Gluten-Free Diets In Children May Promote Poor Intestinal Health

Eating gluten-free is more than a dietary trend, with an estimated one in 133 individuals in the United States suffering from celiac disease.

A recent study published in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition explored the effects of gluten-free diets in children and found that the dietary restriction may not promote good intestinal health.

In the study, 19 percent of the 103 children with celiac disease who followed a gluten-free diet for at least one year showed persistent intestinal damage after repeat biopsies. Of the children analyzed, 60 percent were girls.

"We assumed that healing would occur once a patient was put on the gluten-free diet," Dr. Alessio Fasano, director of the Mass General Hospital for Children and co-senior author of the study, told FoodNavigator-USA. "We have learned that this is not the case for all coeliac [sic] patients."

The study also found that malabsorption and inflammation in children may have a negative impact on physical and cognitive development, FoodNavigator-USA reported.