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Will New Guidelines Help Boost Gluten-free Baby Food Market?


Photo: CC--Melissa Doroquez

Celiac.com 05/27/2016 - Data from scientific studies meant to help clinicians recommend the best time for the introduction of gluten into an infant's diet have been unclear, and this has led to some confusion among parents as to the best policies for when to introduce gluten.

Past advice was based on observational studies, but two clinical trials published in the past two years have shown that the age at which gluten is introduced to the diet does not affect overall rates of celiac disease during childhood.

In response to those recent studies, the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN) has already changed its guidance to recommend that infants be introduced to small amounts of gluten sometime between four and 12 months of age. Meanwhile, Sweden's national food agency, Livsmedelsverket, is reviewing recent scientific studies make sure its current advice regarding gluten introduction matches the best current data.

The new research suggested that "it does not matter when during the first four to 12 months food with gluten is introduced," reads a note on the Livsmedelsverket website. "The new research provides important knowledge about what affects the risk of gluten intolerance," said Ylva Sjögren Bolin, the agency's immunologist and nutritionist.

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These changes could have an impact on the market for baby food, which has seen sales fall recently as more and more parents follow specialized diets for their infant children. In the last few years, more parents have turned to allergen-free foods for their children, which has created a lucrative market for the products, especially in the gluten-free category.

Exactly how lucrative? About 14% share of the global market was gluten-free in 2014, according to Euromonitor International. Major markets for gluten-free baby food include Russia, Spain and Italy.

Look for that market share to increase, as "more babies and toddlers are used to gluten-free, and mums believe that gluten-free is a better diet for their kids," noted Mintel's Yannick Troalen.

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@cyclinglady thanks for checking in Restricted diet didn't do much. Still had some VA last time they checked. Heath still otherwise fine, so RCD remains unlikely. My sxs kick in lockstep with life stress, so that kind of points to some general IBS stuff on top of celiac disease. Very doubtful I'm getting any gluten in, but fingers crossed my system is just a little hyper-vigilant, as I ponder on this thread.

I have always noticed that the table wine in Europe is pretty damn good! I am a wine lover and so is my husband but he does like his Green's beer.

The reason they set the limit at 20ppms is that through scientific study, they have proven that the vast majority of people with Celiac Disease do not have an autoimmune reaction to amounts below that......it is a safe limit for most. Also, just because that limit is set at 20ppms, does not mean that gluten-free products contain that amount of gluten. Testing for lower levels becomes more expensive with each increment down closer to 0-5ppms, which translates into higher priced products. Unless you eat a lot of processed gluten-free food, which can have a cumulative affect for some, most people do well with the 20ppm limit.

I'm in the Houston area so I'm assuming there are plenty of specialists around, though finding one that accepts my insurance might be hard. This might sound dumb, but do I search for a celiac specialist?? I'm so new to this and want to feel confident in what is/isn't wrong with my daughter. I'm with you on trusting the specialist to know the current research.

Hi VB Thats sounds like a good plan. Would it help to know that a frustrating experience in seeking diagnosis isn't unusual With your IGG result I'm sure a part of you is still wondering if they are right to exclude celiac. I know just how you feel as I too had a negative biopsy, but by then a gluten challenge had already established how severely it affected me. So I was convinced I would be found to be celiac and in a funny way disappointed not to get the 'official' stamp of approval. Testing isnt perfect, you've already learned of the incomplete celiac tests offered by some organisations and the biopsy itself can only see so much. If you react positively to the gluten free diet it may mean you're celiac but not yet showing damage in a place they've checked, or it may be that you're non celiac gluten sensitive, which is a label that for a different but perhaps related condition which has only recently been recognised and for which research is still very much underway. We may not be able to say which but the good news is all of your symptoms: were also mine and they all resolved with the gluten free diet. So don't despair, you may still have found your answer, it just may be a bit wordier than celiac! Keep a journal when you're on the diet, it may help you track down your own answers. Best of luck!