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Is A Paleo Diet Beneficial for Asperger’s Syndrome?

Is A Paleo Diet Beneficial for Asperger's Syndrome? | The Paleo Diet

Dear Professor Cordain,

I know you are probably very busy, so apologies for intruding on your time. My name is Emma, I’m 30 and I have been told I am intolerant to gluten, diary and sugar. I have Aspergers syndrome (a form of Autism), and many people who have this have food intolerances.
I’ve just about managed to cut gluten and diary from my diet, and am now trying to cut sugars out. But every time I eat rice, I get stomach cramps. I came across your Paleo diet when looking at something from Aspergers website. Probably a stupid question – can it be used to gain weight? If so, would there be any side effects from starting the Paleo diet? & how long would it take to have good effects?

Looking forward to your reply,


Dr. Cordain’s Response:

Hi Emma,

There is some clinical evidence outlined in a recent meta analysis that symptoms in children with Autism may improve on dairy and wheat free diets.  Hence, the possibility exists that Asperger’s patients may also see an improvement in symptoms.  I’ll post your question on my blog and see if our readers have any practical experience with the Paleo Diet and Asperger’s syndrome.  White rice maintains a high glycemic load and should be avoided because foods with high glycemic loads tend to promote obesity and diseases of insulin resistance.  Of all the cereal grains rice seems to not be as problematic as the other grains.  Still, I suggest that you should obtain your carbohydrates from fresh fruits and vegetables.  There are no known health or nutritional shortcomings of consuming a contemporary diet based upon “Paleo” food groups.  Most people notice therapeutic effects rapidly, particular even energy levels throughout the day and improved sleep within days to a week of adopting this lifetime mode of eating.  Many other beneficial health effects show up within weeks and a few months after adopting Paleo.


Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus

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2 Comments on "Is A Paleo Diet Beneficial for Asperger’s Syndrome?"

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  1. Website says:

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  2. TeeJ says:

    Emma – we did a gluten free casien (dairy) free (GFCF) diet with our Autistic daughter for 13 years and saw great results with it! You have to be very careful/strict with it, (no exposure at all), but it was worth it for us. We found that a paleo-like diet (very little processed foods) helped a lot as well.

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