Parents Respond to Forbes Inaccurate Diet Article


Did you see the rebuttal I wrote to the Forbes article saying that the diet does not help autism and that we should “put to rest all of the claims that a gluten-free diet can somehow improve the symptoms of autism.” Their article discouraged all parents from trying diet intervention.

The biggest problem is that this Forbes writer seems not to have looked at the science beyond one current study that just came out.

In my rebuttal I lay out the science that shows diet does help autism, and how the ONE study he cited was flawed in two major ways. I couldn’t believe that someone would discourage parents from doing dietary intervention with their child based on one flawed study.

I have reached out to Forbes to see if they will publish my rebuttal or a scientific article on the subject of diet and nutrition intervention for autism.

Here is my email to their Corrections and Editorial departments/contacts: 

Attention Forbes Media, 

I’m writing regarding an article published in Forbes online on November 11, 2019 by one of your contributors, Steven Salzberg, entitled “New Autism Study: Gluten-free Diet Does Not Help Autistic Children.”

I believe your article to be inaccurate and I request that you publish corrections accordingly, including my expressed rebuttal.

You can read my response here:

In addition to the science explained, please note the dozens of comments from parents (and professionals) on how diet helped their children with autism.

As a professional Certified Nutrition Consultant working in this field for 17 years, I have written an award-winning book, published scientific research, and consulted and spoken with thousands of families, and I can say with certainty that your article is filled with misinformation. 

Your article is not only inaccurate, but it’s harmful to families who are looking for ways to help their children feel better. Your article spreads misinformation that discourages them from trying something that is shown to help, as there is plenty of scientific research supporting that diet improves autism symptoms and helps children.

I respectfully request that you correct the misinformation, and publish my rebuttal. 

Furthermore, I’m willing to submit to Forbes a scientifically referenced article on this subject if you are interested to publish it. I’m also open to engage with Mr. Salzberg in a forum where we can actively discuss the science of this subject together. 

I look forward to your response.


Julie Matthews

I’m so tired of people who have clearly not examined the body of research, talked to a doctor on the front lines, or parents how have found benefit.

One mother really summed it up the naysayers really well, she said they often told her“ there was no science behind it, it was too expensive, and too hard.”

Sadly, this is not true. But I heard these reasons frequently. And that’s why I needed to write this rebuttal.

I asked parents and professionals to share their experiences in the comments section, to show other parents and Forbes that diet can and does help improve autism.

There are over 25 comments from parents and practitioners sharing their experience and that diet has helped their child or clients/patients.

Here are a few…

Yes, my son regressed into autism at 12 months and further at 15 months after an immune system assault. He developed horrible GI issues. At 21 months, we decided to go dairy free and within 1 day there was a noticeable difference in his interaction with us. We then went Gluten free and started seeing many improvements. Unfortunately, diet wasn’t enough to recover him, BUT it was the building block. And as you point out in your article, ONE bite does make a difference. We saw this about 2 months into the diet, when he managed to get 1 small piece of waffle and returned to a stim he had given up weeks before.
He is almost 15 and is completely recovered from autism, although he still has GI issues. I don’t believe we would have recovered him without the GF/CF diet and later SCD. I believe organic/non-GMO is essential as well. We have used GI meds and a variety of targeted biomedical interventions based on his physical presentations.

Thank you so much for providing information for parents! It was a parent blog that got me started on GF/CF years ago, even after several books written by doctors said there was no science behind it, it was too expensive and too hard. NO! It becomes one of the easiest and most basic interventions you can do.


I have twin boys who are two and a half and we have been on the gfcf diet for just over a month. I am seeing such amazing improvements in behaviour, hyperactivity and language and social skills. Everyone from intervention, family members, friends and play group teachers are commenting and noticing the difference in both of them since starting the diet changes. I also have Aspergers and have started the diet myself and have notice already that my brain feels less scattered and I can put thoughts together easier.

Thank you for giving us hope ❤️ It has really worked for us so far.


My son’s digestion was horrific before changing his diet. It wasn’t until we removed offending foods (gluten/dairy/soy/corn/refined sugar) that his digestion got better and that took about 3 years. He didn’t have a solid bowel movement until he was 11 years old. To say that diet doesn’t make a difference with ASD is absolutely false. Not only did his digestion change, his behavior did. He was no longer screaming in pain and he was became much calmer. You are what you eat as they say. Thank you Julie for putting the truth out there.

