gluten

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Gluten-Free Diets in Children May Promote Poor Intestinal Health

Nearly one in five children who participated in this study had persistent intestinal damage
gluten

marekuliasz / Shutterstock

The average age of children in the study diagnosed with celiac disease is 10.6 years old.

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.”

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