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GFCF Diet

For Autism

What is a GCFC Diet?

It is thought that children with autism have an overactive immune system. As such certain foods are known to overdrive the immune response which causes inflammation and contributes to the severity of their symptoms. The culprits which contribute to this exacerbation of problems has been identified primarily as foods containing.... gluten and casein.

So the obvious diet was created for those with autism. It is called the GFCF diet. Which means it is Gluten-Free and Casein-Free. Gluten is a protein found in wheat and other grain,s and casein is a protein found in dairy. This is why some people refer to this diet as the GFDF diet or the gluten-free dairy-free diet.

The GFCF diet helps heal the gut and rebuild and calm the immune system. These two things bring about noticeable improvements. Parents report changes such as... improved cognition, decreased aggression and anxiety, and improvement in sleep quality. Many parents also report brain fog being lifted.

It only makes sense that diet would greatly influence the symptoms of those with autism, because the researchers have reported there is a gut-brain connection.

Researchers have discovered... "The Possible Role of the Microbiota-Gut-Brain-Axis ​​in Autism​." This peer-reviewed paper published on the National Institute of Health states... "Dysbiosis (microbial imbalance) is an altered microbial composition FAVORING pathogenic microbes (microorganisms causing disease) over beneficial ones in the gut . . . In addition to dysbiosis, GI symptoms are four times more prevalent in children with ASD compared to the normal population. A wide range of GI symptoms are found in these children, such as constipation, diarrhea, bloating, abdominal pain, reflux, vomiting, gaseousness, foul smelling stools and food allergies." ~NIH.gov This all sounds good so let's read on to see if there's any evidence supporting the benefits of the GFCF diet, shall we?

Scientific Evidence Points Towards The GFCF Diet

Being Beneficial for Those With Autism

1st Report...

Effectiveness of the gluten-free, casein-free diet for children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder: based on parental report

"Pennesi and Klein found that parents reported that a gluten-free, casein-free diet was more effective in improving ASD behaviors, physiological symptoms and social behaviors for those children with GI symptoms and with allergy symptoms compared to those without these symptoms. Specifically, parents noted improved GI symptoms in their children as well as increases in their children's social behaviors, such as language production, eye contact, engagement, attention span, requesting behavior and social responsiveness, when they strictly followed a gluten-free, casein-free diet.

"According to Klein, autism may be more than a neurological disease -- it may involve the GI tract and the immune system."

"There are strong connections between the immune system and the brain, which are mediated through multiple physiological symptoms," Klein said. A majority of the pain receptors in the body are located in the gut, so by adhering to a gluten-free, casein-free diet, you're reducing inflammation and discomfort that may alter brain processing, making the body more receptive to ASD therapies."

"The team found that parents who eliminated all gluten and casein from their children's diets reported that a greater number of their children's ASD behaviors, physiological symptoms and social behaviors improved after starting the diet compared to children whose parents did not eliminate all gluten and casein. The team also found that parents who implemented the diet for six months or less reported that the diet was less effective in reducing their child's ASD behaviors. ~NIH.gov

NOTE: As we have already pointed out, this seems to be the case as there was another research paper on the NIH which lends credence titled... "The Possible Role of the Microbiota-Gut-Brain-Axis ​​in Autism." It states... Often observed in People with autism is "Dysbiosis (microbial imbalance) is an altered microbial composition FAVORING pathogenic microbes (microorganisms causing disease) over beneficial ones in the gut . . . GI symptoms are four times more prevalent in children with ASD compared to the normal population." ~NIH.gov 

2nd Report...

Autistic Syndromes and Diet: a follow‐up study

"Dietary intervention was applied to 15 subjects with autistic syndromes, with pathological urine patterns, and increased levels of peptides found in their twenty‐four‐hour urine samples. The peptides, some of which are probably derived from gluten and casein, are thought to have a negative pharmacological effect on attention, brain maturation, social interaction and learning.

Our hypothesis was that a diet without these proteins would facilitate learning. Social behaviour, as well as cognitive and communicative skills, were assessed before diet. The subjects were closely followed for a year, after which their urine was retested blind, and the assessment of behaviors and skills was repeated.

Further retesting was made four years after the onset of dietary intervention. Normalization of urine patterns and peptide levels was found after one year. Likewise, a decrease in odd behaviour and an improvement in the use of social, cognitive and communicative skills were registered. This positive development continued through the next three years, though at a lower rate." ~TaylorAndFrancis (a peer-reviewed publication)

3rd Report...

Autistic Syndromes and Diet: a follow‐up study

"Dietary intervention was applied to 15 subjects with autistic syndromes, with pathological urine patterns, and increased levels of peptides found in their twenty‐four‐hour urine samples. The peptides, some of which are probably derived from gluten and casein, are thought to have a negative pharmacological effect on attention, brain maturation, social interaction and learning.

Our hypothesis was that a diet without these proteins would facilitate learning. Social behaviour, as well as cognitive and communicative skills, were assessed before diet. The subjects were closely followed for a year, after which their urine was retested blind, and the assessment of behaviors and skills was repeated.

