Pros and Cons of Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Diets for Autism

Pros and Cons of Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Diets for Autism
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What did the most comprehensive double-blind study of diet for autism find and what are the potential downsides?

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

When you read in alternative medicine journals that there’s “a great deal of evidence that foods containing casein or gluten contribute significantly to [autism] and should be eliminated from the diet…almost always lead[ing] to symptomatic improvement,” they’re presumably talking about the published anecdotes and case series that claim wild success—but had no control group, though there were two year-long controlled trials that also showed remarkable benefits, but couldn’t discount placebo effects.

The double-blind studies that did control for placebo effects failed to find benefits, but they only lasted a few weeks. This was to be the study to break the logjam: a months-long, double-blind, controlled study. They put 14 kids with autism on a gluten-free, casein-free diet for four to six weeks, and then, for the next three months, challenged them every week with double-blind, placebo-controlled food tests, secretly giving them gluten (just gluten), or just casein—or both, or neither, every week, month after month.

Here’s what happened to each of the 14 kids in terms of their social relationships and their language skills throughout each of the challenges. And, bottom line? Nothing. No apparent impact on behavioral disturbances or autism-related behaviors. So, does that mean case closed? Well, “proponents of [autism diets] might regard the 4–6 week implementation phase prior to the challenges as too short for the [gluten-free, casein-free] diet to take full effect.” In other words, one could argue this is yet another double-blind study that didn’t give the diet long enough time to work. And so, maybe the kids were still feeling the effects of gluten and casein they consumed more than a month previously. And so, no wonder extra gluten or casein didn’t make them even worse?

It’s possible, I guess, which is why you’ll see systematic reviews of the sum total of evidence, like this one, published 2017 in the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, concluding that although some studies showed benefits, the “data [are] inadequate to make conclusions” either way. In other words, the “SOE”—the strength of evidence—is considered “insufficient” to endorse such diets.    

What’s the harm in giving it a try, though? Well, “[g]iven the effort, time, and money that [a gluten-free, casein-free] diet requires, knowing whether” it actually works would kinda be a good thing to know. I mean, there are downsides; “being on a special diet can have unintended negative social consequences, when children are not able to participate conventionally in birthday celebrations and class treats or eat in restaurants or other people’s homes.” Autism can be isolating enough as it is.

“[T]he [overall] evidence for the effectiveness of [these diets] is weak and thus these diets cannot be generally recommended as a treatment…” Yet, parents continue to give it a try, figuring, “Look, the drugs don’t work, in terms of helping the core symptoms. So, why not just give it a try and leave no stone unturned?” I can understand that; however, there are the potential downsides, like further “stigmatization, diversion of…resources [away from other treatments],” and, they suggest, a concern about “nutritional deficiency.”

What they’re worried about is bone health. Those with autism are at elevated risk for bone fractures. Now, lower bone mineral density in individuals with autism may be due to a variety of factors: lack of vitamin D, chronic use of medications that can weaken bones, lack of weight-bearing exercise—but, maybe dietary restrictions play a role.

Do children with autism on gluten-free, casein-free diets have lower calcium intake? Yes—in fact, nine times the odds of failing to meet recommended calcium intakes. Does this translate out to reduced bone mass? Maybe so, as those on casein-free diets appeared to have less bone development. Now, there’s “controversy over whether dairy products…[are] the best source of calcium,” but that is where most kids are getting their calcium. And so, if you remove dairy, you have to replace it with other calcium-rich foods. As the study they cited points out, there’s lots of non-dairy sources of calcium—but, they only provide calcium if you actually eat them.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Mike Tinnion. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

When you read in alternative medicine journals that there’s “a great deal of evidence that foods containing casein or gluten contribute significantly to [autism] and should be eliminated from the diet…almost always lead[ing] to symptomatic improvement,” they’re presumably talking about the published anecdotes and case series that claim wild success—but had no control group, though there were two year-long controlled trials that also showed remarkable benefits, but couldn’t discount placebo effects.

The double-blind studies that did control for placebo effects failed to find benefits, but they only lasted a few weeks. This was to be the study to break the logjam: a months-long, double-blind, controlled study. They put 14 kids with autism on a gluten-free, casein-free diet for four to six weeks, and then, for the next three months, challenged them every week with double-blind, placebo-controlled food tests, secretly giving them gluten (just gluten), or just casein—or both, or neither, every week, month after month.

Here’s what happened to each of the 14 kids in terms of their social relationships and their language skills throughout each of the challenges. And, bottom line? Nothing. No apparent impact on behavioral disturbances or autism-related behaviors. So, does that mean case closed? Well, “proponents of [autism diets] might regard the 4–6 week implementation phase prior to the challenges as too short for the [gluten-free, casein-free] diet to take full effect.” In other words, one could argue this is yet another double-blind study that didn’t give the diet long enough time to work. And so, maybe the kids were still feeling the effects of gluten and casein they consumed more than a month previously. And so, no wonder extra gluten or casein didn’t make them even worse?

It’s possible, I guess, which is why you’ll see systematic reviews of the sum total of evidence, like this one, published 2017 in the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, concluding that although some studies showed benefits, the “data [are] inadequate to make conclusions” either way. In other words, the “SOE”—the strength of evidence—is considered “insufficient” to endorse such diets.    

What’s the harm in giving it a try, though? Well, “[g]iven the effort, time, and money that [a gluten-free, casein-free] diet requires, knowing whether” it actually works would kinda be a good thing to know. I mean, there are downsides; “being on a special diet can have unintended negative social consequences, when children are not able to participate conventionally in birthday celebrations and class treats or eat in restaurants or other people’s homes.” Autism can be isolating enough as it is.

“[T]he [overall] evidence for the effectiveness of [these diets] is weak and thus these diets cannot be generally recommended as a treatment…” Yet, parents continue to give it a try, figuring, “Look, the drugs don’t work, in terms of helping the core symptoms. So, why not just give it a try and leave no stone unturned?” I can understand that; however, there are the potential downsides, like further “stigmatization, diversion of…resources [away from other treatments],” and, they suggest, a concern about “nutritional deficiency.”

What they’re worried about is bone health. Those with autism are at elevated risk for bone fractures. Now, lower bone mineral density in individuals with autism may be due to a variety of factors: lack of vitamin D, chronic use of medications that can weaken bones, lack of weight-bearing exercise—but, maybe dietary restrictions play a role.

Do children with autism on gluten-free, casein-free diets have lower calcium intake? Yes—in fact, nine times the odds of failing to meet recommended calcium intakes. Does this translate out to reduced bone mass? Maybe so, as those on casein-free diets appeared to have less bone development. Now, there’s “controversy over whether dairy products…[are] the best source of calcium,” but that is where most kids are getting their calcium. And so, if you remove dairy, you have to replace it with other calcium-rich foods. As the study they cited points out, there’s lots of non-dairy sources of calcium—but, they only provide calcium if you actually eat them.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Mike Tinnion. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Doctor's Note

This is the last in a six-part series on the role of gluten- and dairy-free diets in the treatment of autism. In case you missed the others, check them out:

Wait, milk not protective against bone fractures? See Is Milk Good for Our Bones?

What about calcium supplements? See Are Calcium Supplements Safe? and Are Calcium Supplements Effective?

There is a dietary intervention that has been shown in double-blind trials to help. Check it out:

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

132 responses to “Pros and Cons of Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Diets for Autism

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  1. Really good series on Autism! Mental health is a big concern of mine. I will be thrilled if more literature on ADHD and concentration is discussed, but until then, I will harness the power of whole plant foods and my vitamin D, B, and algae EPA/DHA supplements.




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    1. Dr. Pamela Popper has been doing a lot of checking in on mental health lately, you might want to check her work out. She has been working with Dr. Peter Breggin, a proponent of removing drugs from psychiatry.




