Gluten free – Casein free (glucose/sugar-free) diet or GFCF diet has gained much popularity among the parents of the autistic kids. What really is this GFCF diet? What is this thing called gluten and casein? Let me tell you all about it. Gluten is a type of protein found in wheat and wheat products like bread, all-purpose flour, pasta etc. It is also found in other grains like rye, barley etc. Casein is another type of protein found in milk and milk products. Both the proteins are essential for maintaining a healthy body. People with medical conditions like gluten intolerance, celiac disease, casein intolerance etc. should definitely follow a gluten free or casein free diet.
Why parents of autistic children choose to give their kids gluten- free casein- free (glucose/sugar-free) diet?
- The first reason is that they believe (mostly it’s the fear) that the autistic kids are allergic to gluten, casein, and sugar.
- The next reason is that they feel that GFCF and sugar-free diet can reduce the symptoms related to autism
While I was searching for information about how these proteins would affect autistic kids, the most satisfying answer I got was this – in kids with autism, the gluten and casein are metabolized into products that had properties similar to opium and it was the explanation behind hyperactivity in such kids.
BUT I HAVE NEVER FOUND AN AUTISTIC CHILD WHO WAS AFFECTED BY EATING FOOD CONTAINING GLUTEN, CASEIN AND GLUCOSE/SUGAR.
So what is the reality of gluten free diet?
Seriously folks, please do not blindly follow all that you hear regarding autism. You don’t have to be autistic to have gluten, casein and glucose/sugar intolerance or related allergies. Many people and children who are absolutely normal suffer from such medical conditions. Before you link your child’s behavior, allergies etc. to his/her autism please look around and observe the normal kids. You can find many similar things in them. All you have to do is OPEN YOUR EYES AND OBSERVE.
Many parents follow this GFCF diet out of fear. I have seen many autistic kids and none of them are on this GFCF diet, neither do they have any allergy or such alleged conditions of intolerance. If you are seriously scared of allergy, you can give the food to your kid in very small quantity (during the day time, because you can get immediate medical help in case of any allergy) and check whether they are showing any symptoms of allergy. If not, why simply follow the diet? Please do understand the DANGERS of blindly following this trend. YOU ARE STARVING YOUR KID OF THE ESSENTIAL NUTRIENTS. Food containing gluten and casein also contain numerous other nutrients. When you avoid these foods, you are cutting away most of the nutrients required for your child to grow and when you add sugar too to this list, then you are putting a complete full stop to your child’s growth. Glucose (sugar) is essential for the brain to carry out its functions. Low glucose levels in kids can lead to serious complications.
So coming back to the title “Is gluten free- casein free (sugar-free) diet really essential for autistic kids?” the answer is clearly a NO!
As I had said before DO NOT follow this diet unless the child really has allergy/intolerance because of gluten, casein or glucose. If you feel that your son/daughter is getting hyperactive after consuming food containing these 3, then please stop giving it for a couple of days and observe. It is always better to check and come to a conclusion rather than denying a balanced diet for your child out of mere fear.