Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can roughly be defined as a developmental disorder that affects how a person behaves and interacts in group settings. They may also have specific interests, and act repetitively .
Autism is a very broad term, and no two people that are affected by it are the same. According to National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke the spectrum can incorporate a “wide range of symptoms, skills, and levels of disability in functioning.”
Therefore dealing with an overall ‘treatment’ for every person suffering from autism is not, in my opinion, the right approach. However, in saying that, I can say that everyone, autistic as well as neurotypical, is very much affected by the foods they eat.
Since autism may be linked with the central nervous system, gut and brain, I reckon it is vital that people first take a look at the food they’re eating before throwing medication at the symptoms. As an adult who is on the spectrum, I can tell you firsthand that the food I ate definitely had an overall effect on my mood and anxiety.
The Importance of the Gut Microbiome.
Although there is still no known cause of ASD many professionals believe it is due to the relationship between the bacteria located in the small intestine and the central nervous system.
Researchers have also noticed the correlation between problems in the gut and people on the spectrum. In a study to see if gastrointestinal problems are more prominent in autistic kids it indicates clearly how problems in
the gut biome affect young children with ASD more commonly than those with typical development.
It has long since been known that the gut is called ‘ the second brain’ because of how closely linked the Central Nervous System and the digestive system are with each other.
It makes sense to me why what you choose to eat should be a careful decision, one that could disturb how you feel and behave. In the next few paragraphs I will outline which specific food groups to avoid with autism.
My eyes have truly been widened by the awful impact sugar has on our bodies- and how incredibly addictive it is (around 8 times more addictive than cocaine).
It is incredible how we stuff our bodies with it to ‘treat’ ourselves after a long day and how normalized it is in society as a result. There is little surprise therefore why there’s an obesity epidemic and mood disorders are being talked about more.
And I’m not just on about the table sugar, biscuits and cakes. I’m talking about the sugar that’s added to foods that you might not even realize is there.
Even sugar-free foods tend to have a type of sugar added to them to make them more addictive. Try reducing your intake of breads and pastas too and replacing it with more vegetables.
This is considerably easier said than done but the good news is that if you can manage to detoxify yourself from sugar you can ditch the cravings too! In the long run, your mood will improve as your blood sugars stabilize.
Check out my articles on keto foods to help switch you from a sugar-burner to a fat-burner that will have you torching those extra calories stored in your body.
Gluten is a sticky substance found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye, a wheat and rye hybrid called triticale and are sometimes found in oats.
There are many links between gluten and problems within the body including Irritable bowel syndrome and Coeliac Disease. There is now strong evidence that it is a key player in mood disorders and ASD.
Dr. Alessio Fasano is an Italian medical doctor, pediatric gastroenterologist and researcher who founded the Centre for Coeliac Research in 1996 says “the human body cannot digest gluten”.
For myself, cutting out gluten was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I no longer feel drained and fatigued during the day, and my mood has definitely lifted. Regarding tips I can give you, try to stay away from the ‘gluten-free’ foods you see and choose instead foods that are naturally gluten-free.
Many cases have been published on the link between dairy and ASD.
Going dairy-free is often used in conjunction with a gluten-free diet, especially for those suffering symptoms from being on the spectrum.
One of the reasons why dairy is to be avoided is because of the presence of a protein called casein.
Many children with autism have been found that they have gastrointestinal problems digesting this protein. Researchers have found that by eliminating casein from the diet of children with autism, after 1 year, autistic symptoms improved.
In my opinion I strongly recommend parents of those who have autism to consider eliminating dairy from their child’s diets.
What you can take away from this article:
- Consider that there is a link between the gut and the brain.
- Autistic children tend to have issues with the Gastrointestinal tract and therefore should benefit from going sugar, gluten and dairy free.
- Symptoms have been suggested to improve after going on these elimination diets.
- Changing an autistic child’s diet could have the biggest impact on how they behave in the world.