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  2. Population study where you get half the people to do GFCF and half to do soy free, nightshade free. Then everyone has to read labels and have a nightmare feeding their kids.




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      1. oh ok , well I was talking about autistic kids and malnourished kids not rat studies . It truly is amazing what a little milk can do for kids who are not being nourished properly .




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          1. I take that as a sarcastic “good luck” . Listen my job is to promote dairy consumption and my computer picks up positive feed on dairy automatically from around the globe , I was only commenting on the positive outcome of dairy and autism . We encourage not only dairy but wide variety of fruits and vegetable consumption for optimum health .




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            1. Sorry that you have a job encouraging dairy consumption. I consumed dairy for decades and got cancer. I am not a friend of dairy. Of course, I don’t know what caused my cancer, but after reading “The China Study” and educating myself on sites such as this one, I am angry about the encouragement of dairy. My whole family was a consumer of dairy and 4 out of 5 of us got cancer. The one who didn’t get cancer just died this year from diabetes. We were forced to drink milk as kids and I am irked no end by the dairy and meat industries.




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              1. I am indeed sorry to hear of your troubles . Would a regular Doctor , not a internet Doctor but the kind that you see in his office ever advise you to stop consuming milk because you have cancer ? No I don’t think so because it’s very important to keep the nutrients high in an easy to digest form . Harvard has recently come out with several positive studies on milk also , showing that regular milk consumption lessens the risk of colon cancer .
                The company I work for is very progressive , we bottle our milk in returnable glass and our customers love our A2 milk , we get letters every week praising the quality and taste of our products . We also give to charitable food banks every week.




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                1. Buster, it must be hard to work for an industry such as the dairy industry since, in my opinion, dairy facilitates disease–sort of like someone who has to work for a cigarette company. I’m sorry….




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                  1. Excuse me? Tobacco has no know benefit I am aware of and is not even a food . Listen to this video again , where do kids get their calcium from ? Milk .




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                    1. Buster, you MUST have noticed everyone’s comments on this forum. We do not consume milk–and for extremely good reasons! I’m sorry for your sake that you work for an industry that actually results in ill health. It must be hard to endure.




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                    2. Buster, studies have shown that milk/dairy consumption do not causally improve the structure and strength of bone. In fact, adults who continue to consume dairy remain at the same if not reach a heightened risk of bone fracture from falls. #interestingisitnot

                      There are plenty of other calcium containing foods that are natural to humans. Animal milk remains an unnatural food for a human body. Plain & simple.

                      Sure, it’s a great substitute for malnourishment where there are no other options, but should be used intentionally as such, and not as a standard dietary staple.

                      Got upper respiratory issues? Postnasal drip, ear infections, eye infections, sore throat, asthma, frequent pneumonias, allergies, etc can all disappear after eliminating dairy from the diet. Just think about the # of people who have been put on prescription drugs (sometimes lifelong) for these conditions that are often easily reversible with dairy elimination. They don’t teach that in medical school!




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                2. Buster, you sound foolish when you say things like calling Dr. Gregor an “internet doctor.” Clearly you have no idea of whom you’re speaking. Dr. Gregor is a well established M.D and is very experienced at being a “regular doctor” and an exceptional one at that. Do learn about things before making such statements, for your own sake at least.
                  He’s also one of the most well researched and qualified M.D’s you’ll find. “Regular doctors” require no nutritional training at all and in the rarer schools where they do, the requirement is for 15 hours (if memory serves) out of their entire career as a student.
                  Your next door neighbor may very well be more equipped to give you nutritional advice than your doctor.

                  All that being said, even your typical doctors are starting to recommend plant based diets because the research and evidence is so overwhelming. Doctors may think people will only do so much and therefore not reccomend what is best but what they feel the patient will actually do.
                  Many doctors themselves are plant based.

                  Harvard has had studies showing the detrimental effects of dairy, so it’s funny you chose to mention them while ignoring their other studies, but unsurprising as those in the industry are all too well known for the most obscene and shameless cherry picking.

                  Off topic, but since you brought up good deeds and the such, I’d like to inform you that you’re not impressing those of us aware of the dairy industry with your charitable efforts as curing cancer couldn’t make up for the cruelty that is the (even the most “free range”) dairy industry.
                  Also, donating a harmful and unsustainable (see cowspiracy for example) is not a very great donation and your efforts would be better served donating apples.

                  Back to the topic of health, do check out Dr. Greger’s other videos on dairy.

                  My personal experience in giving up dairy has been profound. I went vegan for ethical/moral reasons, before that, I was a vegetarian (since the age of 9) for those same reasons but I was incredibly ignorant and indoctrinated about the dairy and egg industries. Upon learning the truth which I did not want to believe and had hoped my research would debunk what I had heard from others who educated themselves on the matter, it was clear that going vegan was the only option if I wanted to claim to care about animals, environment, compassion, justice, etc.
                  Immediately after giving up dairy (and eggs but I very rarely ate eggs), I was no longer perpetually congested and other issues had resolved themselves such as constant bloating. My skin got better and better, my hair got shinier and softer, I even stopped getting headaches and colds, I had more energy, my voice improved due to no more congestion (big deal for me as I sing), and I literally have not gotten sick since going vegan.

                  The most and best nutrition is that from whole plant foods. I even had a cavity (from before going vegan) that I couldn’t take care of due to lack of insurance at the time, heal itself and go away according to dental x-rays. I attributed it to the plant based diet giving me more minerals (among other benefits) than my previous dairy-rich diet had.




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                  1. Some internet Doctors , are Naturpathic,some are Chiropractics , who knows some might have some other Doctorate degree . Lets face it there are a lot of Doctors on the internet that like to make you believe they are MD,s when in fact they are not . When I said internet Doctor I was not really thinking about Doctor Greger but some of the others on the internet who like to sell things online and come across as a MD ,it no doubt helps sales. Nutritionfact.org is a well respected website and is well known .
                    As for your criticism that we are donating a harmful substance , I would remind you that plant milks were not part of the study , this would be because of ethical reasons . Plant milks are not suitable for young children as they can become malnourished rather quickly .
                    Also plant milks we have looked at do not fair well when you check for heavy metal contamination , pesticides etc.
                    According to the Canadian Paediatric Society and I quote “plant based milks are inappropriate substitutes for cows milk . ”
                    Now I wonder why they would say something like that ? Is it simply because if you feed your children this fake stuff you would starve your kids to death ?
                    Or is it because of the Vitamin A Palmitate . Oh yes this the synthetic version of Vit A which is associated with birth defects and bone fractures all the while having zero health benefit . Lets see what else , tumor enhancement , joint disorders , osteoporosis, extreme dryness of eyes , mouth and skin , enlargement of liver and spleen and immune suppression . The calcium carbonate is just plain old chalk , bet that is good for you .
                    Lets not forget the thickener carrageenan , which has been suspected of causing ulcers in the colon and cancers in the GI tract .
                    Of course last but not least , you know the 50 or so almonds they use to make a half a gallon of milk , which is so environmentally friendly , each almond grown takes 5 litres of water to produce one almond .

                    and bone fractures




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                    1. I only WISH that I had had the wonderful opportunity to grow up on the plant milk I consume now instead of cow’s milk. My plant milk is healthier than cow’s milk. I use organic soy milk made with water only. Since doing this, as part of a WFPB diet, I have become healthier–not sicker! Plant milks are far better for children and children do not become malnourished by consuming them. Perhaps you have not noticed that folks on this site are not impressed by a doctor’s association due to most doctors being woefully unaware of nutrition, in general. Also, as you go up the food chain, ” heavy metal contamination , pesticides etc.,” increase. That means that plant milk would be expected to have less “contamination, pesticides, etc.” as you move away from plants and toward animal foods, most certainly to include cow’s milk. I can’t speak for everyone else on this site, but I am certain that the few soybeans used to make my soy milk uses a LOT LESS water than that used in animal milk production. As to tumor production, dairy is associated with prostate and other cancers. As to bone fractures, be aware that countries that consume more animal milk, HAVE MORE FRACTURES. Please look these things up and educate yourself.
                      Once again, I’m sorry you have your job…. It must be difficult.




