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A 47-year-old member asked:

Please explain which food to give to children with autism?

3 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Johanna Fricke
Pediatrics - Developmental and Behavioral 52 years experience
Same as for any : Child, a well-balanced diet with appropriate calories. Studies now show what we've known clinically for many years - a higher rate of obesity in kids with ASD vs. Kids without ASD because they often self-limit their diets to "whites" ; hate " greens." ot ; speech/language therapists treat feeding problems. Unless celiac disease, food allergies/ intolerance are documented, no special diet is needed.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Dr. Jill Valerius
Integrative Medicine 25 years experience
I would suggest avoiding all processed foods. Sometimes kids improve with a gluten free diet, so it might be worth a trial of avoiding this for a few weeks.
Apr 9, 2014
Dr. Johanna Fricke
Pediatrics - Developmental and Behavioral 52 years experience
Provided original answer
Most of my families try, but studies show Celiac Disease 7-9% in kids with or without ASD. A true gluten-free diet is tough...no grains that were ground in equipment used to grind wheat... but gluten-free products are the current rage. Processed foods? Yuck. Ban those Lunchables along with Baby Einstein videos!
Apr 9, 2014
Dr. Patricia Harkins
Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics 33 years experience
Green and organic: Any child can be sensitive to artificial ingredients. I think the biggest offenders are artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. So as organic as you can reasonably find is good. Other than that, unless they have an allergy to a food, give them whatever they will eat. The gfcf diet usually does not improve autism unless there are gastrointestinal problems.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Dr. Jon Ahrendsen
Family Medicine 41 years experience
It depends,,,: First of all kids need to eat and grow so they need to consume food. But autistic kids have very restricted diets, and often crave the very food that is not good for them. The restricted diets are often not nutritionally complete. Different diets: gluten free, casein free, soy free, gaps, and feingold, have all been reported to help some, but not all. I would find a maps doctor to help you sort.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Last updated Aug 3, 2018
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