I have been on the carnivore/OMAD diet for nearly a year now and about six months in I experienced a complete reversal of my autism symptoms. We can rule out the placebo effect because this was not something I set out to cure as I didn’t think it was possible to cure it. So it really was quite remarkable to witness these changes in me. Since then I have been trying to find more information on this phenomenon. Was I ever really autistic, or was it a condition that presented many of the same symptoms under the right conditions? Or is autism triggered by more than one cause? That’s not unheard of, for example, CFS/ME is a collection of symptoms resulting from a variety of sources.
Autism research in general is pretty limited, and that becomes an even smaller pool when looking at the connection between diet and autism specifically. In addition to this, the autism community has an extremely negative reaction to the mere suggestion of a cure. I should know, I was one of them. And I still believe that a cure is not something that should be forced on anyone, and I do believe autistic people may play a vital role in our culture and evolution. However I cannot deny that I would no longer be classified as autistic by any medical professional, I have changed and so clearly this is something worth exploring.
Below is a list of evidence I have found, unfortunately a lot of it is anecdotal, but it should be understood that scientific literature is not always objective truth, there are so many ways it can go wrong, either intentionally or unintentionally. There is merit in anecdotal data if there is enough of it. That’s what I’ve learned from the carnivore diet, I don’t care that there aren’t many scientific studies on this way of eating yet, the number of people who have benefited, including myself, is astounding.
Lacking any concrete scientific data, I decided to conduct experiments on myself. I eat a fairly strict carnivore diet, meat, dairy, eggs, spices and the occasional coffee. That seems to be an ideal diet for me. I know the dairy-free diet is the most common one associated with curing autism, but I actually feel better with dairy, perhaps indicating that even amongst those autistics who are triggered by diet, the specific triggers are unique.
One trial I conducted reintroduced tomato for a week, my digestion suffered to a moderate degree but I did not experience any mental changes. More recently I attempted a week long trial reintroducing 90% dark chocolate, one square a day. I had to stop the experiment a few days in because I was suddenly more sensitive to sound and displayed stimming behaviours again. And my stomach wasn’t too happy about the experience either. I know it’s hard to prove because I’m the only one who knows how I feel, so if there were to be wider studies, the best we will ever have is self-reporting, at least until brain imaging technology advances. I may conduct further experiments in the future, but I have to admit, I’m not keen on harming myself! What I can gather from this small amount of data thus far is that different foods cause different reactions.
I will continue to search for other similar accounts to my own and sift through what little scientific literature there is and update this page when I do.
Meat Heals: Anecdotal reports from adult individuals who have experienced an improvement in their autism symptoms.
NY Post article about a nutritionist mother who cured her son’s autism with diet.
IBCCES article from another mother who cured her son’s autism with diet.
NCBI report from a small study on 15 children with autism on a ketogenic diet.
Ted X talk by Dr.Katherine Reid, a biochemist who reversed her daughter’s autism through diet.
Science Daily report, autism symptoms reduced by nearly 50% after fecal transplant.
Nature.com report, long-term benefit of Microbiota Transfer Therapy on autism symptoms and gut microbiota.