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                    2. Buster, you clearly implied that Dr. Greger was an “internet doctor.” If you didn’t mean to do so then your statement was simply irrelevant since we’re talking about actual research and actual doctors. Further more, most of the appropriately named “internet doctors” out there actually strongly advocate the consumption of animal products.

                      It’s a scientific fact that the product you’re donating is one of the most detrimental things to human health and if you spent half as much time looking at the real research and overwhelming evidence as you do learning your industry propaganda, you might choose a different career path or at least wouldn’t dare try to argue amongst educated people.

                      You said it yourself, “plant milks that we [the dairy industry] have looked at.” Just like Monsanto and big pharma shamelessly cherry pick and even buy their own “science,” so very much does the animal agriculture industry.

                      Dairy milk loses many of its properties through the processing it must undergo and so then it must be fortified to make up for those losses. Taking a multi-vitamin would be more efficient (or better yet, eating real food). Don’t try to argue protein as there are far better forms and the protein in milk is harmful to us and even interferes with one of the most important things to our health (and one of which those on an omnivorous diet do not get nearly enough of): antioxidants.

                      Dairy and other animal products are long known for their contamination of pesticides (among other things) so what a silly argument for you to try to make. The animals are fed the pesticide-laden GMO crops. Further more, animal products are not only the biggest source of the heavy metals you bring up, but we also absorb the heavy metals from within them readily whereas plants containing heavy metals do not readily get absorbed. There are studies on that and at least one video on that here which explains this in greater detail.
                      But for example, if you ate a liver with heavy metals, you’d get heavy metals, if you ate that same liver and had it with some broccoli which also contained some heavy metals, you’d end up with LESS heavy metals in your system. Plants are miraculous things.

                      Any plant that is GMO and/or grown conventionally will have pesticides, this is why non-gmo and especially organic is best.
                      Also, to say you (your industry) found heavy metals when searching for them, well, that’s silly as well because literally just about everything has some trace amount of heavy metals. But that is the typical blanket statement sent to the masses by industries like yours to try to promote one’s own product… if only the general public would educate themselves. Thanks to people like Dr. Greger making the best and latest science readily available, they’re doing so more and more, but on the hand… that’s why you’re here.

                      On somewhat of a side not, I ask that you please do not use the term “ethical reasons” to me. I’m far too aware of your industry to stomach it.

                      If children drank fortified plant milk in place of dairy (which is also fortified), they would not be malnourished and in fact, aren’t. There are many extremely healthy and bright children who have grown up and are currently growing up vegan. Moreover, if a person fed their child an adequate plant based diet, there would be ZERO need for ANY kind of milk. The only time any child of any species needs milk, is when they’re nursing as infants. But plant milks can be a healthy addition to anyone’s diet if they so please.

                      If the Canadian Pediatric Society recommends dairy milk over plant milk, it wouldn’t be the first time the medical industry was swayed by the animal agriculture industry. But the medical industry also has to think about ignorant parents who might choose the wrong type of plant milk as a source of calcium and vitamin d and protein. They could choose coconut milk, they could choose unfortified plant milks expecting to get exactly what they’d get from the fortified dairy they’d otherwise consume, and so on… So honestly, the statement both speaks loudly and says nothing at all.
                      However, I did read others discussing the topic of nut milks under another video of this series, and one doctor who does recommend plant based for children, does not advise infants drinking nut milks until a certain age. So it’s important that parents learn about these things in a world where we’re basically relearning how to properly eat and feed our children due to all the lies we’ve been bombarded with for so long and diseased by. Sadly, the medical industry is only just beginning to catch up.

                      Can you please explain to me what is fake about almonds/cashews/coconuts/rice/hemp seeds/soybeans/etc.? And what is REAL about an animal of another species drinking another mother and child’s milk from an entirely different species, PAST the age of nursing nonetheless?

                      You’re using vitamin A palmitate (which I am thoroughly against) as an argument against plant milk. But all fortified dairy milk contains added vitamin A palmitate. Whereas you can not only make your own plant milk and even fortify yourself to your liking (however it’s very nutritious without fortification), but there are more and more plant milks coming out that have no vitamin A palmitate added. Silk actually has one that I know of which does not contain it but does contain calcium and vitamin D and even extra protein (pea protein which is a great source of protein).

                      It’s pretty ironic that you would bring up fractures and bone loss when in fact, higher hip fracture rates and greater bone loss has been recorded in those who drink dairy milk regularly. Yes, it’s been speculated that this is possibly due to the palmitate added and palmitate is indeed added to dairy milk.

                      Ok, carageenan has been shown to have negative effects in its DEGRADED form which is not the form used as a food additive. Secondly, there are SO many plant milks that are carageenan free and even put that on their label.

                      Buster, you are not seriously trying to use a sustainability argument are you? Out of all the milks one could possibly choose from, there is no milk more devastating to the environment than DAIRY. Dairy alone is one of the most detrimental epidemics happening to this planet. Please see Cowspiracy or visit Cowspiracy’s facts page for a very quick education. If all the dairy drinkers switched to almond milk, the planet would be far better off. Animal agriculture in general is one of the top few biggest and arguably THE biggest threats to this planet.
                      But alas, one does not need to supplement their diet with any type of milk, nature kind of made that clear in our design… the whole nursing vs. weaned thing and all…

                      Your arguments are as fleeting as they are already disproven. As more and more people are going plant based, the disease rates will lower, life expectancy will increase, the planet will show signs of healing, etc. The industry’s agenda is to stop people from going plant based and sustain their bank accounts, but it’s just a desperate attempt, they have no chance because the truth can only be hidden for so long. And that time is over, it’s passing.




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                    3. Buster

                      Sorry but our figures for water use and almonds are a bit rich. After all, it apparently takes 1,020 litres or water to produce one litre of cow’s
                      https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2013/jan/10/how-much-water-food-production-waste

                      So if you say it takes to 250 litres of water to produce 4 pints of almond milk (I am assuming that you mean US pints not real ones) then 4 pints are about 1.9 litres.
                      tps://www.google.com.au/search?ei=h3IeWrm9PIix0gTeuqngCw&q=how+many+litres+are+there+in+4+pints&oq=how+many+litres+are+there+in+4+pints&gs_l=psy-ab.12..0i7i30k1j0i8i7i30k1j0i8i30k1.365410.366075.0.373146.2.2.0.0.0.0.347.643.2-1j1.2.0….0…1c.1.64.psy-ab..0.2.638….0.CZHTQ9KcqDA

                      So it takes about 32 litres of water to produce one litre of almond milk. Not ideal, true. But it apparently takes 1,020 litres of water to produce one litre of cows’s milk. Yet you criticise plant milk for being environmentally unfriendly!

                      Can you see why people think that your industry issues misleading and deceptive statements? After all, you mix up gallons and litres making it difficult to compare the figures and in any case you omit the equivalent figures for cow’s milk




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                    4. Oh for an edit function on these posts. Some words and figures are missing from my post (dodgy keyboard)

                      Second line “cow’s MILK”

                      And, most importantly, in the penultimate paragraph I should have written 132 litres not 32 litres of water to produce one litre of almond milk. Either way though, the figures are dwarfed by the massive 1,020 litres of water required to produce one litre of cow’s milk.




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                  2. Thanks for the good news, S. I also cured my Gout and my prostate problems have greatly diminished when I adopted a Whole Foods Plant based diet. I have also lost 15 lbs. and most of all I feel great. I am a very happy grandfather. Life is good! Thank you Dr. G. For all your efforts to help.




