In the study of autism and some of the possible cures, the subject of gluten free and casein free diets is well debated among parents and medical professionals alike.
What is autism? First we must address what autism actually is. Autism is a problem more and more children suffer from, which causes behaviors such as the inability to socialize or communicate, the inability to read symbols and social cues, and the lack of ability to have proper reactions to certain social situations. It can also cause difficulty with eye contact, repetitive behaviors, and overstimulation in loud or raucous situations. The reason for autism is unsolved and has been being debated for years. Doctors have been unable to pinpoint what exactly causes autism, which makes it difficult to treat.
What are glutens? Glutens have been well publicized over the last several years for affecting autism, and other diseases like Celiac Disease. To go "gluten free" as many doctors and parents recommend, means removing all glutens from your diet. Gluten foods are things like wheat, rye, barley, and many starches, which are in things like soy sauce, other sauces, artificial flavoring and coloring, couscous, and vinegars.
What is Casein? Casein may have similar affects, and is found in milk and all products that include milk. This may cause some parents to reach for soy based products- but be careful- as many soy products include casein too. Things to avoid would be milk, butters and margarines, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream.
Some children may not be able to digest casein and glutens, which is where the problems begin. It is thought that possibly if these things are not digestible, they remain in the system, and turn into peptides or opiates in the body, which cause different reactions and odd behaviors.
The first thing you can do if your child has autism and you'd like to try gluten or casein free diets are to consult with a physician and a dietician. They will make proper recommendations, which may include removing one food at a time from your child's diet to try to pinpoint what the problem may be. Many dieticians recommend removing milk from your child's diet first, because it quickly eliminates itself from the body, and if that is the cause, you may have a prompt diagnosis. There are many websites and books regarding this issue available, which can help you adapt to a diet free of gluten and casein. These websites often offer support groups and allow parents to discuss their recommendations, successes and failures to help you along the way.
Although many doctors say there is no conclusive evidence that having a gluten or casein free diet can help with autism, there are thousands of parents out there who swear by it, saying that their children have seen increased abilities to socialize and communicate. Introducing gluten free and casein free diets could help your child have a more normal life, so it is absolutely worth a try if you are able to commit to the lifestyle changes it can require.
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