Effects of gluten-free diet on children
(WXYZ) – Gluten-free diets have become very popular in recent years, but new research finds the diets may do more harm than good for most children.
Celiac disease is on the rise and the only treatment for it is a gluten-free diet.
An article in the Journal of Pediatrics states concerned parents are placing their children on a gluten-free diet as they believe it’ll prevent Celiac disease or because they feel it’s a healthy alternative. This is a concern because there is no scientific evidence that a gluten-free diet is beneficial for kids who don’t have celiac disease or a wheat allergy.
Is there any harm in eating gluten-free products?
What we know is that it can increase fat and calorie intake as many gluten-free packaged foods are often higher in fat and sugar. It may also lead to nutritional deficiencies as many of these foods are not fortified with vitamins and minerals.
For the parents who placed their kids on the gluten-free diet because they felt it was a healthy alternative, what should they do? A healthy balanced diet is important as it fuels a child’s growth and development. So here are my prescriptions for overall nutrition for kids:
Partha’s RX on Nutrition for Kids:
1. Choose Healthy Protein
Consider seafood, lean meat, eggs, beans, peas, unsalted nuts, and seeds.
2. Serve Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables
They can be fresh, canned, frozen or dried.
3. Include Grains
They are a good source of complex carbohydrates and offer key vitamins and minerals. Chose whole grains like whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, popcorn, and brown rice.
4. Limit Added Sugars, Saturated, and Trans Fats
Naturally occurring sugars in fruit and milk are great. As are healthier fats found in nuts, avocados, and seafood.
What should parents do if they’re concerned about gluten sensitivities?
If you think your child has a gluten problem, see your doctor as they may need to be tested. Symptoms vary but signs to look out for are weight loss, bloating, chronic diarrhea, pain or failure to thrive.
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Data pulled from WXYZ.