Autism and Nutrition – Are They Connected?

by | Apr 12, 2021

Autism Awareness MonthMore than 3.5 million people in the U.S. are living with Autism. Over the years, more research has been done on how diet can correlate with it. Studies have shown that people with Autism have abnormal immune responses to foods that contain gluten, casein, and sometimes soy.

For example, a study of 150 children with Autism found that 87% had sensitivity to gluten and 90% had sensitivity to casein which is found in dairy products. Children who followed a gluten and casein free diet displayed improvements in eye contact, learning skills, hyperactivity, panic attacks, communication, and social interaction. This may be due to children with Autism having deficiencies in the digestive enzymes required to break these foods down and could benefit from taking digestive enzymes. More research is needed to confirm this.

People with Autism tend to be sensitive to taste, smell, color and texture of foods and may have limited foods they enjoy eating. This may result in a diet that is missing essential nutrients. Studies have shown that supplementing with omega 3-fatty acids, vitamins & minerals can help provide nutrients that may be missing and improve communication, daily living skills, and social skills.

Nutrition Recommendations for People With Autism

It is recommended people with Autism follow these Guidelines:

  1. Consume a variety of vegetables and fruits.
  2. Consume adequate quality protein.
  3. Eat adequate, but not excessive, calories.
  4. Keep junk food consumption to a minimum.
  5. Follow a gluten, casein, and soy-free diet.
  6. Avoid artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.

At AZ Dietitians, we specialize in helping all individuals follow a nutrition plan personalized for their specific needs that will lead to optimal wellness. Simply contact us today to schedule an appointment.


Information adapted from,



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