Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Gluten-Free Diet: Helpful or Hype??

Karen Springen of Newsweek has recently written an article titled, A New Diet Villain, about the newly popular gluten-free diet . She reports that Americans are spending $2 billion a year on gluten-free products that advocates claim can help autism, ADHD, and other disorders. She addresses whether this new diet is helpful or more about hype. According to professionals she interviewed, no systematic scientific studies have been conducted verifying the efficacy of the diet. However, many parents have noted remarkable results.

Dr. Kenneth Bock, in his book, Healing the New Childhood Epidemics: Autism, ADHD, Asthma, and Allergies: The Groundbreaking Program for the 4-A Disorders, outlines a strategy that looks at each patient with one of these disorders like a puzzle waiting to be solved: finding and treating the root cause of illness rather than its symptoms, reducing the body's toxin load and helping the body heal itself through nutritional and medical therapy. A gluten-free diet is part of his healing strategy. This book has been very enlightening for the parents of the children I work with. Several have claimed substantial improvement in their child's affect and the ability to socialize.

If these approaches intrigue you, as they do me, my advice is to read through the literature and make your own decision regarding what to do. We would love more scientific data, and I am sure it will come. Until then, we have to take our best guess in our decision-making to help our children be as successful as possible in the future.

What do you think? I would love to hear your opinion on this matter.