. admin says

    Leigh, I found this is very common in my practice as well and I am unsure if it is the parents submitting to feeding them like this or that the child has GI or allergies issues which tend the body to love those chips, cereal, cookies etc. I am sure with the variety today you can find many gluten-free products. Try experimenting with different texture, color, taste or preparation of food to entice your child.

  9. admin says

    Dear Dr. Alomari, try doing a google search for Feingold diet as well. Do this together with the GFCF diet. You might want to consider doing Organic Acid Test to determine any oxalate metabolism issue with yeast. Without proper allergy testing to rule out gluten, casein, oxalate hypersensitivity, we have to put the child on at least GFCF diet. Reference also my blog at: http://www.newautismcure.com/autism-autoimmune-disease-and-gluten/639/ for genetic connection of gluten (celiac disease) hypersensitivity with other familial condition of Diabetes I and II, Lupus, autoimmune diseae of thyroid etc. Therefore, if any family members of parents diagnosed with either then the autistic child best stay away from gluten regardless because of the gene DR3.

  10. admin says

    Aamir, I deeply understand your concern for your child but to list and customize a GFCF diet requires time. I am sure you could google some sample diet or even go to http://www.amazon.com to buy a book about it or go to your library/bookstore to cehk out the GFCF diet. The main idea is to avoid food with wheat, barley, oats, corn and cow dairy related products. Good luck!

  11. says

    I was diagnosed with Celiac’s disease at the start of 2011. Before that I would eat anything and everything and still can’t seem to stop. I’ve had very severe stomach pains and lots of other pain in my abdomen area for a long time. I try so hard to eat foods without gluten because of the fear the doctor has put into me, but get so darn frustrated. I try to bake bread but seem to mess it up. If I get it right then it goes bad fast. It’s like I can’t seem to keepa healthy diet and enjoy food. I have no patience for preparing “everything” that I eat and no will power. I’m 287 pounds and 5’4″ tall and way overweight according to the BMI index. Living in remote region in Northern Alaska makes it a bit incovenient to buy gluten-free products without bartering a seal and a whale for shipping. So… I . I dont know how much longer I can keep this up. I constantly tell myself that I’ve been eating this way for 41 years and have been miserable for just about that long that why does it matter if I’m gluten free? It’s an everyday struggle with myself and I really have no support groups except what’s on this internet.

  12. admin says

    Dear Beulah,
    We understand your frustration. Give Yvette a call at our office (847) 854-8052. We can answer some questions
    and give some guidance on the gluten free diet.

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