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A way of eating that may help those with autism.

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The Gluten Free, Casein Free Diet (GFCF) is a highly specialized diet for those with autism. A lot of attention has been paid to autism and the role that diet plays into the mitigation or exacerbation of autistic symptoms. Actress and comedian Jenny McCarthy has been a staunch advocate of using nutrition and diet to quell the symptoms of autism because of her own experience with her son Evan, who was diagnosed with the disease when he was 2 1/2 years old.

Casein and gluten is hypothesized to play a role in the development of opiate peptides which may affect brain development and socialization skills. Although there is no scientific evidence confirming nor denying the effectiveness of the GFCF Diet, many parents and clinicians have had a lot of luck with controlling the symptoms of their child's autism.

The GFCF Diet eliminates all gluten, the naturally-occurring protein found in wheat, barley, rye, spelt, oats and other grains as well as casein, which is a protein found in dairy. As awareness of diseases like autism, celiac disease and gluten intolerance have increased, so have gluten-free food products. You can now quite easily find gluten-free pastas, bread and other starchy staples that use rice or potato flour in place of wheat or other grains. Nevertheless, adhering to the GFCF Diet requires vigilance and diligence by parents and children. Some studies have indicated that children on a GFCF have lower body weights and lower bone densities than those who consume a regular diet. Therefore, it is essential that GFCF followers also take a gluten-free supplement in addition to eating very nutrient-dense allowable foods.

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  • May help to alleviate symptoms of autism
  • Contains vegetables, fruit and lean protein when done correctly
  • Promotes being very aware and knowledgeable of what is in food
  • Encourages reading food labels
  • There are now numerous gluten-free and casein-free alternatives
  • Does not involve taking any medications or pharmaceuticals
  • Strict diet
  • May lead to nutritional deficiencies if not followed correctly
  • No scientific proof of efficacy
  • Not a cure for autism

The GFCF diet is a gluten-free and casein-free diet that may help to improve the symptoms associated with autism. Since there are many hidden sources of gluten, you must be well-informed of all the additives and ingredients that contain gluten.

A typical day might look like this: scrambled eggs with avocado made with casein-free margarine for breakfast, a chicken salad sandwich on gluten-free bread for lunch, a piece of fruit, popcorn or nuts for snacks, sirloin kabobs and vegetables, meatloaf made with gluten-free breadcrumbs or chicken and rice for dinner.

There is a complete line of baking flours, dough mixes, breadcrumbs, condiments and calcium-fortified non-dairy milk alternatives so that those following a GFCF Diet can still enjoy their favorite foods. A gluten-free supplement is also required for those following a GFCF Diet.


There are no specific exercise guidelines while following the GFCF Diet.


The GFCF Diet is a comprehensive and regimented eating plan that was developed in response to those with autism. Casein and gluten are hypothesized to play a role in the development of opiate peptides which may affect brain development and socialization skills. Even though no scientific evidence has concluded that a GFCF Diet mitigates symptoms of autism, for parents, it is a drug-less way to manage and control their child's autism.

If you are interested in learning more, there is a wealth of web sites, packets and books available. You are also encourages to visit with your doctor.

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Gluten Free Casien Free Diet, Autism Diet, Autistic Diet, GFCF Autism Diet, Gluten Free Diet

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(Page 1 of 1, 2 total comments)



Casein-free diet worked for me for my spectrum son.

posted Sep 9th, 2009 9:43 am


I want to get my 5 y/o Autistic son on the diet, I am having great difficulty because he is extremely, picky and stubborn. Please let me know what has worked for some who've had success.

posted Jun 23rd, 2009 11:20 pm


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