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                3. If your customers had to step over the dead bull calf on each trip to the refrigerator they might think differently about their milk consumption. It’s absolutely ludricrous for humans to be suckling on the teet of another species. It isn’t what I would call progress.




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                4. Congratulations, Buster! You’ve learned the art of propaganda well, especially the use of facile arguments. Since the percentage of doctor with meaningful nutrition education approaches zero it would take an educated observer to see through your smokescreen. Unfortunately, as the followers of Dr. Gregor are generally educated in nutrition, this is the wrong forum for such tactics. Better luck next time.




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                  1. Michael McKee
                    I have the easiest job in the world , quality milk sells itself , not only for the taste and nutrition it provides , but it’s economical too . We easily compete against plant milks as milk is superior on every single point of nutrients , after all it is just the standard that you try and get your plant milks too isn’t it ? According to the experts who’s job it is to assure that your kids get the nutrition they need they say there is no substitute . So go back to your drawing board and planning sessions and see if you come up to something close to milk .




                    2
                    1. There’s nothing easier to sell than milk because the Dairy Council advertises too much. Thus they sell cancer, osteoporosis, tumors, increased pollutants because it is further up the supply chain, another species’ babies food, death of those babies, and pus….
                      What a job you have to sell all that!

                      Virus-free.
                      http://www.avast.com




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                    2. When I was growing up, we were always told “Don’t mention the war” if there were German visitors around.

                      I suppose in your job it’s a case of “Don’t mention the cardiovascular disease risk”?

                      Like simplistic studies of saturated fat consumption, simple studies of dairy consumption don’t usually find an association with cardiovascular disease. However, that all changes once the choice of replacement nutrients is analysed. According to Harvard

                      “What did predict risk of cardiovascular disease was “fat swapping.” When dairy fat was replaced with the same number of calories from vegetable fat or polyunsaturated fat, the risk of cardiovascular disease dropped by 10% and 24%, respectively. Furthermore, replacing the same number of calories from dairy fat with healthful carbohydrates from whole grains was associated with a 28% lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

                      Replacing dairy fat with other types of animal fat, such as from red meat, predicted a modest 6% higher risk of cardiovascular disease”
                      https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/2016/10/25/dairy-fat-cardiovascular-disease-risk/

                      Dairy may be less unhealthy than meat (or refined carbs for that matter) but most of us would prefer to do without increased heart disease risk altogether.




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                    3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4513492/

                      Traditional efforts to prevent cardiovascular disease have emphasized the benefits of cholesterol lowering and statin drugs. Often overlooked is the fact that numerous studies of cholesterol lowering have failed to demonstrate a mortality benefit and the benefits of statins may have been overstated. The Mediterranean diet has consistently lowered cardiovascular events and mortality in numerous studies and does not typically lower cholesterol levels. Alternative theories of atherosclerosis are independent of cholesterol metabolism and may provide the key to future preventive strategies.

                      ASSOCIATION DOES NOT EQUAL CAUSATION
                      The cholesterol hypothesis links cholesterol intake and blood levels to cardiovascular disease. Because cholesterol is considered a risk factor for atherosclerosis many believe that lowering cholesterol in the blood is the best way to prevent CHD. Ideally, risk factors should help us distinguish those who will develop a disease from those who will not. However, if one examines the original Framingham Heart Study data (as an example) it is clear that the cholesterol levels of those who developed CHD and those who did not overlap except when the total cholesterol level exceeded 380 mg/dL or was less than 150 mg/dL (Figure ​(Figure1).1). Moreover, cholesterol may be associated with CHD but that does not prove causation. Despite the fact that high triglycerides and low HDL have long been associated with CHD, studies designed to raise HDL or lower triglycerides have failed to reduce CHD mortality. Similarly, cholesterol should not automatically become a treatment target. It may be a leap of faith to assume that lowering cholesterol is the best way to prevent CHD.

                      LOWERING CHOLESTEROL MAY NOT LOWER CARDIOVASCULAR MORTALITY
                      The rare occurrence of CHD in isolated, rural societies such as Tukisenta, New Guinea has been attributed to low cholesterol levels[7]. However, it is equally plausible that the diets and lifestyles of these individuals may protect them from CHD. While we may never be certain if low cholesterol or a healthy lifestyle (or both) are responsible for preventing CHD in these societies, there is ample evidence that lowering cholesterol does not consistently lower CHD mortality. Reducing cholesterol blood levels by reducing dietary saturated fats is commonly recommended, but an exhaustive review and meta-analysis of 72 dietary studies concluded that reduced consumption of saturated fat does not reduce cardiovascular mortality[8]. Many drugs such as niacin, fibrates, and bile acid sequestrants can lower cholesterol levels, but the recent AHA/ACC guidelines on cholesterol concluded that these drugs do not lower CHD mortality rates[9]. Moreover, the results of cholesterol-lowering statin trials, as will be discussed and analyzed later, do not consistently lower mortality rates[10]. Consider also the dramatic mortality benefit of the Mediterranean diet in the Lyon Diet Heart Study which was achieved without a reduction in cholesterol levels[2-4]. Thus, the hypothesis that lowering cholesterol lowers mortality from CHD is not supported by many clinical research studies.

                      EARLY STATIN TRIALS MAY HAVE BEEN FLAWED
                      Early statin trials reported significant mortality benefits, yet serious concerns have been raised in some studies regarding biased results, premature trial terminations, under reporting of adverse events, high numbers of patients lost to follow-up and oversight by the pharmaceutical company sponsor[10]. Heightened awareness within the scientific community regarding problems in clinical trial conduct and analysis – exemplified by the unreported risk of heart attacks in patients taking the pain killers Vioxx and Celebrex – led to new regulatory rules for clinical trials in 2005[11]. Curiously, statin trials conducted after 2005 have failed to demonstrate a consistent mortality benefit[10].




                      0
                5. Milk or other dairy is NOT “EASY TO DIGEST” and I can’t believe you are saying Unbelievably naive and a lie. I suppose next be saying beef is high fiber and heavy beef eaters don’t have 4X the incidence of colon cancer!




                  0
            2. I have an idea for a new marketing campaign for your industry: Instead of ‘Got Milk’, how about ‘Got Menarche’? You can tout the benefits of early onset menstruation to the 9-12 year old female demographic. ‘Good Luck.’




              12
              1. Instead of sarcasm, why not share some links to studies for the issues with milk? This gentleman was not trying to be rude. Probably because of his job, it will be hard for him to take in the full measure of the science, but that would be a start.




                7
                1. Corinnemc, it’s hard not to react in such a way when you’re dealing with those in the industry as their purpose is to promote propaganda. It’s most often like debating with a lobbyist, the intention usually isn’t to reason but again, to spread propaganda.
                  Maybe this person just so happens to work in the industry and is genuinely trying to discuss the matter in which case links are a great idea.




                  4
                2. Corinemic – An excellent book (completely scientifically referenced) regarding the very serious health issues associated with dairy is Whitewash, The Disturbing Truth about Cows Milk and Your Health by Joseph Keon. Here’s a link to the book:
                  http://www.whitewashthebook.com/

                  Here is some new information coming out of the UC-Davis research showing a very strong link of cows milk with breast cancer. The cause? Bovine Leukemia Virus which infects virtually all of the milk in this country (as milk is collected in vats where it is all exposed to the virus). Here’s a link to that research:
                  http://news.berkeley.edu/2015/09/15/bovine-leukemia-virus-breast-cancer/

                  To Buster – There are many “regular” doctors who advise one to not drink milk for many, many reasons. Milk allergies are extremely well known, documented and understood by “regular” doctors. I myself gave up drinking milk and consuming dairy when I was a teenager and was extremely lactose intolerant as is my entire family. Fifty years ago, when I stopped consuming the nasty stuff, no one knew the term lactose intolerance. But no one in our family could tolerate consuming it. Fifty years later I have no osteoporosis or bone problems. Many physicians now suggest that milk and dairy not be consumed as does the PCRM (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine) Clinic in Washington, D.C. as does “America’s Pediatrician” Benjamin Spock, M.D. who has written numerous books on pediatrics. He advocates a whole food plant based diet for all individuals for their entire lives including children and advocates no cows milk, only human Mother’s milk. You can read about this in his last book.
                  The American Dietetic ASsociation advocates a WFPB diet sans milk. Kaiser Permanente, American’s largest health care insurance group advocates a whole food plant based diet sans milk. So there are many, many physicians that understand that milk is great for a baby calf but not baby humans. Think about it – even cows don’t drink their own milk once weaning has taken place. No mammal does.