Kerry R.

Julie my daughter stopped hitting her head, hurting her knees and all other self-injury when we cleaned her diet, removing gluten, casein, sugar, soy. NOTHING ANYONE SAYS can counter that. Today, she’s a beautiful adult that speaks fluently 5 languages and is pursuing university. The low oxalate diet gave us a quality of life we could have only dreamed of. Keep doing what you are doing… parents need to hear correct information!

No amount of therapy would have given my daughter the chance of a productive beautiful life without the diet. Once her body started to function as it should and only then every therapy gave us gains and allowed her to become the woman she is today. Such a shame people feel entitled to judge something they have not lived. Thank you for your very vocal work!

Patricia G.

My autistic son barely spoke a word until we met with a functional medicine doctor, who immediately recommended a gluten, dairy and soy free diet. Within days of starting the GFDFSF diet, my son started talking and communicating. He is a chatterbox now compared to where he was before changing his diet. I would never let him go back to eating whatever.


Oh yes, nutrition does matter!
Summer before last I had my granddaughter to tutor.
She was last in her class(1st).
She is a beautiful sweet girl but just zoned.
Teachers told my daughter, children like this never change.
I had her for about 5 weeks.
I detoxed her while cutting out gluten and most dairy.
I taught her for like… 30 mins 4 days a week for those 5 weeks.
When my daughter came and picked her up, the haze was gone from her eyes, she no longer grunted instead of talking, she was retested(same test she had when she left school) and now Aced the test! … And the teacher apologized to my daughter because she had never seen this happen to a child before.
Nutrition, suppliments, detox, no gluten and limited dairy.


Since the removal of dairy products and wheat products from my child diet, his overall health, behavior and social interaction has improved. Foods do affect our bodies.

Anne R.

Within 8 days of going dairy-free, my son with autism went from using a few words at a time to 4-word sentences. He became more aware of others and his environment. He called my father Grandpa for the first time. It was nothing short of amazing. I am now a health coach because I saw the power that food and nutrients had on my son, and I wanted to share that information with other families. I have seen many kids improve through a gluten and/or dairy-free diet. It costs nothing extra, with no side effects. It often starts families on path to other biomedical treatments and healthier eating. Why would anyone take away a parent’s hope with such a promising treatment? It is so frustrating as a parent to constantly have to defend what we’re doing. Thank for this article and for your help to give families a voice.

Sheila E.

Thank you for your rebuttal to this unfortunate article. As a parent of a child on the spectrum, I can say that many dietary interventions, including a GFCFSF diet, have helped my son immensely. As per the usual, main stream media is ignoring the abundant amount of science “on our side”, and ignoring parents who witness their children’s behavioral and physical changes (sounds like another area that I won’t mention here). I personally think the problem is that there is no money for big pharma to make in a “cure”, when a healthy diet is used to help and heal the body. So, they will do what they can to debunk actual science. Bravo for your response and for your amazing work. Parents: you can help heal your child with nutrition, there is hope. It may not be easy, but it is totally worth it!

Kristin F.

I’m so glad to see so many families have had such wonderful response to diet!

You can read the comments and responses yourself on the blog.

But I’m not surprised. I see it every day in my practice and online from parents that write to me.

We should be encouraging parents to strive for the healthiest diet their child can have, regardless if they have autism or not. At Nourishing Hope, we stand for the efficacy that diet and nutrition can improve autism.

Please share your comments on the Forbes rebuttal, or share my rebuttal on any group or social platform you can.

We want to nourish hope.

I want to counter this message from the naysayers with nourishing hope. And get the word out to parents with newly diagnosed children looking for answers and help.

To spread the truth, next week, I will be doing an online discussion where parents and practitioners can ask any questions they’d like about dietary intervention for autism.

Julie Matthews is a Certified Nutrition Consultant who received her master’s degree in medical nutrition with distinction from Arizona State University. She is also a published nutrition researcher and has specialized in complex neurological conditions, particularly autism spectrum disorders and ADHD for over 20 years. Julie is the award winning author of Nourishing Hope for Autism, co-author of a study proving the efficacy of nutrition and dietary intervention for autism published in the peer-reviewed journal, Nutrients, and also the founder of Download her free guide, 12 Nutrition Steps to Better Health, Learning, and Behavior.


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