Today, every opportunist and snake oil salesman has a reason why Autism is on the rise. Still worse, they try to sell people on miracle cures; prevention and relief from a genetic condition. Now, Chef Peter Evans is touting the Paleo diet as having such powers over autism and suggests his diet book can reduce the rate of autism.
Paleo Snake Oil
Well here’s the REAL answer… the rate is rising because we’re getting better at testing. Autism is not caused by the modern diet as Chef Evans so boldly proclaims. Rather, it has been a condition existing in human nature since the dawn of humanity. While some chemicals used in growing our food have an impact, and may trigger a genetic action that activates autism, those chemicals are present in the food system, whether you’re eating Paleo or not. Dr. Angelone – our founder, a certified master chef, and food consultant with more than 37 years experience, absolutely confirms that our modern diet is not the cause of autism or any increased rates.

Autism faces a far greater problem; more people are having children later in life, which dramatically increases the risk of autism. While this isn’t the cause of the condition or of any increase in its growth in the population, it is a factor that must be considered. So too, is the dramatic increase in use of medications, alcohol consumption among pregnant women and drug use. The cause of autism cannot be ascribed to one thing, but a range of things.

Chef Evans is simply trying to sell books without proper regard to those his opinions, comments or salesmanship harm along the way. Nor is there any apparent concern for the false hope he any any others may give that simply changing your diet will result in some miraculous change.

The facts are simple, it is known that autism is genetic, thus diet is unlikely to affect the matching of x and y chromosomes. While the diet of a pregnant woman is important, the diet he’s recommending lacks the essential iron, folic acid and other nutrients scientific study has shown to help with successful pregnancies.

The Paleo diet is yet another in a long list of ‘fad’ diets that sweep the nation through the media, causing all sorts of fuss and frenzy. Fads, are just that, temporary; without substance or merit, and unlikely to change anything in the long run.

If you want to eat healthy before pregnancy, just avoid GMO foods and things that may contain mercury, such as fish and processed foods. Forget the bacon, steaks, chops… and stick to in-season foods. One of the problems with Paleolithic diet is that calls for consuming increased volumes of fresh fruits and vegetables. The problem here is that such things are usually the result of pesticides to prevent insect infestation, and genetic modification to increase preservation.

The pesticides have been directly linked to increased autism, and there’s no metric yet on the impact of GMO on the human genome. Thus the Paleo diet is essentially bad for autism, not ‘good’ as Chef Evans suggests. In fact, many of the foods that Paleo omits are rich in the very things that can prevent autism, such as folates, magnesium, etc. and they’re available year-round.

The Paleo diet is actually low in many of the key vitamins and nutritional values necessary for any successful pregnancy, and therefore should be avoided. For example, the diet calls for absolutely no legumes, yet beans are shown to improve oxygen delivery to the fetus. Since oxygen is essential to proper development, the paleo diet would be harmful to the fetus. Let’s face it, human nature has evolved past its paleolithic roots.

So, in conclusion, don’t buy the book or the hype; skip the snake oil sales approach and deal with your diet from a proven concept of nutrition, and carefully under your doctor’s and nutritionist’s advice.