Ask the Expert: Gluten Free for Autism

Regularly, Tyra (my fellow dietitian) and I will get questions from store guests about products or shopping tips. Here is a question we received recently that Tyra answered perfectly:

Question: Our son has sensory integration dysfunction, which is listed on the autism scale. We have been reading lately about a gluten-free and casein-free diets and how that may be helpful to our son. However, I ran into the grocery store just grab some juice and 30 minutes later I came out empty handed and very overwhelmed. If it does not say gluten-free it's not right? Any helpful hints?


Tyra Carter
Registered Dietitian
I certainly understand how frustrating it is to shop and try to follow such diet restrictions, as these substances are found in a wide variety of foods (often hidden). I am not sure where you shop, but currently our specialty division stores (Market Street and some United Supermarkets stores) have a gluten free health tag program that would help you to identify foods that would be safe to eat as far as gluten is concerned. Foods are identified on the shelf price tag with a blue GF tag. You can learn more about this program by picking up educational brochures located in kiosks at these stores or looking on our website. You can also access a list of GF foods that we have in our stores on the website and this is regularly updated with new items. The website also has newest tag information under GF section. www.marketstreetunited.com/healthwellness/taglabeling.asp

Keep in mind that we only tag items that contain no gluten and are manufactured in a separate gluten-free facility to avoid issues of cross-contamination. Some products may be labeled GF from manufacturers because it is made without gluten, yet not receive our tag. This means the food does not meet both our criteria. But all of this is explained on our website information.

Other websites that could provide you with additional information include:

I would highly recommend a book by Shelley Case who is a registered dietitian specializing in celiac disease
and gluten intolerance. I believe you can find it on the last website listed. It is called "The Gluten-Free Diet". It will help you identify safe vs unsafe foods. On a positive note, fruits and veggies are generally GF unless other ingredients that contain gluten have been added. Since most people need to increase their intake of these foods, this gives you a green light to do so.

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