Is gluten-free a terrible idea for your child?

Is gluten-free a terrible idea for your child?

There are a number of ways you can keep your child gluten free and yet make sure he or she gets the nutrients necessary.

As we reported recently, a new study claims that children without celiac disease who go off gluten may face more risks than benefits because of the nutrients they’re missing out on — nevertheless, many gluten-free families are likely to balk at putting their children back on gluten, and fortunately there are some things they can do to get the best of both worlds.

Gluten-free diets have been especially popular for parents looking to help their autistic children. Kent Williams, a pediatric gastroenterologist from Nationwide Children’s Hospital, said in a statement for Autism Speaks that parents can take steps to ensure the health of their child on a gluten-free diet.

For one thing, it’s important to consult with a nutritionist or dietician to make sure your child is getting all the nutrients he or she needs without gluten in their diet. Foods containing gluten often are major sources of protein, as well as important nutrients like vitamin D, calcium, and zinc.

You can help the dietician by bringing a 3- to 5-day dietary history for your child, showing what your child eats and how much, and the dietician should be able to identify any room for improvement, and work with you to develop a safe and complete diet.

Then, parents can make a list of behaviors that they would like to see improve, and monitor them as the diet progresses, noting any changes. You might monitor angry outbursts or problems with sleeping.

You should also recruit other people in your child’s life to monitor changes when you’re not there, like babysitters and teachers.

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