Home > Got Questions? > Are you aware of any research being done on diet and its affect on children w/ autism? If so, what has been learned?

Are you aware of any research being done on diet and its affect on children w/ autism? If so, what has been learned?

“Got Questions?” is a new weekly feature on our blog to address the desire for scientific understanding in our community.  We received over 3000 responses when we asked what science questions were on your mind. We answered a few here and the Autism Speaks Science staff will address the other themes we received in this weekly post.

To date, there have only been a few published rigorous clinical trials examining the efficacy of dietary treatment (specifically, the gluten-free, casein-free diet) for improving symptoms of ASD. These have been negative or inconclusive, but were based on very small samples. More recently, Dr. Susan Hyman at the University of Rochester reported the results of a double-blind, randomized trial in which children who were on the diet were challenged with foods containing casein and gluten. Dr. Hyman examined factors such as attention, sleep and the stool of 22 children with ASD both challenged and unchallenged and found no benefit from the diet. Dr. Hyman stressed that her findings don’t rule out the possibility that there may be subgroups of children who benefit. Autism is a very heterogeneous condition. More research is needed.

  1. Katie Wright
    December 21, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    Dr. Hyman’s research was terrible. She excluded all children w/ immune problems, celiac disease, gut problems etc… That is EXACTLY the population that could benefit from dietary intervention. Hyman did a dietary intervention on healthy children who did not need a dietary intervention! So no surprise she found no difference in the groups.

    Hyman’s diet allowed any kind of junk food, artificial ingredients, artificial dyes…as long as they did not have casein or gluten. That doesn’t work. Dr. Hyman also fired Karyn Seroussi, a long term ASD nutrition expert, author and ASD parent because Karyn wanted to fix these deficiencies in the study.

  2. December 23, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    I have completed a study of more than 500 individuals with autism and found the cause for autism is related to a number of nutrients that are lacking in the diet that are required for good brain health. This research is based upon identifying the chemicals required for the proper development of the brain and the availability of the needed nutrients from the foods being eaten. There is a clear lack of the essential nutrients in the diets of those with autism. It has been further demonstrated that when the nutrients are provided, the symptoms disappear.

  3. January 23, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    Is calorie counting better then low fat diets?

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