Autism Spectrum Disorder Interventions - Diet


  1. Casein/Gluten Free Diet A casein free/gluten free diet is one of the best interventions for autistic children. In my opinion at least 40% of children who embark on this diet show significant improvement. The best way to approach this difficult diet is to eliminate casein for one month. This involves full avoidance of cow's milk, yogurt, cheese and ice cream. I prefer doing this for one month; then I would try the more difficult and frustrating gluten free diet which precludes wheat, oat, barley, rye and spelt. This should be done for three months. If a child is not seeing benefits from this dietary elimination, then strong consideration should be given to adding these foods back after four months.
  2. Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) - A number of my patients who have had some but not enough success with casein free/gluten free diet are now using the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. Information is available on the SCD website (www.pecanbread.com). I am seeing a number of children benefit from the SCD program.
  3. Feingold Diet The information on the Feingold Diet is available on the Feingold website and the national headquarters whose phone number is 1-800-321-3287. The Stage II diet includes food, chemicals, and preservatives. Many children with Autism are chemically sensitive. It makes sense that these children would not do well with foods containing chemicals. The Feingold diet includes the elimination of artificial colorings, flavorings, preservatives such as red and yellow dye, many fruits, and foods containing Phenols (apples, bananas, oranges, milk, tomatoes, peanuts, chocolate and red grapes).
  4. Some children do not do well with other foods. This can include almost any food; however, others to consider include soybean and corn. A blood food test such as the IgG food panel can document which foods should be restricted in a child's diet.
  5. Other diets to consider included Low Oxalate Diet and Body Ecology Diet.