Ask DR ELLIE: Can I wean my autistic son off his awful diet?

Mail Online | 2/18/2019 | Dr Ellie Cannon for The Mail on Sunday
cobra662 (Posted by) Level 3
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My adorable 11-year-old son is autistic, and until four years ago he survived on only porridge. Now he eats pizza, fish fingers, waffles and broccoli. Fortunately, he also likes berries, pineapples and oranges. But I worry about his diet – and I feel as if I’m failing my son.

Children's eating habits are a common worry for parents as we are so aware now of how important diet is in terms of long term good health. However, health is not merely down to diet alone – it is a part of a bigger picture. Exercise, sleep, genetics and lifestyle contribute to our risks of developing physical and mental health issues.

Children - Autism - Spectrum - Disorder - ASD

Some children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may have a restricted diet. This can be related to sensory issues: the sight, smell, taste and texture of food. Even the sound can have an impact for a child with ASD.

Rigidity around food can also be related to a desire for routine, the social circumstances of eating and the environment.

Focus - Parents - Food - Diary - Assessment

Rather than the focus being on what is being omitted, parents are encouraged to concentrate on what is being eaten with a food diary. This helps to make a true assessment and is worth doing over a two-week period. If there are more than 20 different foods on the diary, there may be little to worry about. Even a small number of fruit and vegetables will deliver vitamins and fibre.

Processed food choices can be fortified with vitamins and minerals, and processed fish will still contain omega-3 fats as well as protein.

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I’ve had terrible eczema for years and recently read about a link between an overgrowth of candida and skin problems. Friends tell me candida is also linked to other infections. How do I treat it?

Believe it or not, many kinds of fungus live on the...
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