Celiac.com 09/22/2017 - I run into many parents who are in quite a quandary about instituting a gluten-free diet for their child. A typical scenario is that one of the parents is gluten intolerant and is highly suspicious that their child is as well. Due to the child being 'relatively healthy' the non-gluten intolerant spouse suggests that the child be able to 'live a little' and enjoy the cake and pizza that is so prevalent during children's parties and sporting events.
In my opinion, there is no question about whether a gluten-free diet should be implemented, after confirmation that gluten intolerance exists that is. I know that gluten intolerance vastly increases your risk of developing diseases that can affect almost any system and/or organ in the human body. The evidence shows that it vastly increases your risk for autoimmune disease. I also know that it can be rather silent in a younger body, but if a positive test exists, then it IS doing damage, regardless of whether it is felt or not.
Not surprisingly celiac disease did have a negative impact on the quality of life in social settings, specifically in the area of travel and dining out. However, and this is where I find that most people make their mistake with their children, the researchers found that 'those diagnosed in childhood and maintained on the diet experienced a reduced impact on their quality of life as an adult'.
So it turns out that you aren't doing any favors to your at-risk child by putting off the implementation of a gluten-free diet. You're not only creating negative impacts health-wise, as mentioned above, but by delaying a gluten-free diet you are also condemning them to the perception of a lower quality of life.
If you think about it, if gluten-free is pretty much all you've ever known, you would be less likely to miss it. You haven't built up the memories of gluten-containing cakes and pizzas and pancakes.
Please do not put off testing your child because you think you're doing him or her a favor by putting it off. The truth is quite the contrary. Waiting could allow an autoimmune or other illness to develop that could have been avoided. There is absolutely NO benefit to one's health to continue eating gluten when one is gluten intolerant, and it turns out that there is no benefit psychologically either.
Have you run into this argument from friends or family? Have you put off diagnosing a child because you were made to feel guilty? Please write to me and let me know your experiences and thoughts.
To your good health.
- Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics. 2012 Feb 25. Living with coeliac disease: survey results from the USA. Volume 25, Issue 3, pages 233–238, June 2012