Exploring the Gluten-Free/Casein-Free Diet
Another treatment used for children with ADHD and autism, the GFCF (gluten-free/casein-free) diet revolves around the unproven theory idea that children with ADHD are sensitive to certain foods containing gluten and casein, and that removing these foods will help alleviate ADHD symptoms.
Advocates of the GFCF diet claim that because children with ADHD process peptides and proteins in foods containing gluten and casein differently than others, their brain treats these proteins like false opiate-type chemicals, causing a certain reaction. They claim that the GFCF diet reduces symptoms and improves social and cognitive behaviors and speech in children with ADHD.
While researchers have found abnormal levels of peptides in bodily fluids of some children with ADHD symptoms, the GFCF diet has not been scientifically proven to be effective for children with ADHD. In fact, because eliminating all gluten and casein from a child's diet could lead to severe nutritional deficiencies, doing randomized studies has proven difficult.