Misconceptions of a gluten-free diet for children

You may have come across the term celiac disease (CD) especially so if you have adopted a gluten-free lifestyle. Although the exact cause of an allergy to gluten is still unknown, most research points to the way in which the wheat is grown and processed. Foods that include gluten are wheat starch, wheat bran, wheat germ, semolina, broken wheat and pretty much anything that is a form of or contains wheat.

If you are gluten intolerant, effects could vary from mild discomfort to utter debilitation. An estimated 1 in 133 Americans have been diagnosed with CD and the disease may affect 50-60% of American’s by 2019 through increased public awareness initiatives. With such alarming statistics, it’s no wonder individuals have adopted a gluten-free lifestyle with or without gluten intolerance and often co-relate it to a healthier lifestyle.

However, this is a common misconception as there are no proven health benefits to a gluten-free lifestyle for an individual who isn’t gluten-intolerant. Introducing a child to gluten-free food may lead to nutritional deficiencies and increased fat and calorie intake. Research shows that immediate relatives including children need not automatically suffer from CD and aren’t at risk.

Although research conducted on a small subset of patients monitored by an expert dietician shows that a gluten-free diet can lead to a better, healthier lifestyle for individuals suffering from CD, this needn’t be the case for everyone. No significant research has been conducted to prove that a gluten-free diet is beneficial for children, and that they should be introduced to it at an early age. Gluten isn’t toxic. You may or may not be allergic to it, so if you aren’t, there really isn’t a need for you to cut it out from your food.

 

 

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