Many parents are concerned with the impact diets for kids can have on their child’s health. This concern is well-founded because diets that are designed for children, usually have high levels of carbohydrates and calories.1 This is often the case with under-the-radar “quick fix” diets that promise quick and easy weight loss. While there are some proven weight loss strategies that can be beneficial to children, there are also some things parents need to be aware of when it comes to diets for kids.
It is important for kids to eat a balanced, healthy diet, one that is low in fat and high in nutritious foods. This is an age where nutrition needs to be addressed on several fronts. Parents need to make sure that they get their children to eat healthy balanced meals and that they monitor what types of food their kids are consuming.2
Dieting does not necessarily lead to weight loss and doesn’t have to, and in some cases can actually lead to nutritional deficiencies that may further compromise the child’s health.3 Parents should ensure that they get their kids to eat a balanced diet, one that is low in fat and high in nutrients.
What is a Gluten-Free Diet?
Gluten-free diets are often recommended for those who have celiac disease or other conditions where the body cannot tolerate gluten. These individuals may experience abdominal pain, bloating, nausea and diarrhea when they eat foods containing gluten. This can lead to weight loss or malnutrition.4
For many others, however, it’s about eating healthier by choosing foods that don’t contain any of the common allergens such as dairy products, eggs, soybeans, and peanuts (tree nuts). It also means avoiding processed meats like cold cuts from grocery stores because these typically contain hidden sources of gluten in fillers and spices used to flavor them.5 Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. A gluten-free diet consists of removing the gluten from these products, which includes the derivative glucomannan, and also other products derived from these grains, such as bread and pasta.6
There are many gluten-free meal plans available for your consideration. There is no need to feel left out when it comes to feeding your child with a gluten diet in mind.
What Are the Benefits of a Gluten-Free Diet?
The benefits of a gluten-free diet are numerous. These are not only beneficial for those who suffer from Celiac disease but for anyone who is concerned about having to eat foods with gluten. Gluten is the substance that makes bread rise and also allows it to rise better than similar wheat-based products. The gluten in wheat is what gives bread its chewy texture, and the gluten in rye adds that little bit of nutty flavor. Without gluten, bread would just be a regular loaf of bread, but with a gluten-free diet, you get bread that is not only tasty but that is also not going to adversely affect your body.7
One of the most important benefits of gluten-free dieting is weight loss. Gluten is partially to blame for why some people end up with weight problems after consuming gluten for a long time. When gluten molecules are digested too much by the body, it takes carbon dioxide out of the blood. Since gluten is made up of mostly amino acids, this causes people to feel hungry all of the time and consequently gain weight.8
Another one of the benefits of a gluten-free diet is mental clarity. People who have chosen to follow a gluten-free diet often report having more mental clarity than those who do eat traditional diets. This is because a gluten-free diet causes the body to produce less insulin, which means that the brain gets more oxygen. Gluten also regulates the release of important neurotransmitters in the brain and helps the brain process information more quickly and efficiently. This may explain why some people who have chosen to go on gluten-free diets often report having increased brain function.
Many of the benefits of a gluten-free diet also help to improve your overall health. Since gluten has been linked to high cholesterol and obesity, people who have chosen this diet have a lower risk of developing these conditions. A gluten-free diet also helps to prevent other chronic conditions, such as arthritis and osteoporosis. It has also been proven that people who have chosen to follow a gluten-free diet are less likely to develop gastrointestinal disorders like irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, or Coeliac sprue, which can cause serious damage to the small intestine and its lining. In addition, a gluten-free diet can reduce joint pain and other diseases of the joints.
In addition to these two important benefits, a gluten-free diet also promotes healthy overall digestive health. One of the major causes of nutritional deficiencies is a poor diet that lacks adequate dietary fiber. Gluten is both a natural dietary fiber as well as a natural short-term source of dietary fiber. Because of this, it stimulates the immune system, increases nutrient absorption, and stimulates peristalsis, allowing food to move more quickly through the intestines. A gluten-free diet promotes healthy intestinal function by allowing the digestive system to better absorb nutrition. In the long run, eating a healthy diet can reduce the risk of developing many diseases like IBS.
