Friday, March 30, 2007

Since When are Milk and Wheat *HIGH* Protein Foods?

I just about flipped when I read this quote because the sheer ignorance is stunning:
"I have parents who have got their kids on ... these very labor-intensive diets, on vitamins that they believe are ... detoxifying their baby's systems, and they're frightening," said Boston pediatrician Dr. Eileen Costello. "And, you know, some of these kids aren't growing because they're on diets with so little protein. So, there's a lot going on out there that we need to get a handle on."
First, the reason why parents restrict gluten and casein is a theory that states gluten and casein are incompletely digested. For some reason, the body breaks them down into peptides (gluteomorphine and casomorphine), not to amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. If this theory were true, then gluten and casein would not be contributing to the assembly of protein anyway (hint: gluten and casein would not contribute to the growth of children either).

Second, many kids have already narrowed down their food choices to about five foods, high in gluten and casein: milk, cheese, cereal, pasta, and bread, supplemented by French fries and chicken nuggets. Most children who go on this diet (and need this diet) end up expanding their food choices to include fruits, vegetables, and a variety of sources of protein! According to Lisa Lewis and Karen Seroussi at ANDI,
There may be a good reason your child "self-limits" to these foods. Opiates, like opium, are highly addictive. If this "opiate excess" explanation applies to your child, then he is actually addicted to those foods containing the offending proteins. Although it seems as if your child will starve if you take those foods away, many parents report that after an initial "withdrawal" reaction, their children become much more willing to eat other foods. After a few weeks, most children surprise their parents by further broadening their diets.
Third, many of these kids are not growing because their bodies are not properly digesting foods. My daughter Pamela wore the same size clothes for the two years prior to going on the gluten-free, casein-free diet and being treated for yeast problems. The runny, green, voluminous stools disappeared, too. Like the children featured in the Discovery Magazine article, Autism: It's Not Just in Your Head, Pamela stopped grinding her teeth, chewing on her shirts, tantruming excessively, etc. She started sleeping through the night, paying attention to her surroundings, speaking without being prompted, playing with toys, and using the toilet (because her bladder was no longer numb from the morphine).

"Got Milk?" types may cry, but what about calcium? According to the food pyramid genies, "Calcium-fortified foods and beverages such as soy beverages or orange juice may provide calcium, but may not provide the other nutrients found in milk and milk products." If these nutrients are only found in milk products, explain to me how the people of Thailand managed to survive and build a culture on cuisine completely free of gluten and casein.

No, Eileen, what really frightens me is . . .

* Why the naysayers ignore chronically inflamed white matter in the brains of autistic people and inflammation of the neuroglia, brain cells important in the brain’s immune response.

* The risk of autism doubles in a common variant of the MET gene modulates the gut, immune system, and nervous system.

* Autistic children produce only a small amount of glutathione because they have impaired methylation, which can lead to oxidative stress, which is associated with chronic inflammation.

* That doctors like this one think parents ought to accept digestive problems and infections and focus on therapies that ignore the gut-immune-brain triangle.

2 comments:

Mary said...

Tammy,
Alan has also been on the GF/CF diet since he was three years old. He has now surpassed me in height (5 feet, 6 inches) at fourteen. His bones are strong from his wider diet..he eats calcium fortified soy yogurt and this doctor is one of those who is sadly uninformed about nutrition. Many of the profession get "holier than thou" and forget that their opinions, not science, is clouding their judgment. Alan's diet would be more restricted, not less, if he ate foods with dairy and gluten.
Mary

The Glasers said...

Mary,

I would be interested to see a study on the food choices of children with autism who do well on the diet before and one year after being on this "restrictive" diet.

Pamela is petite, but my husband's side of the family are all short and petite. She inherited that! My son, the picky eater, is fourteen and already five feet nine inches.