15 October, 2021
Sugar Cravings and Autism
- High sugar diets aren't good for anyone, but for kids with autism and ADHD, it's even more important to limit sugar. Parents notice that sugar and autism symptoms track together more noticeably than with neurotypical children.
- Sugar addiction in children is a concern, however, there is a reason for cravings. Knowing the reason helps manage cravings.
- Microbes outnumber human cells by a factor of 10, so microbes message to the brain for food can outweigh human cells.
- Reducing microbes that thrive on sugar reduces the signal to eat sugar.
- Contrary to popular belief, overweight people often have the most willpower and mental strength, because many times a day they have to overcome a significant signal from microbes to eat sugar.
- Improving gut health can not only stop sugar cravings but improve overall health.
- Common sugar replacements can make matters worse, but xylitol may help.
Sugar cravings and Autism Spectrum Disorder often go together.
Does sugar cause autism?
It's unlikely that's there's a single of autism for any one person. Each person's autism will have their own unique causes and contributing factors. The major contributing factors for autism usually fall into categories that induce inflammation and hamper the functioning of mitochondria. With this in mind, I would say that sugar does not cause autism. However, sugar can cause inflammation and impair the function of mitochondria. Therefore, I recommend reducing sugar intake for people with autism to allow the body to heal and improve functioning.
More on the causes of autism here.
Altering gut microbes can stop sugar cravings.
The good news is that one of the main reasons that people with Autism, ADHD, or anyone crave sugar, is that there is a significant signal coming from the gut microbes telling them to eat it. This means that improving the balance in the gut makes it easier to resist sugar. One of the key things that people overlook is the drive to eat certain foods often comes from microbes in our gut.
- Cravings from human cells.
- Craving from microbial cells.
"cravings may be caused by sugar loving microbes asking for more sugar"
The microbes in the gut, and around other areas of the body are a huge source of cravings. Since it's estimated that there are ten times as many microbes in the human body compared to human cells, the signal to eat sugar from microbe signalling may be more significant than that of human cells.
What foods should I focus on to help my child with Autism?
Foods are important for improving health. Every person is different and requires a diet that works well for them. There's no one diet for everyone. The information below is not a comprehensive writing on the subject of diet to help children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. It's a summary of things the consider to specifically help your child's obsession with sugar. Remember to keep in mind that some children will be sensitive to some of these food and in that case they should be avoided.
Please remember that artificial sweeteners such as sucralose are not recommended as an alternative to sugar. Sucralose worsens sugar cravings and has negative health effects that may be worse than sugar.
- Quality fats.
Quality fats can reduce sugar cravings and supply the body with sufficient energy. Quality fats are stable fats, which tend to be saturated fats and some polyunsaturated fats. These include fats from grass fed animals, including butter. Some vegetable fats are stable, such as olive oil and coconut oils including MCT oils (MCT oils derived from coconut oil). MCT (medium chain triglyceride) oils can be a great source of energy as they can convert to usable energy for the body very easily.
- Quality protein.
The best protein sources are from grass fed sustainly raised animals. Not much is needed (most people probably eat too much meat) particularly when the meat have a higher concentration of nutrients and lower amounts of toxins.
- Fibres and probiotics.
Food that supports the microbes that improve our health is important to eat. Make sure your family eats a high fibre diet rich in vegetables. Vegetables should be the focus of a healthy diet. Some fruits can be enjoyed in moderation, particularly focussing on berries. Probiotics may not be the best place to start and may be not cost effective. To read more about our thoughts on probiotics for autism.
My recommendations for sugar cravings are below. For more information about helping people with autism, such as the 4 strategies you should add to your autism treatment plans, you'll find links to all other posts below.
To make faster progress, wasting less money on mistakes, consider hiring a life coach. More information on life coaching here.
The number one strategy to improve sugar response and stop the sugar cravings has to be improving diet. We do, however, live in the real world. In the real world, it's not so simple to move to a great diet right away.
Improving gut health and reducing sugar loving microbes is the best way to reduce sugar craving. Diet improvements such as eating high-fibre vegetables and prebiotics that help the good bacteria gain control of the gut is the best approach.
I acknowledge that you want a supplement to kick-start gut health improvements. For this I recommend ION Biome (formerly restore). ION Biome is my favourite supplement for improving gut health, balancing gut microbes and healing the gut lining.
One of the best supplements for reducing blood sugar spikes on the market is berberine. Berberine has been shown to lower blood sugar and have a positive effect on a variety of functions inside cells. I like this liposomal berberine supplement from Alive by Science.
The takeaway from this post is that to improve gut health in most people, we should remove sugars such as sucrose, glucose, and fructose. A healthy and diverse community of microbes will be much easier to achieve if these sugars are reduced.
For further information about healing your child with with Autism, read this post about the natural treatment for autism.
For support and help from parents that have been though and are going through the process of healing their child, you can join our online private community. To help you child faster, avoiding costly mistakes, consider hiring an autism life coach.