Since a gluten-free casein-free diet implies a drastic lifestyle change, it's no wonder many potential dieters find themselves wondering, "Does the GFCF diet work?" The GFCF diet is employed primarily for cases of autism, but this diet is also being promoted for several other conditions, some which have a neurological basis while others have simply responded poorly to past treatment measures. Whether or not the GFCF diet is effective depends largely on a testimonial-driven community and the support of certain alternative doctors. However, the GFCF diet has not been marketed as a "cure-all" for conditions like autism; rather it has proved to be a helpful supplemental treatment with a decent dose of credible science behind it.
Does the GFCF Diet Work?
As previously mentioned, the science behind the GFCF diet is credible. Foods such as gluten and casein can provoke reactions in sensitive individuals. These reactions affect the body in a number of negative ways, including neurological symptoms that may influence behavior and hinder learning. You can visit the official website of the GFCF diet to learn the precise physiological details of this regimen, but essentially this diet is employed on the premise that autism disorders may be caused or exacerbated by food sensitivities.
There is also a yeast-factor at play. Certain poorly digested foods in the body may contribute to an overgrowth of candida albicans and other fungal organisms. These harmful yeasts can grow to a point where they overcome the immune system. Moreover, microorganisms emit byproducts. In the case of harmful yeasts, these byproducts can prove even more detrimental to the host. Some of these byproducts are actually powerful neurotoxins which researchers have found in brain tissues of individuals with autism. This fact alone is enough to warrant the implementation of a diet that may help control yeast issues.
So, again, does the GFCF diet work? The rationale behind this regimen is fairly solid, and since autism has been pronounced incurable by the mainstream medical community, the GFCF diet gives parents a sense of hope and control over their child's condition.
This diet is heavily driven by patient testimonials and individual cases, some of which you can read about on the GFCF site. Success stories and positive accounts encourage others to give this system a try. Moreover, the GFCF diet comes with few warnings and may actually prove healthier than the standard American diet. So, in the end, it really cannot hurt to try, and it may hurt not to.
The real question lies in why some parents experience success by adjusting their child's diet, and others do not. If you were to skip around the autism forums and take note of which threads hail successes or failures of persons who have tried this diet, the results are mixed. Very few, if any, individuals have been harmed by the diet, and there have been a moderate amount of successes, though even fewer claiming to have a child who's been cured on this regimen.
Objectively, it is highly likely many of these children have underlying food sensitivities. Also, the standard American diet is laden with processed foods that include genetically modified ingredients as well as a hearty dose of additives and preservatives. These foods are unhealthy for any individual, but they can be particularly harmful to sensitive individuals. Hence, it is of no surprise that a child would improve on a careful GFCF diet which promotes whole foods and purer ingredients. Although it is possible to eat poorly on a GFCF diet, persons willing to endure such a restricted regimen are more likely to be conscious of unhealthy ingredients.
Regardless of whether or not the diet can cure autism, it can certainly be beneficial for children with underlying and unknown food sensitivities. It can also potentially help cases of autism exacerbated by fungal conditions. The diet has enough positive feedback to warrant a try, and, when executed properly, it can be a highly nutritious and generally healthy method of eating.