Special Diets for ASD


Special Diets for ASD

There are many diets parents say work for their children to improve health, behavior, attention, sleep and reduce autism symptoms. This is a partial listing of the most widely used among them, but they all have something in common - clean, unprocessed foods. We’ve all heard the saying “garbage in, garbage out” this is especially important with children with autism. Bad food in, means bad behavior out. Feeding your special needs child a healthy, allergy-free diet helps with therapy results and behavior.

GFCFSF Diet (Gluten-, Casein-, Soy-free Diet)

This is the oldest of the “autism diets”. The proteins in gluten, casein (dairy) and soy cause problems, including immune response and increased autism symptoms, so they are removed from the diet. This diet is based on treating a leaky gut where peptides cross the blood brain barrier. People with the MTase block, such as those with ASD, have a 91% positive reaction to this diet.
This diet can help with the following issues:

Learn more at http://tacanow.org/family-resources/gfcfsf-diet/
Hundreds of free recipes at https://www.pinterest.com/tacanow/

SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet)

This diet was designed for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) but can be helpful for individuals with autism. This diet still contains casein so when we use SCD for individuals with autism, we need to make it SCD-CF (Casein-Free). The diet is free of gluten, soy, most carbohydrates, colors and artificial additives. This diet has the highest parent ratings because it addresses both the peptide issue reduces carbohydrate intake.

This diet can help with the following issues:

Learn more at:

GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome)

This diet was designed for ASD and combines the peptide issue, the carb issue and fermented foods for good gut health. There isn’t much published research on this diet at present but many of our families use it with great results. This diet allows ghee, which casein-allergic people still must avoid. Similar to SCD - sugar free and grain free - GAPS allows for a wider variety of fruits and vegetables than SCD but with emphasis on probiotic use and some supplementation and advocates toxin-free living.

This diet can help with the following issues:

Learn More at:

LOD (Low Oxalate Diet)

This diet reduces oxalates for better kidney health, as well as mitochondria and glutathione function. Not gluten or dairy free so this would be used in conjunction with another diet.

This diet can help with the following issues:

More to know about LOD:

  • This diet avoids high oxalate foods, including (but not limited to) berries, citrus, beans, chocolate, broccoli, tomatoes, nuts, soy, wheat and dairy.
  • Responders include kids who have frequent urinary tract infections or fungal infections (often together).
  • Kids with high oxalic acid on their OAT should respond well to LOD.

Learn more at http://www.lowoxalate.info/research.html

Body Ecology Diet

GFCF* and sugar-free, but allows raw butter, so casein-allergic people must still remove it. This diet focuses on alkalizing the body and is heavy in fermented foods and coconut kefir. Allows some grains.

This diet can help with the following issues:

Learn more at http://bodyecology.com/

Feingold Diet

Created for ADD/ADHD, this diet removes all artificial colors, flavors and preservatives while reducing phenols and salicylates. If your child has hyperactivity, you should consider combining these removals with one of the other diets.

This diet can help with the following issues:

  • Hyperactivity/impulsivity
  • Attention
  • Sleep
  • Urine accidents
  • Aggression or self injury

Learn more at:

Weston A. Price

Whole cooking diet but allows raw dairy, so casein-allergic people should still remove the dairy. This diet focuses on healthy fats, bone broths, sprouted grains, beans and seeds, fermented foods and nutrient dense foods.

This diet can help with the following issues:

Learn more at http://www.westonaprice.org/

Rotation Diet

This diet is used to control food allergies by eating same-type foods on planned days and then waiting four days before eating them again. For example, a food will be consumed every four days (chicken on Monday; then no chicken again until Friday)

This diet can help with the following issues:

  • Minimize constant immune response to foods
  • Inflammation in the GI tract
  • IgG response resolves within approximately 4 days

Learn more at http://tacanow.org/family-resources/rotation-diet-and-hints/

Elemental Diet

Only prescribed by a doctor, this is a nutritionally complete, amino acid- based liquid diet. Usually prescribed for a few months to provide gut rest but relies on pre-made formulas like Elecare (which is soy-based) and Splash from Neocate (corn-based).

This diet can help with the following issues:

  • Inflammation
  • Reflux
  • Distension
  • Weight gain

Learn more at http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/eosinophilic-esophagitis/basics/definition/con-20035681

“My Kid’s Allergic to Everything” Diet

While rare, we do see some kids who are seemingly allergic to “everything”. These kids should definitely be under the care of a functional medicine doctor and/or an immunologist/allergist. Make sure you test plasma for both IgE and IgG allergies. Use the Rotation diet for IgG sensitivities and make use of substitutions for allergens, where possible.

Other diets

Whatever Diet(s) You Implement…

Best practices from several “diets” out there:

  • Fermented foods
    • Kombucha (very high in oxalates!)
    • Organic apple cider vinegar
    • Manuka honey
    • Sauerkraut
    • Coconut kefir
    • Probiotics

How TACA can help you: