New Survey Shows Therapeutic Diets More Effective Than Nutraceuticals and Medications for ASD

November 13, 2023

A “Healthy Diet” Demonstrated the Most Benefits, Followed by Keto, GFCF and Feingold

A new research article from Julie Matthews and James Adams has examined the effectiveness of 13 therapeutic diets for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Their study used data from a survey with 818 participants that analyzed each diet’s benefits, adverse effects and symptom improvements. The authors found that the average overall benefit of diets on the whole was 2.36 (0 = no benefit, 4 = great benefit), which was far better than nutraceuticals (1.59/4.0) and psychiatric/seizure medications (1.39/4.0). Overall, this article reported that therapeutic diets are generally safe and effective for individuals with ASD. The highest-rated diet based on overall benefit was a “healthy diet” (i.e., a diet high in vegetables, fruit, and protein and low in junk food). However, the diets that most frequently appeared in the top five for symptom improvements were the ketogenic diet, GFCF diet, Feingold diet, food avoidance diet based on observation, and a low sugar diet. Symptom improvement varied depending on the diet, likely due to different mechanisms of action. The authors concluded their paper by pointing out that implementing a therapeutic diet is inexpensive compared to many other treatments (e.g., years of behavioral therapy or special education.) They suggest hiring an expert nutritionist to receive a personalized diet approach, which has been effective for individuals with ASD.

Original Study

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