Growing Naturals products fit perfectly with a Gluten-Free, Casein-Free (GFCF diet) as part of our mission to provide Food for All People.
Gluten and casein (a protein found in foods containing milk and in the form of caseinate in non-dairy products such as some soy cheese, hot dogs, etc.) have received much attention in the autism community and from doctors in the Autism Research Institute's biomedical movement.
There is growing interest in the link between autism and gastrointestinal (GI) ailments. A study by the University of California Davis Health System found that children with autism born in the 1990s were more likely to have gastrointestinal problems, including constipation, diarrhea and vomiting, than autistic children who were born in the early 1980s. Some people use the GFCF diet mainly to ease gastrointestinal problems and food allergies or sensitivities.
A researcher at the New Jersey Medical School's Autism Center found that autistic children were more likely to have abnormal immune responses to milk, soy and wheat than typically-developing children, according to a chapter in Cutting-Edge Therapies for Autism 2010-2011￼.
Medical tests can determine if your child has a sensitivity or allergy to gluten, casein, soy and other foods. Any pediatrician, or a physician from the Autism Research Institute list, can order these tests before you begin the diet. Before you change your child's diet, consult with a physician and nutritionist to make sure you are providing a healthy diet and, if necessary, nutritional supplements.
Besides gluten and casein, some parents report that removing corn or soy led to equal or greater improvements in their children. Because soy protein is similar to gluten and casein, some diet proponents recommend removing it if the child seems very sensitive or does not improve on the GFCF diet.
Research into the GFCF diet continues. A study released in 2010 shows benefits for some kids with autism spectrum disorder. "Our results suggest that dietary intervention may positively affect developmental outcome for some children diagnosed with ASD," according to the study. It was published in Nutritional Neuroscience by a research group that included Paul Shattock and Dr. Paul Whiteley of ESPA Research. "Further studies are required to ascertain potential best- and non-responders to intervention." A new article by the same authors explores the ways a GFCF diet could reduce autism symptoms.