Link Between Junk Food & Autism Is Sad But Not Surprising

junkfoodWhen we heard about the link between maternal obesity and autism, we thought it made sense, sad as that discovery is. After all, obesity during pregnancy is linked to other risk factors for infants. So it's not surprising that our typical diet of highly processed food is also linked with autism.

The problem here isn't so much with what processed food puts into our bodies -- it's what it keeps our bodies from eliminating. High frutcose corn syrup can cause mineral deficiencies, which in turn can prevent our bodies for getting rid of toxic chemicals in our systems.

Processed food leading to autism is a very complex chain of events, as researcher David Wallinga explains. "If you've got enough calcium in your diet, it's going to protect you from absorbing lead, and concurrently, if you are calcium-deficient, then you're going to absorb more lead in your gut, and therefore have more lead in your bloodstream." Toxins in the environment also play a role here. The researchers recommend a diet high in antioxidants and necessary minerals for pregnant women.

More from The Stir: 10 Steps to Take If Your Child Is Diagnosed With Autism

It's one thing to think about the harm processed foods do to our own bodies and weigh whether or not we want to take the risk. But when our eating habits can effect our unborn children -- what then?

I guess it shouldn't be too shocking that HFCS and other processed foods are (GASP!) bad for us and for our babies. But learning exactly why they're harmful is surprising. Now we know -- if you're expecting, it would be sad to cancel out all the good of those helpful prenatal vitamin supplements with junk food snacks.

Does the link between processed food and autism surprise you?


Image via EBJ-Photography/Flickr

autism, in the news, nutrition


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angev... angevil53

this sounds like better explanation than vaccines.

Kris Gamble

Yeah... I don't think kids get autism because their mothers feed them lucky charms.

But I had a milk allergy and probably didn't get enough calcium, and another kid I knew had a condition where his gut absorbed too much of what he ate and he'd get rashes and stuff, I forget what his mom called it. We both have Aspergers. Maybe the connection is there? Because we'd both absorb more toxins.

Kris Gamble

Then again, if it only affects pregnant women, then I don't really know. But in my experience women eat healthier when they are pregnant, even if they eat more. I dunno.

Kris Gamble

Oh, and my mum was anything but obese before, during, and after pregnancy. Sorry... I will stop spamming the comment section :P

littl... littlebeanmom

This is obviously anecdotal data, but once pregnant I became so obsessed with what I was eating.  There are tons of foods that I used to eat often that I was repulsed by while pregnant.  This especially pertained to any foods with preservatives (including cereal and crackers) and high fructose corn syrup.  It was kinda weird.  Maybe my body knew more than I did.

SueMN... SueMNanaMama

My kid didn't even eat processed foods until AFTER he got his autism diagnosis.  Nice attempt at misdirection...

nonmember avatar HS

Piggybacking off Sue's comment, if processed foods have a link to autism, shouldn't we ALL be autistic? I don't buy this at all.

Have genetic links been ruled out as a cause cuz that's usually how disabilties start, something missing in a parent's DNA or child's DNA?

nonmember avatar Michelle completely missed the point. This hypothesis has NOTHING to do with what your kid ate AFTER he was born. They are talking about what YOU as a pregnant mother were eating. And as a food scientist, I buy this theory 110% and agree that this is a MUCH better theory than vaccines. Why are there so many more autism diagnosis' than there were say, even 30 years ago? Yes, partly because we recognize the disease more but more in large part it's due to our crappy diets in this country. For something that will make you go "The China Study". Fantastic book that references not specifically autism but why certain cancers are more prevalent etc: BECAUSE OF OUR HEAVILY PROCESSED DIETS. I long for the day when people wake up and realize that what you put into your body DOES MATTER. Take a biochemistry or human physiology class...this theory will make MUCH more sense.

femal... femaleMIKE

I think this article is trying to say pregnant mothers ate this stuff and baby was exposed to it in this way. I still think this study is crap.

Magen Kauffman

I too, call BS to this 'study'. This is just another way of telling moms of kids with autism "Guess what? Your child's autism is ALL YOUR FAULT b/c you were (did) this (that)!" Grrr.......

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