Study Sheds Light On Introducing Gluten

by |  October 21st, 2013
Pizza and chicken tenders are regular treats in children’s diets. But, for kids diagnosed with celiac disease, these gluten-saturated foods can cause harmful effects. Eating gluten — even just one cookie — causes an immune system reaction that can prevent the body from absorbing important nutrients.

The good news is that there are more resources available today than ever before for parents and kids living with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Many restaurants carry gluten-free menus and supermarkets now dedicate an entire food aisle to the special food items…even bread and cookies!

So, why the surge in gluten-free? It largely comes down to a rise in celiac disease and gluten intolerance diagnoses. While the medical community is still unsure the reason for the increase, more research is being conducted to understand its cause and effects.

A recent study published in Pediatrics reconfirmed that in individuals with the genetic predisposition, there may be an age interval — between four to six months —in which introducing gluten containing solids may help reduce the risk of developing celiac disease. I spoke about this topic with KVUE-TV and said that while the results are interesting more research still needs to be done before establishing guidelines. For instance, what has not been determined is whether the introduction of gluten at this stage reduces the life-time risk or just delays the onset of symptoms.

Most importantly, if you have questions or concerns about your child and a possible gluten intolerance, make sure to discuss it with your physician before making drastic food changes.


411 Pediatrics


Dr. Ava Gallagher is a pediatrician and a mom. After growing up in Brownsville, she received her medical degree at the University of Texas Medical School at San Antonio. She completed her pediatric residency at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston. After residency, she entered academic medicine as an Assistant Professor at UTMB in Galveston. and joined 411 Pediatrics in the summer of 2013. Dr. Gallagher is Board Certified in Pediatrics and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She is a member of the Texas Medical Association. Her professional interests include obesity prevention, breastfeeding and nutrition.

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