TPV Episode 25 Show Notes: Let’s Hear it From the Boys

February 8, 2013 in Categories: , , by

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Our twenty-fifth show!
Ep. 25: Let’s Hear it From the Boys

In this episode, Stacy and Sarah invite actual boys on the podcast! We’re joined by Stacy’s seven-year-old, Cole, plus the amazing Joshua of Slim Palate and the entire Hulet family (Jen, Ben, and their boys Oscar and Linus) of The Urban Poser to discuss how to be a real food kid in a processed food world. This one is quite the show! The kids, Cole, Oscar and Linus spend the first half being adorable, then, after they head to bed, the adults talk about defending their choices and affirming the healthiness of paleo kids.

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The Paleo View (TPV), Episode 25: Let’s Hear it From the Boys

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Comments

Hi Sarah,

I want to start by saying I love, love, love the podcast. You and Stacy are awesome! I listen to you all the time, and have converted many of my girl friends (paleo, non-paleo, on-the-fence-paleo, want to be paleo with their new families, etc) to start listening to your podcast.

My journey to better health began in January 2009 after I added some extra pounds during the holidays. I started with a low-carb, low-fat diet…while I was successful, my energy was extrememly low on it. I also treated my new diet as just that–a diet. A friend turned me on to the paleo lifestyle towards the end of 2009, and I have been semi-paleo ever since (I loved the concept of eating fat for energy!). I still like to cheat with chips (mainly because they’re a vehicle to get salsa to my mouth), beer (I love a good beer), dairy (in my coffee and delicious blue cheese on my bunless burgers), and occasional bread or tortillas. After years of being paleo in the home but not paleo outside of it, listening to your podcast has made me want to get off the pot and fully commit to the paleo lifestyle.

But…I have to say a part of my heart died when listening to your “Science with Sarah” section at the end of the podcast (#25). The statements that were made about children with autism and GFCF diets were not true (at least from the empirically supported research that I have read). As a scientist (and I value your opinion and your “Science with Sarah” section), I was very disappointed in your comments. More background on me–I’m a behavior analyst. I provide treatment to children with autism that is empirically supported (ABA therapy). After I finished grad school, I worked for an autism treatment company in their research department and still provide clinical services to children with autism. I love data. I love science. I love treatments that are empirically supported. There have been numerous studies evaluating the effectiveness of GFCF diets as treatment of autism, and their findings lack evidence to support GFCF diets for children diagnosed with autism. So…while I support clean, nutrient-dense diets for all children (and do not doubt that eliminating problematic foods would help any child respond better to treatment), GFCF alone is not sufficient for children with autism. I have to ask–where did you get your information about autism and GFCF diets? If there is a published paper supporting the diet that I have heard of then I would love to read it…not to get in a nasty cyber-fight, but so that I can be more informed (if it could help the children and families I work with then I am open to it).

Thank you for the wonderful podcast–I am always trying to incorporate the tips I learn from it into my life from things like incorporating organ meats, trying fermented cod liver oil, and going no-poo.

Thank you for the wonderful podcast and blog (Stacy too!).

Hi Christy,

Thank you for your comment! I don’t take it as starting a cyber war at all. I am quite happy to hear constructive criticism.

So first, I am not an expert on everything and I am happy to admit when I get something wrong. That being said, I do feel that there is convincing scientific evidence supporting GFCF diets in ASD, although I did not properly explain the details of this evidence or the variability in results from different studies–I believe that is where my statement in this podcast probably sounded like an overstatement. We plan to do an ASD/ADHD show in the future and I will make sure to include a detailed discussion at that time. In the meantime, I will endeavor to write a blog post summarizing the current research and the questions left unanswered.

Certainly, GFCF diets are not broadly curative (and I never said they were). And certainly, not every child sees improvement with GFCF diet. There seems to be responders and non-responders (it should be noted that non-responders don’t get worse, so there is no risk in trying GFCF). There are some compelling ideas in the scientific literature about why some children see dramatic improvement with GFCF and some see little or no improvement. Probably the best established idea is gut-brain axis issues which would imply that other factors affecting gut health could be hindering/negating any effects in the non-responders. Another possibility that has been documented is the presence of supplemental food sensitivities. I would also argue that no studies have controlled for overall nutrient quality of the diet since the way that different people implement GFCF varries tremendously and this may also be a contributor to the variability in the effect. There is clearly a great deal of skepticism in the medical community over the benefits of GFCF diets for ASD (this paper is an excellent summary of the research from a skeptical perspective: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23316152 ), which likely reflects the fact that large-scale, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trials are very difficult and expensive trials to perform (in fact, none have been completed–but one is underway at the University of Rochester and results should be published in late 2014 or early 2014).

The biggest and most recent randomized trial showed benefit with GFCF diets, but a plateau in effect was reached at around 12 months: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20406576
This study tries to tease out the difference between responders and non-responders, suggesting food sensitivity and presence of gastrointestinal symptoms may be confounding factors: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22564339
This study evaluates gut-brain axis in ASD and shows benefit with GFCF diet: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19917211

Sure, there are plenty of questions left to answer. And sure, GFCF in not a cure for ASD. But, I do believe there is enough scientific evidence to call it a good place to start.

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