Health Alert about Gluten-free Diets in Children
If you’re trying to avoid gluten these days, you’re in luck. Store shelves are groaning with gluten-free products. Everything from beer to bread is available without gluten. But a new study hints they may not be the best option for your children.
The usual reason people avoid gluten is fear of celiac disease, which the National Institutes of Health defines as “an immune reaction to gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. The disease affects about one in 141 people in the United States.”
But a study just published in the Journal of Pediatrics indicates going without gluten may be harmful for children if they don’t actually have celiacs.
“Going on a special diet is a big deal. It instills in children fear of food. It’s not very easy to do,” says Dr. Richard Besser, the chief health editor for ABC News. He says the push toward gluten free is “all about marketing.” He encourages parents who are worried about celiac disease to take their children to a gastroenterologist.