There are many potential risks to withdrawing normal or regular foods, especially from young children.
In the short term, the diet can lead to problems, caused by ‘die off’ of the harmful bacteria. According to Lorraine, who posted a message on the pecanbread.com website
‘He, and I (MS), are doing terrific. But at the beginning it was really rough and we had die off experiences. Ben had a fever of about 101 degrees F on and off for several weeks, then 104 degrees (peak—usually about 102) for about 2 days after we introduced kefir. Stressful. This is a powerful diet. It was stressful to start, now we are “keeping the course” as we have a plan and have adjusted.’
In the long term the diet could lead to health problems if it is not carefully balanced. For example, the pecanbread.com website states that
‘Pro-biotic supplements are essential for those who remain completely dairy free while on the diet‘.
In addition, some individuals with autism already have restricted diets, are faddy eaters and so on. A restricted diet may reinforce repetitive, rigid eating patterns, add to the social impairment of autism, increase the risk of social isolation and constraints on family life as a consequence of the dietary restrictions and increase the risk of nutritional deficiencies.
In the long term there might also be problems for the young people themselves who have conformed to the restrictions imposed by their parents’ adherence to the strict diet and, as a consequence, are less willing to eat a healthy varied diet.
We have been unable to identify any contraindications for the SCD.
However individuals with autistic spectrum disorder or their carers who have concerns about their or their child’s diet should seek advice from a responsible health professional such as their health visitor or GP. This may lead to a referral to a dietician or nutritionist dietician – in particular one with experience of working with individuals with autism.
Last Updated : 26/03/2013 Back to Top