Picky Eating and Gluten Free Diets

gluten free diet for autism

A common issue for those with ASD is problem eating- a challenge that many parents and individuals face which leads to a poor diet. Sensory processing, eating behaviours and various feeding disorders can all lead to this.

Some with ASD are extremely picky with what they eat- color, consistency, and texture of foods are all factors. Recent studies have shown that children and individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder are able to have a form of ‘control’ over their symptoms through their diets, especially when they do not eat anything that has gluten in it. This means that with the advent of the gluten-free fad, parents have so many more food options for their picky children, which ensures that they get the nutrients they need to thrive.

It’s a well known fact that the healthier one eats, the healthier one is. But with new food and diet fads constantly going in and out of style, the definition of ‘healthy eating’ changes quite a bit. Most parents are aware of the essential nutrients their children need to develop properly and thrive, but what many parent’s do not realize is that many current health crazes are not necessarily good for their children if used incorrectly. 

Recent studies have shown that many children are ready to jump onto the proverbial bandwagon of health fads- most recently, the controversial juice cleanse or total gluten free diets have been common among youth. What do health lifestyles like this mean for parents who have children with disabilities? While more extreme fads like juice cleanses may not come into mind, there are definitely more options for parents who are looking to keep their children gluten-free.

However, if a child with ASD is a picky eater, getting help through nutrition therapy may be a good solution. The child’s regular team would get together with the family, family doctor, and a dietitian or nutritionist to figure out the child’s current eating habits, the family’s eating habits, allergies, and sensory conditions. By gathering this information, they can make sure the child will get the proper amount of nutrients needed. They are then able to come up with a specific diet that the child would be likely to enjoy, and it can then be implemented into their daily routine. 

This intense planning is necessary when anyone decides to eliminate something like gluten out of their diet- because it is in so many common foods, specific measures need to be taken to ensure it is not accidentally ingested.

By Sydney Chasty, Carleton University

This entry was posted in Autism Action Alerts, Autism Alternative Treatment, Autism Awareness, Autism Education, Autism News, Autism News and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

One Comment

  1. Posted September 19, 2016 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

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