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Test Foods Study: Preparation for a Large Scale Study into a Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Diet.

BreadProject Area: To develop and test a range of double-blind test foods for regular consumption by young children with autism.

Lead Researcher: Professor Ann LeCouteur

Institution: University of Newcastle

Status: Completed

Description: The need for high quality research into biomedical interventions was identified as a priority when Research Autism was established. This partial study, funded by Research Autism was part of a broader research study called Can Diet Affect Autism (CANDAA), a large scale study into the effects of a gluten-free, casein-free diet. This specific aspect of the broader study investigated the feasibility of producing test foods which were transportable, easy to prepare, palatable and suitable for daily consumption by young children with autism.

Impact: This project provided important information about how to develop and test a range of double-blind test foods for regular consumption by young children with autism. This is essential preparation for a large scale multi-centre randomised control trial of gluten and casein free diets in the management of autism.


Additional Information

This study was essential preparation for the CANDAA project, which is a large scale study into a gluten-free, casein-free diet. This study investigated the feasibility of producing test foods which were transportable, easy to prepare, palatable and suitable for daily consumption by young children with autism.

Heron Foods developed a range of test foods including a muffin, porridge and batter mix, lemon and almond cookies and chocolate krispie bars. The test foods were available in four versions. i) with gluten and casein added, ii) with added casein only, iii) with added gluten only, iv) with no gluten or casein added.

Families participating in the study received a supply of test foods but were not told which version. They also received detailed cooking instructions, along with behaviour and food preference questionnaires for self-completion. Parents offered their children the test foods for 28 days and recorded their daily consumption.

Most of the children tried at least some foods over the 28 days. Muffins and chocolate krispies were most readily accepted. Porridge and batter mix were least well liked. Following the trial, parents confirmed these findings and suggested an alternative savoury food item such as bread should be available.

The families involved demonstrated a high level of motivation and commitment to this study indicating their desire for dietary research in autism. The research team encountering considerable challenges in both the planning and execution of this study, but despite this, a range of test foods have been produced suitable for young children with autism.

This is the first study to develop and test a range of double-blind test foods for regular consumption by young children with autism. This is essential preparation for a large scale multicentered RCT of gluten and casein free diets in the management of autism.


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Quick link:
http://www.researchautism.net/test-foods-study
Updated
25 Oct 2017