                  10
                3. corinnemc, as long as buster is getting paid by the industry to spread propaganda, it is unlikely that he’ll be interested in taking “in the full measure of the science.”




                  5
            3. Just what “positive” effect are you speaking of between dairy and autism? It seems the studies range from makes no difference (the relatively short, double blind studies) to dairy is harmful (the other studies.)




              4
        1. “who are not being nourished properly” is the operative statement here. Cachectic? Milk isn’t a bad option. But a glass with every middle class meal…?




          0
      2. Do you mean the fantasy novel written by a guy in his bedroom in the U.S.?

        On a different subject, I saw on 60 minutes yesterday when they talked about an island off Scotland that lives exclusively on sheep and beer and no kale of course. They didn’t talk about longevity of course but these people have to be very healthy because there is no hospital on the island and a doctor comes to the island once a week on a Tuesday, and so it is said that you better be sick on Tuesday.

        Anyway, where is all these saturated fat theory?

        https://www.cbsnews.com/news/60-minutes-adventure-to-the-isle-of-eigg/




        1
        1. No, you have the wrong one. I’m talking about the one that has changed so many people’s lives for the better and is one of “America’s best-selling books about nutrition.”




          10
        2. Jerry, I saw the same program and took away a different view.

          That is, I saw a group of people who are supportive of one another and who had fewer pressures than the general population. Not to say life on the island isn’t difficult sometimes, but generally speaking… no worries.

          You may also remember Steve Croft saying that since the ferry doesn’t get there too often due to winter weather to deliver food stores, the islanders insure they have plenty of beans (and yes, Spam) in their cupboards. And I distinctly remember seeing bananas when the ferry was being off loaded, so their may have been many vegetables also delivered.

          I don’t remember hearing they slaughtered animals on the island, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they did. I just don’t think we can assume they eat a lot of saturated fat without a direct reference to their diet. Or maybe there was an accounting and I just missed it.

          And most of the islanders looked somewhat trim, other than the “mayor’ and taxi driver, who probably didn’t do too much physical work.




          6
          1. Not to mention they likely don’t eat junk foods high in sat fats or fatty beef. Lamb is leaner, I know as I raised lamb for 25 yrs (considering you stay away from mutton).




            0
        3. Jerry

          This really is all you have isn’t it? insults and stories based on your idiosyncratic reading of the tale.

          The original China Study conducted by Oxford and Cornell universities and two Chinese national academies of science if I recall correctly. Its results were astounding and none of the scientists or institutions involved have ever challenged or disagreed with Campbell’s description of the findings. Campbell himself of course was a director of the study.

          As far as I know, only unqualified cranks on the internet and snake oil merchants selling trashy books to the naive and gullible have attacked Campbell’s. Of course all you can do make vague insulting criticisms k[like calling it a novel because you are unable to offer any criticisms of substance. At least Minger, for all her lack of expertise and her obvious bias and financial conflicts of interest, manages to cobble together a reasoned criticism. all you can do is insult and misrepresent.

          Can’t you be more constructive for a change by at least trying to put forward a rational argument and some supporting evidence instead of just obsessively parroting insults and falsehoods?




          11
      1. Navy Corpsman, – Yes, and you also get to consume bovine leukemia virus, mammary pus (allowed by the FDA) and saturated fat. Not even cows drink their own milk once they are weaned. THAT oughta tell you something!




        7
    1. So if consumption of bleach was not proven to worsen autism symptoms, would that be a huge win for the bleach-milk industry?
      Well, yeah I guess they’d take it as one, you’re right. But in truth, the evidence of dairy being one of the most detrimental things to human health, is overwhelming. So the dairy industry calling this one a win (which no doubt they would) is very much like my made up bleach milk industry doing the same.

      To me, I would say it’s neither proven nor disproven based on lack of thorough studies and THAT is annoying! I mean if you’re going to spend the time, effort, and money on a study, make it thorough.




      10
      1. Even if dairy free didn’t effect autism specifically, we DO know however, that dairy DOES negatively effect an autistic child as it does any child.




        11
  3. We have benefited from these videos and blogs for many years, and we feel grateful to the good doctor.

    This series causes leaves us disappointed. It has been a long way to go to get nowhere.

    Perhaps somethings in life don’t reduce to a double blind study. Reductionism is not the only way to truth.

    Is their anyone who benefits from autism treatment going on unchanged by diet?

    The deprivation argument that you introduce here sounds exactly like the propaganda arguments against a vegan diet of children and for anyone else as well. Aside from the gluten, we are just suggesting a vegan diet for autistic children in the same way we recommend it for all children and adults. You also have another video about dairy which denies its beneficial effects. This series actually confuses the whole notion of the vegan diet that you vociferously support.




    17
    1. I disagree. An examination of the evidence always come to something. We learn if it is efficacious, if it does nothing or more research needs to be done. Your objection is based on your expectation that these reviews of research will always end by finding the result you had hoped for, and science doesn’t work that way.
      Furthermore, Dr Greger is an honest researcher who reports reality, not some predetermined or desired outcome. People with autism are often very fixed in habits and patterns, including dietary patterns. If a chil is used to dairy, switching to a plant beverage may be challenging, for a child with autism, it may not be possible.




      18
    2. Even double-blind controlled studies have a flaw. Statistically, they look at what happens on average, and even if some individuals (responders) really benefit, this result will disappear in a group analysis when you average out the results, if the group has a high ratio of non-responders to responders. Each of us has our own genetic and biochemical individuality after all.

      From http://www.nature.com/news/personalized-medicine-time-for-one-person-trials-1.17411

      “Classical clinical trials harvest a handful of measurements from thousands of people. Precision medicine requires different ways of testing interventions. Researchers need to probe the myriad factors — genetic and environmental, among others — that shape a person’s response to a particular treatment.

      Studies that focus on a single person — known as N-of-1 trials — will be a crucial part of the mix. . . . If enough data are collected over a sufficiently long time, and appropriate control interventions are used, the trial participant can be confidently identified as a responder or non-responder to a treatment. Aggregated results of many N-of-1 trials (all carried out in the same way) will offer information about how to better treat subsets of the population or even the population at large.”

      This applies not just to drugs, but to diets and other therapeutic modalities.

      So even though from the research published so far it looks like the gluten free-casein diet seems a long-shot for autistic children in general, that does not mean that individual children have not benefited, as a number of impressive anecdotal accounts have reported. Perhaps it might make sense for future studies to look for a way of differentiating potential responders from non-responders, as they did in this study on the effects of magnesium on adults with cognitive decline:

      “Efficacy and Safety of MMFS-01, a Synapse Density Enhancer, for Treating Cognitive Impairment in Older Adults: A Randomized,
      Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial” published in Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 49 (2016) 971–990
      ( https://www.researchgate.net/publication/298434683_Efficacy_and_Safety_of_MMFS-01_a_Synapse_Density_Enhancer_for_Treating_Cognitive_Impairment_in_Older_Adults_A_Randomized_Double-Blind_Placebo-Controlled_Trial )

      “Using elevation of RBC intracellular magnesium as a biomarker to screen for responders, we found that 15 of 22 subjects in the MMFS-01 group (68.2%) responded to MMFS-01 treatment. When the brain age of only the responders was calculated, the improvement at Week 12 was 14.6±3.9 years, indicating an even greater reduction in cognitive impairment among magnesium responders than all subjects receiving MMFS-01. On the other hand, these data also show approximately 30% of the subjects did not respond to MMFS-01 treatment.”

