Glycemic Index (GI) is a ranking given to foods containing CARBOHYDRATES according to the overall effect they have on blood sugar levels. Foods that are absorbed quickly have higher GI; i.e. Foods that are quick to digest have high GI values (e.g. - White breads, cereals, sugary processed foods). A low GI DIET is mainly comprised of foods that take longer to digest. Consuming CARBOHYDRATES that are slow to digest reduces the Spike in blood sugar levels that follow a meal.
Autism is characterized by social avoidance, repetitive behaviors and difficulty in communicating. The right nutritional intervention can have a huge impact on your child's brain function, learning, attention, focus, growth and overall health. Nutrition can protect your child's body from neurotoxins, enhance his immune system and support his gastrointestinal function.
If an autistic child is not provided with the right nutrition, it will have a negative impact on his ability to respond to treatment and therapies - behavioral programs and art, music, occupational, sensory and speech language therapy. Research indicates that many children with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) suffer from one or more range of digestive/gastrointestinal problems which can affect not only the brain but also mood and behavior.
Autistic children are extremely hyperactive, so they usually craves for sweets, chocolates, junk food which spikes their blood sugar levels immediately and thus gives them instant energy for more activity. It is a vicious cycle as, Sugar - Glucose is main food to brain and excess food to brain increases brain activity and hence increases Hyperactivity and thus less ability to concentrate. Hence a good dietary intervention is important for children with ASD. A low Glycemic Index diet can control the hyperactivity and thus helps improve the concentration and further scope of intervention therapies to help them improve and become more independent in their life.
It is very important to feed them small meals at small intervals, so there are no sudden dips and spikes in blood sugar levels. Food choices should be from low Glycemic food, high on fiber, non meat sources of protein, fruits and vegetables. One should definitely avoid Sugar, sugary food, junk food to these children.
A healthy, adequate and a balanced diet is a key for good health, as it will also provide proper nourishment which is required during the growing age. Parents have to take care not to self design the child's diet but seek professional help from a Nutrition Expert who can provide right guidance and customize a diet plan as per the need of your child.