To determine whether a gluten-free diet (GFD) compared with a gluten-containing diet (GD) influences functioning of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), we performed a randomized, controlled, single-blinded trial. Sixty-six children (36–69 months) with ASD, within the normal IQ (> 70) range, who had been on a GFD for at least 8 weeks before enrollment were eligible for inclusion. After an 8-week run-in period on a GFD, the GFD group continued this diet and the GD group consumed at least one normal meal containing gluten per day for 6 months. There were no differences between groups in autistic symptoms, maladaptive behaviors, or intellectual abilities after the intervention. A GFD compared with a GD did not affect functioning of children with ASD.
Trial registration ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT02280746.
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We thank Monika Hodyra, Agata Misiak, Majka Niedzielska, for their help in conducting the assessments; Joanna Rachtan-Janicka for her help with the dietetic consultations, and all the families who participated in this study.
This work was supported by the Nutricia Foundation research Grant [RG8/2013]. The Foundation had no role in study design, data collection, data analysis, data interpretation, or writing of the report.
Conflict of interest
HS is a member of the Scientific Board of the Nutricia Foundation. HS and AH had academic-associated speaking engagements with Nutricia. AP had participated in the training sponsored by Nutricia. Other co-authors declare no conflicts of interest.
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Piwowarczyk, A., Horvath, A., Pisula, E. et al. Gluten-Free Diet in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Randomized, Controlled, Single-Blinded Trial. J Autism Dev Disord 50, 482–490 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-019-04266-9
- Randomized controlled trial
- Autism spectrum disorder