      The fact that about 75% of Americans have deficiencies ( http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/844214 ) explain why this treatment modality worked so well , an survived the statistical analysis, as in this study 70% responded. Makes me wonder what increasing magnesium through diet or supplementation might have for kids with autism, given the positive result increasing magnesium had for kids with ADHD. ( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9368236 )




      5
      1. Incidentally, the 2016 “Gluten-Free/Casein-Free Diet: A Double-Blind Challenge Trial in Children with Autism ( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26343026 ) that Dr. Greger highlights in the video seems extremely weak, as it only had 14 subjects. Given the way that statistical analysis works, studies with very small sample sizes like this one can only detect very large effects, and even the authors admit that “these findings must be interpreted with caution because of the small sample size.”

        For comparison, with study size subject populations as small as this one, very few drugs would have had any statistically significant effect at all, and would not have passed the FDA review process and made it to the marketplace. In order to demonstrate statistically significant effects for drugs that may only help a small subgroup of responders in a treatment group (ranging from only 1 in 4 to only 1 in 25 for the top ten highest grossing drugs in the U.S.) drug companies routinely fund double-blind controlled studies using thousands of people.

        Unfortunately, while drug companies can afford to do these kinds of studies, funding for research into the effects of foods and of diet in comparison seems much less than a penny on the dollar. The result – smaller, weaker, and much more modest studies through which only the largest and most robust effects can come to light.




        7
    3. Maybe there is one more video in this series that maybe doesn’t leave us hanging with dairy having no affect on autism. My son barely has dairy and has organic wheat and as of two years barely shows any symptoms of autism and was diagnos d severe so I believe there is something with casein in diets personally.




      11
      1. Dear Jodie,

        I am very happy to hear that you have found such good results. Other that other treatment modalities, no milk wouldn’t hurt.

        Peace and being,

        Laurence

        Your Becoming Self: The Existential Search

        What would happen if you found out that every negative thought and feeling you had about yourself were unfounded, unfair, and untrue?

        The Salvation of Love And Love as Salvation

        A Book of Poems Based on Kierkegaard’s Works of Love

        How we love our neighbor as ourselves.

        Tragedy of King Hamlet, Prince Claudius, and Queen Gertrude

        What happened at Elsinore before Shakespeare brought Hamlet to the castle.




        1
      2. Hi J –

        This video seems the last one in the series. :(

        However, as I pointed out in a post above, because of its limitations the study highlighted in this last video does NOT show that dairy has no effect on autism, only that such an effect probably does not seem large or widespread.

        Specifically it shows that under the studies protocol, that covertly administering casein or gluten (but NOT dairy or wheat, which include a lot more substances that might have negative effects besides casein and gluten), had no significant effects for the 14 (yes only 14) autistic children studied.

        What does this mean? Well, at best it suggests (but does not prove) that if either casein or gluten do have negative effects on autism, that this effect probably does not seem large or widespread for autistic children in general. It says nothing about whether removing dairy or wheat might have a positive effect on some autistic children, as it apparently did for you.




        5
      3. J, other parents have said they’ve seen a difference too. I’m definitely no expert in autism but I would IMAGINE that the healthier the body in general, the likelier it would be for there to be symptom improvements and we already know that dairy is harmful to overall health so I’d say that is a good call on your part. Good luck! Hopefully they’re doing more thorough studies on this as we speak!




        0
    4. Laurence Robert Cohen and Silvia Rayces, can you provide any evidence of alternative approaches to double blind studies and reductionism leading to “the truth?”

      I think that these videos are very useful; parents of autistic children really want to help their children, and they see what they want to see — improvement — when they go to the effort of a casein-free and gluten-free diet, which does not in fact appear effective in reducing symptoms. That said, a vegan diet is a very healthy diet for lots of reasons. And even if a casein-free diet doesn’t benefit autistic children by reducing their symptoms, there are many other reasons not to consume dairy products. I don’t see any confusion at all.




      5
    5. The video shows that casein is not an issue. Only if you don’t like to hear the conclusion then it is a very important and unbiased conclusion.




      1
      1. jerry

        it also showss that your claim in a comment on the previous video that you knew what the outcomes would be was incorrect.

        it would be gracious of you to acknowledge that. Your continued allegations of bias and cherry picking by Dr G, and your oh-so-confident statements predicting this or that, were confounded by the conclusion of this video. It would be nice if you were big enough to admit it.




        15
        1. Tom – Thank you for your continued intelligence and clarity when posting to the illustriously ridiculous JL. And you are correct – he is not big enough to admit his mistake despite his big mouth on all other matters of know-it-all-ness. What a fool.
          I wanted to let you know I always root for your comments and always enjoy reading them. Thank you for the continued effort, intelligence, and thoughtfulness.




          12
  4. A REMINDER : If you shop on Amazon and go to the Smile.Amazon.com site and fill in the short form designate NutritionFacts.com you can have some small $ automatically donated to NutritionFacts.com with every purchase! No added cost to you.




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    1. Gayle, nutritionfacts.com is a different site. I’m sure they’re very nice people and appreciate your generosity, but nutritionfacts.org is a different site (this site).




      3
  5. I appreciate the candid approach to let the science do the talking. Who’s to say a new study won’t break ground in an area that in which a few more or different variables are contolled.
    Thanks dr G.




    12
  6. This is why I love this site and refer people to it when discussing why I went vegan. I know I can trust Dr. Greger not to conjure evidence based on what all of us might wish were true (that a vegan diet will cure all ills or that a cassein and gluten free diet will help kids with autism). I know I will get fairness and balance here from amidst all the junk science. My grandson is on the spectrum and what he goes through is hard enough already. I was hoping to share something that would help with his mom and dad, but I much prefer evidence to wishful thinking. Thank you! Thank you!




    23
  7. Have their been any supplementation studies? The ones looked at here all seem to be food based, yet supplements are much more concentrated and require actively adding something in the way of nutrition rather than taking something away.

    Supplements can be and often are… medicine.




    2
    1. Lonie – yes there have been studies on supplements. One particular research study I remember was looking at beta carotene. REsearchers had noticed that those with higher levels of beta carotene in the blood did better against lung cancer. Eureka! they thought!. So they put together a study giving individuals with lung cancer very concentrated doses of beta carotene – with very high hopes that they would get some good results. Unfortunately they had to abandon the study before its finish line because those taking the high doses of beta carotene were dying faster and earlier than those not taken the beta carotene.
      Something to think about . . .




      5
      1. Yes, I remember that one.

        And at the time a number of people I know immediately discounted taking vitamins of any kind due to that one outcome.

        I think there have been improvements in constructing these type of studies so I personally am not too worried about being ambushed by a study result being later completely overturned. There has also been one (briefly searched for it on this computer but couldn’t locate it) saying Vitamin A is important for the health of our stem cells.

        And while I do take that one, I am more interested in supplementation that includes vitamins rather than singled out vitamin intake… other than Vitamin C.

        It is my studied opinion that plant based supplementation is where the future of medicine lies… until bio molecules are teased out to be used directly as medicine.




        0
        1. Lonie, have you read “Whole” by Campbell? I suggest it. There are so many thousands of phytonutrients in food that by taking a vitamin, you may be missing out on the synergy that all the nutrients together provide. Even worse, people become ill by consuming individual nutrients in capsules instead of the whole food.




