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Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) affects one in 88 children. Children with ASD have difficulties with social interaction, impairments in communication, and repetitive and unusual behaviors. Gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and reflux are frequently reported by parents of children with ASD. Elimination diets are commonly used in an effort to improve functioning and behaviors in children with ASD. One of the most popular elimination diets is the gluten-free, casein-free (GFCF) diet. A meta-analysis was conducted to explore the relationship between usage of a GFCF diet and GI symptoms and autistic behaviors. In my review of the literature, case studies, group designs without controls, and randomized experimental studies identified varying results. Although benefits of a GFCF diet remain limited, studies show a correlation between GI symptoms and autistic behaviors, which indicate children with greater severity of ASD symptoms, are more likely to have greater incidents of GI symptoms compared to their typical counterparts. This suggests a possibility that autistic behaviors are related to or exacerbated by the underlying GI symptoms reported by parents. Results suggest an important consideration with strict compliance to an elimination diet to optimize the diets effectiveness.

Key words: Gluten-free, Casein-free, diet, autism, autism spectrum disorder, gastrointestinal symptoms, behavior


This is a metadata-only record.



  • Subject
    • Nursing

  • Institution
    • Dahlonega

  • Event location
    • Library Third Floor, Open Area

  • Event date
    • 2 April 2014

  • Date submitted

    18 July 2022

  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Loretta Delargy