Usually diet as an intervention for autism is a parent thing. “Oh, my child has this nasty autism, I must put him on a special diet so the autism will go away!” But as a grown-up with an autism spectrum disorder the concern is different— can I relieve the more annoying symptoms of my condition with diet, rather than prescription drugs?
One of the diets that parents use on their autistic kids is the ketogenic diet. This is a diet which is very low in carbs (30 grams or less for most people), moderate in protein, and high in healthy fats, such as those from butter, meat, olive oil and coconut oil.
The ketogenic diet was commonly used for epilepsy in the 1930s before modern meds for epilepsy were developed. Recently there are a lot of studies showing its benefits for other conditions including autism. The book pictured above, Keto Clarity by Jimmy Moore, will tell you more about the diet and the benefits.
I did not go on a ketogenic diet for my autism spectrum disorder. I started with the Atkins diet to lose weight, and when I developed diabetes due to a lifetime of following unhealthy government dietary guidelines, I controlled the diabetes with the diet— it worked better than the meds they gave me.
A few years back I read a book on ADHD and noticed I had all the symptoms. My therapist told me that these symptoms were a part of my Asperger’s Syndrome and not a separate disorder. I went to my government supplied ‘primary health care provider’ (a nurse) and she said that in order to get a prescription for ADHD drugs, I would have to travel all the way to Marquette, Michigan to see a specialist. There was a place in Menominee, MI that did that work, too, but they didn’t let many patients in unless they were severe cases. I wondered what a severe case was if I, chronically unemployed/unemployable and on disability, didn’t qualify.
So I had to do without trying meds. But I have found that when I am on the ketogenic diet and sticking to it strictly, my ADHD-like disorganization was down. I felt like I was better able to cope with life and I got more stuff done. My writing benefits greatly when I am on strict keto, and I have the energy to get more done.
In addition, since the keto diet is also helpful in other brain conditions including Alzheimer’s, it seems to be a general brain-helper diet. And as writers, we like our brains.
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Robb Wolf: Can a Ketogenic Diet Help Autism?