The second phase of cleaning up Corban’s diet was to pull refined sugar. I know that sugar contributes to many serious health conditions (heart disease, cancer, cataracts, emphysema, anxiety, depression, and hyperactivity). But when I learned that refined sugar is tied to decreased immune function, I knew we had to see what would happen when we took it out of Corban’s diet.
For children with developmental delays, sugar is especially harmful. This is true because many children on the autistic spectrum have food allergies, damaged intestinal tracts, out-of-balance gut flora, and yeast (Candida) overgrowth. Yeast is especially alarming because it feeds on sugar. Then the yeast:
- produces toxic chemicals including alcohol, which the blood carries to the brain and affects nerve growth and brain development
- depresses the immune system and makes a child more sensitive to other allergies to food and environmental stimuli
So how did we begin this second phase of our Operation Clean-up? We began by religiously checking processed food labels for the following sweetener ingredients and strictly limiting them in Corban’s diet:
- white sugar
- brown sugar
- raw sugar
- confectioner’s sugar/powdered sugar
- cane sugar
We also completely avoided these sweeteners:
- High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
- Corn Syrup
- All artificial sweeteners, including aspartame
Being informed is the first step to making positive change. If you want to learn more about why sugar is dangerous to our health, click here to watch the video, “Sugar: The Bitter Truth”
Results: Corban became a lot less moody and combative after only a few days without refined sugar. The frenetic activity, including stimming, decreased substantially. The other enormous impact we saw was that previously, Corban had been constantly sick, catching one thing after another. After pulling refined sugar, he’s had only one mild cold in the last 9 months. Now that’s progress.
Suggestions: While I will not recommend or endorse any specific sugar and sweetening products, I’ll tell you the options we’ve tried and had success with: xylitol, brown rice syrup, organic honey, and stevia. I monitor the information and research on these options closely to make sure we’re making the safest, healthiest choices available. If you’re concerned about introducing or excluding anything from your child’s diet, work with your doctor.
Keep a food diary so you can track your child’s response and to watch for a change or reduction in ASD symptoms once a particular food is removed.