Autism and the Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Diet


Did you know that April is Autism Awareness Month? According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 1 in 88 children (1.14% of all children) has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The reported prevalence nearly doubled in just 8 years.

To show their support for the cause, So Delicious Dairy Free is donating $1 to the Organization for Autism Research (OAR) for every new Facebook “like” in April up to $5K. Head to the So Delicious Facebook Page and just click “like” to help!

The connection with So Delicious Dairy Free makes sense, since many people are turning to the gluten-free, casein-free diet as a therapy for ASD.

Does the Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Diet Work?

Autism - Gluten-Free Casein-Free Diet

Scientists are perplexed by this topic. Just a few clinical studies have been done on autism and diet, yielding a mixed bag of results. But they can’t seem to ignore the reality that so many people are seeing real world results with the diet. Researchers still suggest a scientific correlation in which peptides from gluten and casein may cause excessive opioid activity that results in many of the physiological and psychological symptoms associated with autism.

To back this up, the Autism Research Institute led a study in which over 23,000 parents of autism reported on the success of various treatments. A resounding 65% of participants saw notable symptom improvement with the gluten-free, casein-free diet, with only 2% reporting worsening symptoms. On the contrary, of the more than 50 medical drugs tested, only 30% saw symptom improvement, while 31% actually had their symptoms worsen on the drugs!

Here are some other interesting reports on the topic:

Food Matters for Autism – Julie Matthews, a Certified Nutrition Consultant and Autism Diet Specialist, explores other important findings on diet and autism, and details exactly what types of dietary intervention seem to be working for dramatic symptom improvement with autism.

The Autism and Allergy Overlap – The Autism File analyzes the numerous associations that link the rise in food allergies and autism over the past few decades.

What to Eat?

Julie Hasson's Old Fashioned Rice Pudding

Photo of Old-Fashioned Rice Pudding by vegan cookbook author, Julie Hasson

Everything on Go Dairy Free is suitable for the casein-free diet and we offer many gluten-free recipes. So Delicious Dairy Free has a whole line of gluten-free, casein-free products (from milk alternatives to yogurt to ice cream!) and great recipes on their site, to boot. Here are some tasty gluten-free, casein-free ideas to get your started:

To support the Organization for Autism Research: Like So Delicious on Facebook

Want a discount? Click here for a So Delicious Coupon

About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.


  1. Pingback: Dairy-Free Benefits: The Top 10 Reasons People Go Dairy Free

  2. As a mom with a child touched by autism, thank you for posting this. GFCF diet has help us. It has been a big part of the healing of our son’s gut. I am a believer! I don’t think people understand that we are not celiac but eat this way for other reasons. Hopefully in years to come when more of his symptoms subside and his gut is bullet proof, our son will be able to have a drop of gluten or a drop of dairy without experiencing any side effects. For now we will stay the course of no gluten and no dairy.

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