          2
          1. Liisa, no I haven’t read the publication you mentioned.

            (It’s unnatural to me to read anything very long… haven’t read a book in years ‘-)

            But I get your synopsis and am in agreement. That is, when I buy a supplement (my term for desiccated, concentrated food) I generally buy it in whole form for the very reasons you suggest.

            Thanks to the discussion here on NF.O in another thread, I have switched to Brewer’s Yeast for my B Vitamins. I always prefer a natural form to a synthetically produced one.

            And I know that NF.O is primarily a WFPB organization, but I would really like to see more videos on research involving supplements… even supplements vs WFPB if there is any such research out there.




            0
            1. Lonie,

              You probably remember finding the smallest book you could for an English book report–like “The Old Man and the Sea” by Hemingway. This book is the equivalent for nutrition! I was looking for my copy to see how FEW pages it had in it. I hope you pick up a copy! ;)




              2
              1. Dear Lady, I bet you were an English teacher in an earlier life? ‘-)

                And speaking of English teachers, mine are probably all dead by now or have no clue of me being in one of their many classes, so I can now reveal how I did book reports without consequences… that is, I read the dust jacket and would read a few pages from each chapter for fill so the teacher maybe thought I read the whole thing. But my forte was making up stories and that’s what got me through the course.

                And while my preference is prose, I actually wrote a poem once. It started:

                They’re laying my neighbor to rest today,
                A fine upstanding gentleman all will say,
                All except me
                Because he beat horses.

                There were a few more stanzas but I can’t remember them.

                What this all is leading up to is my hope you will not be offended and will understand that I just don’t have the attention span to seek out others that I may not even agree with. I sort of let information come to me and if I see something that holds my attention, then I maybe pay a little more attention to it.

                But just like Jerry L and Tom G and their link duels, I normally don’t go there and instead rely upon someone else that I see as being agnostic to comment along similar lines. I may check out a link they post and can usually tell in a few lines if it is helpful to me to keep reading.

                There’s a lot to keep up with here and there’s much to do elsewhere.

                But just so you know… I do appreciate your attempt to help this Unhelpable. ‘-)




                0
                    1. Just remembered something that stuck in my mind from earlier today.

                      I was doing something on the counter in the kitchen and knocked something off the counter without knowing what it was. I distinctly remember after the fact that I had raised my foot in case it was something heavy and therefore would not have hurt me more by pinning my foot to the floor with no give.

                      By instinctively raising my foot I left room to cushion the blow if the object were heavy. I don’t even remember what I dropped but I remember the process well. And while this does not qualify as a planned decision, I’m quite pleased that my split second instinctive decisions serve me well. ‘-)




                      1
                    2. Well, making decisions is easy. But making good decisions can be another matter.

                      And instinctive decisions are often good ones in the right circumstances but can let us down in others. Desiring high calorie, high fat, sweet foods was probably a real survival advantage during our evolutionary history. But such instinctive desires can work against us now and food manufacturers and retailers know how to exploit that desire.
                      “The evolved taste abilities of humans are still useful for the one billion humans living with very low food security by helping them identify nutrients. But for those who have easy access to tasty, energy-dense foods our sensitivities for sugary, salty and fatty foods have also helped cause over nutrition-related diseases, such as obesity and diabetes.”
                      http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960982213004181

                      I am sure that that is not the only area where instinctive decision making can lead us astray in wealthy 21st century societies (a lot of financial decision making seems to face similar problems). That is why I am wary of of quick instinctive decision making. Cognitive and evolutionary psychology are worth researching if you have the time (or the interest).




                      2
                    1. Good to see you getting into the Xmas spirit, Jerry. Your unfailing grace and charm continue to warm the cockles of my heart.




                      3
    1. Finally a very comprehensive study of the potential causes of a condition, rather than a disease.

      The link to this study should be a “sticky” posted at the beginning of any discussion of what may cause autism.

      Intuitively, I think the acetaminophen linkage is probably the worst offender. I haven’t trusted that type product for decades.




      2
    2. And this study only looked at 14 people – far too small to represent the broad range of children across the autism spectrum, even if the authors had tried to do so, which they did not.




      3
  8. Such a great series of information on Autism as Matt said.

    Glad for the reminder about the fact that we can only get the nourishment and protection afforded by a WFPBD if we actually consistently prepare and eat it, and/or prepare it for our children. Otherwise, plan “B” becomes the default.

    Thank you Dr. Greger and team.

    A healthy and proud monthly supporter of Nutritionfacts.org




    6
  9. From what I’ve read on the subject of autism in children trying to improve their microbiome and gut flora would seem like a good idea. They are really no downsides to eating lots of fibre rich fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes, so that would seem like a good strategy in terms of what we can do diet wise for now until we get better data.




    12
    1. absolutely true – for parents with resources (meaning time, support, education, money) vegan diet interventions seem like the ideal. But as Dr. Greger says, it only helps if the children are getting – and eating – the nutrition required.




      2
      1. Let’s not forget though that Dr G recommends some supplements be taken if people eat an exclusively plant WFPB diet.
        https://nutritionfacts.org/2011/09/12/dr-gregers-2011-optimum-nutrition-recommendations/

        It is, I think, particularly important that care is taken with children to ensure that they get B12 and other important nutrients that can sometimes be lacking in diets that are not meticulously planned. There is no shortage of good resources out there on this but good planning is essential.

        https://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/Pages/vegetarian-vegan-children.aspx
        https://www.vegansociety.com/resources/nutrition-and-health/life-stages




        2
  10. The objective of a gluten / casein free diet to people with autism spectrum, is that it may prevent issues if they have a leaky gut in the first place. And so in the spirit of always fixing the problem at the source, why don’t we fix the leaky gut issue in the first place, rather than avoiding some foods. Such as eating certain forbidden food to fix the leaky gut issue.




    2
    1. I gave up dairy ( the only animal product left in my diet ) and wheat, and my leaky gut was healed in under 30 days. It’ the first thing my doctor suggested. Plants are best – just plants, low fat.




      6
      1. What I meant is that you have a leaky gut issue in the first place and by avoiding dairy and wheat, you avoid aggravating the issue. But if you fix the leaky gut issue then those foods will not be a problem.




        1
        1. OK, Jerry, I’ll bite: How do you fix leaky gut in the first place? If there’s a cure, I haven’t heard of it, but I’d like to. My husband has leaky gut from radiation therapy from cancer and he’s had to give up dairy and gluten.




          2
            1. Seriously Jerry – you link to pseudoscientific nonsense like this? No science, no evidence just blanket assertions like you make. Wishful thinking at best but more probably marketing bs designed to encourage people to buy whatever snake oil these people are selling..

              these people are the nutritional equivalent of flat earthers, except unlike flat earthers they have discovered how to make money from peddling false claims.




              11
  11. Why was it decided that the period of gluten and casein-free diet would last 4-6 weeks? It seems to me too short period to clean the body of the negative effects that these substances might have had on autistic children. Introducing the potentially harmful substances once ot twice monthly after it and waiting for some dramatic reaction is not very convincing either. Such visible reactions could occur perhaps in cases of alergy but autism is a different type of condition. I understand that it is difficult to keep children on such a restrictve diet for long time but I will be convinced if this study is conducted for at least one year.




    2
    1. Good point. Veterinarians are advised to recommend a 12-week period before judging response to a hypo-allergens food trial in dogs and cats. Perhaps a similar time frame is warranted with a GFCF dietary trial as well.




      3
      1. So you are a Veterinarian?

        I’m involved in a company that provides vets with ethically derived stem cells to repair ligament, tendon, cartilage damage in horses.

        We will soon be doing a trial to determine other favorable outcomes such as bone healing or bleeding in the lungs by race horses. After we become established in the equine industry, we plan to expand to providing smaller sized pkgs for vets to treat pets.

