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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

More Doubts About the GFCF Diet

As I explain in The Politics of Autism: Navigating the Contested Spectrum, questionable approaches such as the gluten-free/casein free diet and chelation fill the vacuum caused by the basic uncertainty surrounding the issue.

At The Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, Susan L. Hyman and colleagues have an article titled, "The Gluten-Free/Casein-Free Diet: A Double-Blind Challenge Trial in Children with Autism." The abstract:
To obtain information on the safety and efficacy of the gluten-free/casein-free (GFCF) diet, we placed 14 children with autism, age 3–5 years, on the diet for 4–6 weeks and then conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled challenge study for 12 weeks while continuing the diet, with a 12-week follow-up. Dietary challenges were delivered via weekly snacks that contained gluten, casein, gluten and casein, or placebo. With nutritional counseling, the diet was safe and well-tolerated. However, dietary challenges did not have statistically significant effects on measures of physiologic functioning, behavior problems, or autism symptoms. Although these findings must be interpreted with caution because of the small sample size, the study does not provide evidence to support general use of the GFCF diet.