Ratings of the Effectiveness of 13 Therapeutic Diets for Autism Spectrum Disorder: Results of a National Survey

Julie S. Matthews, James B. Adams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study presents the results of the effectiveness of 13 therapeutic diets for autism spectrum disorder from 818 participants of a national survey, including benefits, adverse effects, and symptom improvements. The average Overall Benefit of diets was 2.36 (0 = no benefit, 4 = great benefit), which was substantially higher than for nutraceuticals (1.59/4.0) and psychiatric/seizure medications (1.39/4.0), p < 0.001. The average Overall Adverse Effects of diets was significantly lower than psychiatric/seizure medications (0.10 vs. 0.93, p < 0.001) and similar to nutraceuticals (0.16). Autism severity decreased slightly over time in participants who used diet vs. increasing slightly in those that did not (p < 0.001). Healthy and Feingold diets were the two top-rated diets by Overall Benefit; the ketogenic diet was the highest for nine symptoms (though had fewer respondents); and the gluten-free/casein-free diet was among the top for overall symptom improvements. Different diets were reported to affect different symptoms, suggesting that an individual’s symptoms could be used to guide which diet(s) may be the most effective. The results suggest that therapeutic diets can be safe and effective interventions for improving some ASD-related symptoms with few adverse effects. We recommend therapeutic diets that include healthy foods and exclude problematic foods. Therapeutic diets are inexpensive treatments that we recommend for consideration by most people with ASD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1448
JournalJournal of Personalized Medicine
Volume13
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Feingold diet
  • autism
  • autism spectrum disorder
  • diet
  • gluten-free casein-free diet
  • healthy diet
  • ketogenic diet
  • personalized nutrition
  • survey
  • therapeutic diets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

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