Gluten-free, Casein-free -No Improvement in Autism

From Kipp Ellsworth’s twitter feed:

The gluten-free, casein-free diet and autism: limited return on family investment

From Journal of Early Intervention  (link to entire article)



The gluten-free, casein-free (GFCF) diet is widely used by families of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Despite its popularity, there is limited evidence in support of the diet. The purpose of this article was to identify and evaluate well-controlled studies of the GFCF diet that have been implemented with children with ASD. A review of the literature from 1999 to 2012 identified five studies meeting inclusion criteria. Research rigor was examined using an evaluative rubric and ranged fromAdequate to Strong. In three of the studies, no positive effects of the diet were reported on behavior or development, even after double-blind gluten and casein trials. Two studies found positive effects after 1 year but had research quality concerns. Reasons why families continue to expend effort on GFCF diets despite limited empirical evidence are discussed. Recommendations are that families should invest time and resources in more robustly supported interventions and limit GFCF diets to children diagnosed with celiac disease or food allergies.

3 thoughts on “Gluten-free, Casein-free -No Improvement in Autism

  1. I think too often parents use the diet as a way to try to fix all of the issues that goes with Autism. Where the gut and the brain are connected, I think they often ignore that there are still problems with methylation in the brain, anxiety, and neurotransmitter conduction. These issues can be helped with supplements.

    The diet is often not enough.

  2. Im glad you posted because info is good…but i gotta say, after 14 years of off and on the gfcf diet, my daughter goes nuts when we give her wheat or milk. It usually takes a few days to see the reaction, but we have had a lot of time to experiment. Teachers will call and ask if we skipped meds.

    I would love to not do it because its expensive and a big pain…but we keep coming back to it.

    So many factors get involved so hard to know what’s working and what’s not.

  3. Pingback: Is Intestinal Function in Children with Autism Different? | gutsandgrowth

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