Frequently Asked Questions about Dietary Intervention for the Treatment of Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities
by Karyn Seroussi, Co-Founder, Autism Network for Dietary Intervention
Disclaimer: The following is not medical advice. All changes to your child's diet should be supervised by a physician or a qualified nutritionist.
Q: I don't think my child has allergies, or that allergies could cause autism. Why should I try removing foods from his diet?
A: Although parents have been reporting a connection between autism and diet for decades, there is now a growing body of research that shows that certain foods seem to be affecting the developing brains of some children and causing autistic behaviors. This is not because of allergies, but because many of these children are unable to properly break down certain proteins.
Q: What happens when they get these proteins?
A: Researchers in
Q: Which proteins are causing this problem?
A: The two main offenders seem to be gluten (the protein in wheat, oats, rye and barley) and casein (milk protein.)
Q: But milk and wheat are the only two foods my child will eat. His diet is completely comprised of milk, cheese, cereal, pasta, and bread. If I take these away, I'm afraid he'll starve.
A: There may be a good reason your child "self-limits" to these foods. Opiates, like opium, are highly addictive. If this "opiate excess" explanation applies to your child, then he is actually addicted to those foods containing the offending proteins. Although it seems as if your child will starve if you take those foods away, many parents report that after an initial "withdrawal" reaction, their children become more willing to eat other foods. After a few weeks, many children surprise their parents by further broadening their diets.