Gluten-Free Nutrition In Children – More Risky Than Expected?

More and more parents are feeding themselves and their children gluten-free. How healthy is that?

Products without wheat protein can currently be found in all supermarkets. Even if the proportion of celiac diseases in the population is rather low, more and more Germans are feeding their children gluten-free. About one in ten people avoid products that contain wheat protein. Gluten-free bread, biscuits, and pasta are booming in German supermarkets. Sales of gluten-free products increased by 35 percent to 105 million euros in 2015. Suddenly everyone in the USA is said to be allergic to the wheat protein gluten. There has been a 136 percent increase in gluten-free products in the last two years. Why do so many people actually buy gluten-free products? Norelle R. Reilly from Columbia University suspects: “Parents are concerned about their children’s health and therefore put them on a gluten-free diet. They believe it can relieve symptoms, prevent celiac disease, or be a healthy alternative — without even being tested for celiac disease or consulting a doctor.”

Gluten-free diet – more harm than good?

Many people believe that a gluten-free diet is healthy for everyone and has no disadvantages. However, experts know that healthy people who do not suffer from celiac disease or wheat allergies should not put the corresponding diet products on their menu. These increase fat and calorie intake and can lead to nutrient deficiencies. The following therefore applies in particular to parents: Children can be fed with wheat products without any worries. If there is a suspicion that the child does not tolerate any component of the food well, the first step should be to the doctor and not to the gluten-free section in the supermarket. Norelle Reilly adds, “Parents should be aware of the potential financial, social, and nutritional consequences of an unnecessary gluten-free diet.” The social components also play a major role in nutrition. No child feels comfortable when all the other children are allowed to eat cake and spaghetti at the birthday party and they cannot eat with them. In addition, the products without gluten often cost twice to three times as much as conventional wheat products.

Gluten is not harmful to healthy people

Experts even assume that complete renunciation of wheat protein can trigger gluten intolerance in small children. Therefore, the child’s organism should be accustomed to gluten at an early age.

Another common misconception is that many people think that gluten is generally toxic to the body. However, there is no evidence that healthy people are harmed by wheat protein products. And: Real celiac disease usually occurs in childhood. Only in very rare cases do adults still suffer from intolerance.

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Written by Crystal Nelson

I am a professional chef by trade and a writer at night! I have a bachelors degree in Baking and Pastry Arts and have completed many freelance writing classes as well. I specialized in recipe writing and development as well as recipe and restaurant blogging.

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