Further retesting was made four years after the onset of dietary intervention. Normalization of urine patterns and peptide levels was found after one year. Likewise, a decrease in odd behaviour and an improvement in the use of social, cognitive and communicative skills were registered. This positive development continued through the next three years, though at a lower rate." ~TaylorAndFrancis (a peer-reviewed publication)

Foods That Contain Gluten

stay away from these foods

Breads and Cereals made with:

  • Abyssinian hard wheat

  • Barley

  • Barley flour

  • Barley malt

  • Barley hordeum vulgare

  • Bleached all-purpose flour

  • Bran

  • Bread flour

  • ​Brown flour​

  • Durum flour

  • Enriched flour

  • Fu (dried wheat gluten)

  • Gluten flour

  • Graham flour

  • Granary flour

  • Hard wheat

  • High protein flour

  • High gluten flour​

  • Kamut wheat

  • Oat flour

  • Rye

  • Spelt

  • Wheat

  • Wheat flour

  • White flour

  • Wholemeal flour

  • Vital gluten​

Other Sources of Gluten

  • ​Alcoholic beverages

  • Avena

  • Beer

  • Bouillon cubes or powder

  • Bread crumbs

  • Bulgur (bulgur wheat/nuts)

  • Broth (packaged)

  • Cereal extract

  • Cereal binder

  • Chilton

  • Couscous

  • Cracker meal

  • Croutons

  • Dextrin​

  • Durum

  • ​Edible starch

  • Einkorn wheat

  • Filler

  • Galactose

  • Ghee

  • Glutamate

  • Glutamic acid

  • Gravy cubes

  • Gravy mixes (unless homemade with cornstarch)

  • Herbs with wheat fillers

  • Hordeum

  • Hydrolyzed oat starch

  • Hydrolyzed plant protein (HPP)​​

  • ​Hydrolyzed vegetable protein HVP)

  • Malt

  • Non-dairy creamer (coffee creamer)

  • Nougat

  • Oats

  • Pearl barley (Job's Tears)

  • Seitan

  • Simplesse

  • Semolina

  • Soba noodles

  • Teriyaki sauce

  • Triticale

  • Udon

  • Vegetable starch

These Foods may Contain Gluten

​If the item is not labeled GF/CF, check with the manufacturer.

  • Baking powder

  • Baking soda

  • Chorizo sausage

  • Gelatinized starch

  • Ground spices

  • Hot dogs

  • Lactic acid

  • Luncheon meats

  • Modified food starch

  • Natural flavoring

  • Sausages

  • Soy sauce (shoyu)

  • Surimi

  • Miso

  • Monosodium glutamate

  • MSG

  • Rice malt

  • Rice syrup

  • Vitamins

Check for gluten-free baking soda, baking powder, vanilla, xanthan or guar gum at health food stores or online.

These Foods may Contain Gluten

Milk:​

  • Acidophilus milk

  • Buttermilk

  • Condensed milk

  • Evaporated milk

  • Dry milk

  • Goat milk

  • Low fat milk

  • Malted milk

  • Milk chocolate

  • Milk powder

  • Milk solids

  • Non-fat milk

  • Powdered milk

  • Skim milk

  • Whole milk

These foods may contain casein:

(If the item is not labeled GF/CF, check with the manufacturer.)

  • Brown sugar flavoring

  • Bavarian cream flavoring

  • Caramel coloring

  • Chorizo

  • Coconut flavoring

  • Hot dogs

  • Luncheon meats

  • Natural chocolate flavoring

  • Sausages

Other sources of casein:

  • Artificial butter flavor

  • Butter

  • Butter fat

  • Butter flavoring

  • Butter oil

  • Caseinate

  • Cheese (hard and soft)

  • Cottage cheese

  • Cream

  • Cream cheese

  • Custard

  • Curds

  • Delactosed whey

  • Half and half

  • Ice cream

  • Lactoglobulin

  • Lactose

  • Lactalbumin

  • Lactate solids

  • Lactulose

  • Pudding

  • Rennet casein

  • Ricotta cheese

  • Sherbet

  • Sour cream

  • Sour cream solids

  • Whey

  • Yogurt​​

What Can My Child Eat?

Many foods do not contain Gluten or Casein, such as:

  • chicken

  • fish

  • meat

  • fruits

  • vegetables

  • potatoes

  • rice

  • infant rice cereal​​

  • cereal

  • and pasta

  • labeled "gluten-free"

Gluten-free Flours

  • Amaranth flour

  • Buckwheat flour

  • Corn meal flour (and polenta)

  • Garbanzo bean flour

  • Garfava flour

  • Lentil flour

  • Millet flour

  • Nut flours (such as almond, cashew)

  • Potato starch flour

  • Potato flour

  • Quinoa flour

  • Rice flour (brown or white)

  • Sorghum flour (Jowar)

  • Sweet potato flour

  • Tapioca flour or tapioca starch

  • Teff flour

  • Yucca (cassava flour)

Milk Substitutes

  • Almond milk

  • DariFree® potato milk

  • Rice milk

Butter Substitutes

  • Hains® safflower margarine

  • Mazola® unsalted corn margarine

  • Willow Run® margarine

  • coconut

  • olive

  • safflower

  • sunflower​

​​If a recipe calls for 1 cup of margarine or butter, you can substitute ¾ cup of oil:

Gluten-free Recipes

​Keep in mind that these recipes are 'supposedly' gluten-free. Be sure to compare ingredients to the list above. Do not use any dairy products – milk, cheese, etc. – unless you are using a substitute product. This diet like any diet takes a little time to find what your child or loved one is going to like. With over 1430 recipes to choose from there must be many dishes they will consider DELICIOUS. 

Go to allrecipes and start exploring.

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If you believe you have a medical emergency please see your physician immediately or dial 911.

 

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