        If you are interested in learning more you can reach me via our twitter handle https://twitter.com/Er2_2017.

        Our company motto is “Our animals depend on us for care… We owe them the very best.”




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          1. I am a veterinarian. Lonie, your product sounds promising. Stem cell therapies, like cancer vaccines, are the wave of the future. I don’t practice on horses anymore, but your game plan sounds reasonable to me. Good luck!




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              1. Tom, this TEDMED video is a good one, especially as I am entering the realm of providing animal treatments to vets. And a personal case where mine and my partners’ little start-up company have made a connection between human and animal physiology is a trial we are planning to conduct on bleeders (racehorses that try so hard they bleed from their lungs.) Currently these horses are allowed to run on Lasix, a diuretic that keeps them from bleeding.

                We think the stem cell treatment we market will repair the lungs to the point where they no longer bleed. And I got the idea from an advertisement I read about a stem cell treatment for lungs in humans. Willie Nelson was one of the more famous COPD people who underwent this treatment (and he is healed enough that he is probably back to smoking weed. ‘-)

                And when reading about the treatment it was pointed out that the stem cells when injected into the blood stream get trapped in the lungs and can’t get out, thereby insuring the stem cells end up where they are targeted.

                We and a vet we are planning to do the trial with believe that by injecting the stem cells into the pulmonary artery, we can get the same targeted result as the human treatment provides.




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  12. Just replace milk with fortified plant milk which has even more calcium than dairy milk.

    I prefer to make my own plant milks when I have them, but I did actually purchase (for a thanksgiving recipe) New Barn almond milk which is not fortified (I’ve explained in a past comment under one of the videos in this series why I prefer that and actually dislike fortified plant milk) and I noticed that from just a single serving of their unfortified, natural almond milk, there’s 8% DV of calcium and they are most likely going by the older recomendation of higher intake whereas a lower %DV is now reccomended and therefore may be more than 8%.
    You don’t need any type of milk to supply minerals if you’re eating a diet rich in whole plant foods and I think the fact that you get that amount from a simple unfortified serving of almond milk (which consists of a lot of water) is a great example of how easy it is to get all your minerals and then some on a plant based diet.




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  13. One thing that could resolve isolating children with autism further while also receiving the potential benefits of a gf/cf diet would be to omit gluten and casein at home but allow them to eat what others are eating at social events. If the dietary restriction does have benefits specific to autism (hope they do a long term double blind study!) then I would imagine that even just reduction could benefit them, especially given time.




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    1. And that would be a win/win for the child since worst case scenario would be no symptom improvements but many health benefits in other areas. Also the family could benefit from becoming more likely to reduce or omit dairy in their own diets.




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  14. A very high percentage of children and adults with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have a gut flora problem that needs to be healed. For example, a very high percentage have a yeast overgrowth in the gut. Vaccines are a contributing factor. A yeast overgrowth can be diagnosed through a stool test. Dairy can be a challenge in being properly digested. Almond milk is an excellent tasting substitute and very nutritional. Our family experienced good results with implementing the GAPS (Gut And Psychology Syndrome) Diet in addition with the correct supplementation as prescribed through additional tests (food allergies, heavy metal, pH level). Peruse through the website http://gutandpsychologysyndrome.com/ and the author who wrote the book, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride.




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  15. As Ken mentioned, ASD is often linked to digestive issues as part of the syndrome. I worked with special needs kids, many of whom had autism. A few of them were on casein and gluten-free diets to improve physical rather than behavioral symptoms. There was one family who periodically tried a casein challenge to see if their son could finally tolerate cheese and milk, but every time he would get an eczema-like rash within a day. Temple Grandin mentions diet in one of her books, and says she personally feels much better physically when she is casein and gluten-free. She emphasizes that this is true for many individuals but certainly cannot be generalized to all on the spectrum. (Having read The China Study and Whitewashed, I can’t imagine going anywhere near casein ever again!)




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  16. It seems like the argument that a gluten free / casein free diet will further isolate children with autism from their classmates who are joyfully scarfing down cupcakes and ice cream is an argument that fails all children equally, isn’t it? And if children with autism are known to have lower levels of calcium, it would be easy to determine if this is a new finding that correlates with relatively recently popularized dietary interventions, or with children on those diets but not others, wouldn’t it? Also, administering a frequent challenge, possibly as often as two weekly challenges in a row, negates the “4 – 6 week” gfcf diet. If you drink milk once a week, you are not casein free, and the same with gluten. I don’t see any convincing reason NOT to try gfcf and even better, to open the door to gf/wfpb eating. It’s almost easier to explain that you’re vegan than that you don’t consume casein, and gf is now generally understood (for better or worse). Anyone who believes that the thing isolating children with autism is their dietary choices must have led a life sheltered from both children and autism. This study seems awfully pale.




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    1. Good find, TG. This article explains well about how false statistics made up the 70 year old saturated fat and cholesterol theories into false positive results.

      “DAVID COLQUHOUN: State false-positive risk, too

      To demote P values to their rightful place, researchers need better ways to interpret them. What matters is the probability that a result that has been labelled as ‘statistically significant’ turns out to be a false positive. This false-positive risk (FPR) is always bigger than the P value.”




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      1. Yes, Jerry, the observational studies, the experimental studies, the genetic studies, the Mendelian randomisation studies and the experiments demonstrating harmful mechanisms of action that all pointed in the same direction, all got it wrong in the exact same way because of the P value problem.




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  17. Though I am a vegan the past 17 years….The SCD diet under Dr Brasco support healed my IBS and other issues. It has a long track record of supporting Autisim schizophrenia and brain cognizance….relying on consuming foods that have a single chain sugar molecule. Dairy is forbidden except for 24hour cultured yoghurt consuming most of the lactose sugar




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  18. One con of gluten free is the arsenic in the substitute products that people eat, breads cookies crackers and rice milk. Add carrageenan to irritate the gut, then eat processed rice products 3 times a day, and what do you get? Colon cancer.




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    1. Julie, if those people are paying any attention to people like Dr Greger, or to the abundance of research, they aren’t eating things like “substitute” products. Whole plant based foods don’t include a lot of things like cookies etc, right? The only source of arsenic that might be consumed a bit more would be actual whole brown rice, but it isn’t necessary. There are loads of other gluten free whole food starches to choose from. And I don’t know why anyone would be eating carrageenan unless they’re dependent on packaged convenience foods, which is a whole other problem of its own.




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  19. Thank you so much for these videos. You break down concepts in a simple, easy to follow way.

    Do you have any thoughts on this the ketogenic diet?
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28808808

    From my limited understanding , epilepsy is closely linked in many ways to autism.
    And the keto diet has been acknowledged to help with epilepsy.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ketogenic_diet#Epilepsy

    So even with the small testing size, I really would love to hear your thoughts on the keto diet for autism.

    Thanks again! ☮️




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    1. Collin, if I had a loved one with autism and was curious how that person would react to a keto diet, I might try an experiment using the product referred to in the link below… a product of pure ketone.

      It appears safe to use and is gone from the body in a specified period of time. In my estimation, should be the perfect way to see how ketones might affect someone with autism.

      http://www.businessinsider.com/ketones-fuel-athletic-performance-sports-2017-11




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      1. Thank you!
        These can be used to to enter into mild to medium levels of ketosis without having to alter the diet drastically?
        or that is the idea ? Do you know anybody who has tried this already by chance?
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ketogenic_diet#MCT_diet
        https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/world-s-1st-ketone-ester-drink-sports#/
        https://shop.perfectketo.com/

        Also , this just appeared recently ,
        https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10803-017-3433-5




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    2. Hello,

      I find your suggestion very interesting because keto diets are (at least in Czech Republic) commonly used in practice. So Dr. Greger could take a look at it. I forwarded him this request :)

      Moderator Adam P.




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