Health Care

What Is The Connection Between Autism, Diet & Behavior?

A child tested positive with Autism has an assemblage of disorders arising due to brain damage. He/she also has a typical eating behavior due to sensory issues and gastrointestinal infection. There are different supplements for autism and diet plans that deal with the symptoms of autism. Eliminating gluten and casein from their daily intake will improve behaviour, sleep and bowel patterns. 

What Are The Symptoms of Autism?

The signs of autism are visible in the early childhood stage. Common symptoms seen in children include:

  • Trouble with communicating or interacting 
  • Have less interest in food or a particular food preference
  • Stay aloof and do not like to take part in activities 
  • Trouble with gross and fine motor skills 

The severity of autism varies differently in each individual and with an intensity ranging from mild to severe.

An early diagnosis can lead to prompt treatment with a behavior expert. A behavior analyst provides several interventions, such as ABA therapy, that give away rewards bringing positive changes in a child’s behavior.

Behavior, Autism and Diet 

Children with autism have eating issues and a narrow diet consisting of grain products. They also have sensory hypersensitivities where they dislike a change in their diet. They are also sensitive towards certain textures and colors and hate to try a new dish. A dietician prepares a perfect diet plan for autism to help children overcome their unusual eating behaviors and to ensure they consume a proper diet with all the essential nutrients.

Poor eating habits and feeding-issues are related to sensory challenges. Children with autism can get easily appeased or upset by certain foods that have strong smells, tastes or specific textures. According to dieticians, there is a correlation between eating difficulties and gastrointestinal problems detected in children with autism. They tend to show adverse behavior such as aggressiveness and tantrum due to the pain and discomfort from bloating, diarrhea or acidity. Solving the underlying gastrointestinal problems with a diet plan for autism can relieve the pain, and help children to control their emotions and to behave properly.

A gluten-free and casein-free diet can also help in reducing the symptoms of autism and in improving behavior in children with gastrointestinal dysfunction. Children on this diet showed favourable improvement in attention span, speech, eye contact, and social responsiveness.

According to a diet plan for autism, the gluten-free and casein-free diet to be avoided are:

  • Milk and milk products (ice cream, yogurt, cheese, etc.)
  • Cereals, and products made from refined flour and yeast, like bread, pastries, and biscuits

To substitute milk and milk products, a dietician may prescribe almond milk or soy milk for children without allergies towards soy and nuts. 

Things that are healthy and added to the chart of a gluten-free casein-free diet:

  • Fruits and vegetable
  • Fish, meat, and chicken

The best approach to feed a child is to find a compromise or a replacement between what the child needs and what he/she prefers. While a diet plan for autism cannot provide a complete cure, it can reduce the number of diet-related problems and improve the overall health of the child.


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