Special Diets and Autism Ranking: Unable to rate

Aims and Claims


All special diets are diets which have been modified in some way to bring about specific healthcare benefits.  For example,

  • The Feingold Diet is designed to determine if certain foods or food additives are triggering particular symptoms, such as hyperactivity, and then to manage those symptoms.
  • The gluten-free casein-free diet is designed to eliminate or reduce harmful peptides (a type of protein) created when gluten and casein are broken down in the gut.
  • The ketogenic diet is a low-carbohydrate diet designed to mimic many of the biochemical changes associated with prolonged starvation, although it is not clear how the diet is supposed to work.
  • The specific carbohydrate diet is designed to promote normal gut functioning by removing complex carbohydrates which are supposed to feed harmful fungi and bacteria.


There have been various claims for different special diets. For example,

  • According to the Feingold Association of the United States website, accessed on 27 September 2016, the Feingold Program can bring about a range of improvements. For example, it may help with problems such as short attention spans, cognitive and perceptual disturbances, emotional concerns, neuro-muscular difficulties etc.
  • According to Knivsberg et al (2002) “Children on a gluten and casein free diet had statistically significant reductions in aloofness, routines and rituals, and improvements in responses to learning, as well as various social and emotional and communication measures.”
  • According to Castro et al (2015), “Upon completion of the [ketogenic diet], patients presented ameliorated behavioural symptoms, which were reflected on improved scores in CARS [Childhood Autism Rating Scale], and a reduction in the number of seizures.”
  • According to the pecanbread.com website, accessed on 27 September 2016, “Children with autism who are implementing [the specific carbohydrate diet] are demonstrating remarkable improvements in bowel function, language, eye contact, self-stimulatory behavior, anxiety, and mood.”
31 Oct 2017
Last Review
01 Jan 2017
Next Review
01 Jan 2020