New research out of Penn State seems to indicate that the diet will be less contentious as time goes on. Published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience, the study examines self-reports from 387 parents or caregivers of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
Each parent/caregiver answered 90 questions regarding, “their child’s GI symptoms, food allergy diagnoses, and suspected food sensitivities, as well as how often the child adhered to a gluten-free, casein-free diet,” reports PsychCentral.com.
A few key points from the study:
- children with no casein or gluten in their diet for more than six months were reported to have the most significant benefits, the largest reduction in physiological symptoms and the largest improvement in social behaviors.
- children whose diets excluded casein or gluten but not both were reported to have improvements, just less-significant ones.
- children who had not been on the GFCF diet for at least six months also did not seem to have the maximum benefits (yet)
That being said, the sample size of the study is not terribly large and self-reports are not necessarily the most accurate way to judge improvement. However, for parents weighing the potential benefits of a new diet for an ASD child, the study certainly seems to indicate it’s worth trying (for more than 6 months).
Have you had any personal experience with ASD children and an allergen-free diet? Please share!