Tag Archives: #autismdiet

Autism Healthy Eating: Feeding Your Child Right

Autism has become quite a news sensation nowadays, with significantly higher statistics supporting its rise today than in recent years. A pervasive developmental disorder, Autism highly affects the brain and developmental skills of a child’s first few years of life. From difficulties in verbal to social, emotional, physical and intellectual functions, the impact of autism lies in wide-ranging spectrum with overlapping symptoms making each case unique and distinctive than others. One of the prevalent issues, however, in children with autism is their high selectivity for food (or picky eating).

Autism is all over the news these days, with significantly more children being diagnosed with this condition today than in recent generations. Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder that affects the brain, develops within a child’s first few years of life and affects verbal, social, emotional, physical and intellectual functioning. The causes of autism are not fully understood, and its severity and responsiveness to various treatments vary widely from child to child. Some autism experts believe a healthy diet might help children with autism function more successfully.

Tips to Healthy Eating

Before engaging in any special diet meant for children with ASD, it is imperative that you consult with your child’s physician to ensure that underlying gastric disorders are addressed. Be reminded that in addition to their behavioral and neurological symptoms, children with autism often suffer from digestive and allergy issues. The help of a registered physician or dietitian with experience in treating autism can be of great help to ensure that the food they take will not trigger symptoms, as well as proper nutrition and caloric intake are provided for.

When it comes to food choices, organic and unprocessed foods are ideal choices. Packaged and/or processed foods provide minimal nutrition and inadequate caloric content that will hinder weight development among children. Building a child-with-autism’s diet around these fresh and healthy foods ensure zero nutritional deficiencies and other prevalent digestive risks.

Gluten-Free, Casein-Free diet is considered one of the special diets that can help “treat” autism. This diet, though not scientifically proven, has been going on for quite some time. Parents to children with autism have continually backed the efficiency of this claim that it can help manage, if not minimize the symptoms. Some diets that are also free of allergens as well as yeast can be helpful.

The use of supplements and vitamins is also an important key in ensuring adequate nutritional intake of your child. Supplements like probiotics, omega-3 fatty acids, folic acid, and vitamins A, B6 and C, are just some of the typically recommended ones. Keep in mind that diets like CFGF Diet can make kids lose out on some of the necessary vitamins and minerals prohibited on its food list. To guarantee that necessary nutrition is in your child’s system, the addition of these supplements can be added BUT with the approval of your child’s physician, of course.

All in all, this complex developmental disability called Autism Spectrum Disorders may not be curable but can be managed and controlled with proper intervention and healthy dietary factors. When done with the guidance of an Autism-accredited physician or dietitian, keeping your child’s symptoms under control while maintaining his healthy physique can be attained.

Obesity and Autism

Obesity and Autism | Photo: www.abc.net.auObesity has become a prevalent condition among children nowadays. In the same way, the sudden rise of autism has also been recorded at 1 in 68 children by the CDC.

More research suggests that obesity in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) has also been rising over the years, and has been noted as high as that of developing children. This statistical data is quite staggering. Children with ASD are not only exposed to the same risk factors as that of typical developing children, they are also more susceptible and vulnerable to more adverse effects such as genetic issues, sleeping and eating disorders, physiological challenges, and so on. For all individuals with ASD, obesity poses a huge threat to their overall health and quality of life.

Likely Causes of Obesity to ASD

Three of the likely causes of obesity among children with ASD are genetics, delayed/impaired motor skills development, and psychopharmacological after-effects. Obesity in children with autism is biological in nature. Children with ASD born to parents with obese patterns are more susceptible to such growing up. Genetic determinants, however, are not specifically and fully identified.

The use of psychotropic medications is quite common among individuals with ASD, particularly to those who have severe symptoms. Medications such as stimulants, antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and antipsychotics are usually prescribed to individuals with Autism as well as to those with behavioral and developmental needs. Some 35% to 65% are prescribed with one of these medications while, approximately 10% are prescribed with more than 3 medications. These medications are often used not as a cure but as a means to control and manage the symptoms. Though known to be effective, these medications can result in weight gain as they increase appetite and lessen physical activity. In addition, metabolic syndrome such as raised blood pressure, insulin resistance or glucose intolerance, abdominal obesity, and many more are also noted to be caused by these medications among children with Autism.

Delayed or impaired motor development usually limits the physical activity among children with autism. Most kids with severe autism have sedentary behavior due to low muscle tone, postural instability, and motor-skills impairment. These conditions often lead to involvement in physical activities difficult as these children struggle for balance, endurance, and motor planning.

Other Risk Factors

Autism with obesity are known to be associated with other risk factors such as sleep issues, and picky eating. Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep is quite common among children with ASD. Sleep issues usually affect appetite and metabolic functions leading to weight gain. Children with ASD are also known to be highly selective eaters and have the tendency to be indisposed to specific smells, colors, textures, temperatures, and so on. This “picky” eating routine leaves children to choose unhealthy foods and/or energy-dense foods which are often “more attractive” and much tastier than organic/fresh foods.

The Role of the Family

Most issues concerning dietary, sleep patterns, and physical activity are usually affected by family dynamics. Mealtime routines, feeding styles, and other parental practices relating to food and activities at home directly impact obesity clauses among children with ASD. By developing a healthy family environment and proper dietary management while infusing effective intervention, obesity among children with ASD can be prevented.