Lastly, people suffering from IBS often experience abdominal pain, bloating, constipation or diarrhea. When a person’s GI tract has trouble processing gluten, there can be excess gas, cramping, and excess water in the stool. This extra gas can cause pain in the abdomen and may cause some temporary relief by making one bloated. Constipation is another symptom of gluten intolerance. When the undigested gluten passes through the GI tract too fast, it can cause diarrhea. Again, when gluten is properly processed by the body, these symptoms subside.9
What is Celiacs disease?
Celiacs disease, also known as celiac sprue, is an autoimmune disorder that affects the small intestines. Some of the symptoms associated with this condition include diarrhea, abdominal distension, chronic diarrhea, chronic loss of appetite, abdominal bloating, malabsorption, and in some children, failure to gain weight normally.10
After receiving a diagnosis of the disorder from their pediatrician, the first thing that you should do is to inform your primary care physician that you are having trouble controlling the child’s gluten allergies. Your physician will most likely be able to suggest a specialized diet for your child that will allow him or her to live a healthy life. After initially being diagnosed, most children with Celiacs disease have learned to adjust their diets to those that are gluten-free.11 If you continue to have trouble controlling your child’s allergic reactions to gluten then you should discuss adding a gluten-free diet to your child’s daily routine.
Symptoms of Celiacs Disease
Celiac disease is defined as a genetic autoimmune disease that affects the intestinal tract and hence it can lead to serious damage to the small intestine as well as several other complications. It is a common disease among Celiacs and people who are gluten allergic.12 Gluten is a component of wheat, rye, and barley. This substance is present in many foods including pasta, bread, cookies, chocolates, soups, sauces, and snacks. Abdominal swelling accompanied by diarrhea, abdominal pain, cramping, vomiting, and foul-smelling stool are some of the other symptoms of Celiac disease.13
Apart from these, there are also some other common symptoms of Celiac disease. In order to differentiate between these, several blood tests are carried out and a gastroenterologist performs a physical examination of the stomach, duodenum, jejunum, and ileum. The results of the blood tests along with the symptoms mentioned above are then compared with a gluten-free diet. If any of the tests come out positive then a diagnosis of celiac disease has to be made. Celiac disease symptoms include chronic diarrhea, abdominal bloating, skin rash, anemia, weight loss, anorexia, and bone marrow depression.14
Several symptoms of Celiac disease can also be cured by vitamin and mineral supplements. Vitamin D and iron supplements can help in the absorption of essential nutrients for the body. Most people are diagnosed with this condition when they consume foods that are difficult to digest or that contain gluten.15
A diet change may be advisable depending on the case. Mild symptoms can be treated with a strict diet, while more severe cases may require a strict change of diet and some additional tests. Treatment usually takes 6 months or more. The main aim of treatment is to improve the patient’s quality of life.
Gluten-Free Living / December 20, 2014
Medical News Today / December 17, 2020
Very Well Health / September 8, 2020
Gluten Dude / July 1, 2014
1“Children Need Carbohydrates – Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.” 24 Mar. 2021, https://www.eatright.org/food/nutrition/dietary-guidelines-and-myplate/children-need-carbohydrates Accessed 5 Aug. 2021.
2“Kid’s Healthy Eating Plate | The Nutrition Source | Harvard T.H. ….” https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/kids-healthy-eating-plate/ Accessed 5 Aug. 2021.
3“Diets For Kids – Freedieting.” https://www.freedieting.com/diets-for-kids Accessed 5 Aug. 2021.
4“What is Celiac Disease? | Celiac Disease Foundation.” https://celiac.org/about-celiac-disease/what-is-celiac-disease/ Accessed 5 Aug. 2021.
5“Celiac disease – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic.” 21 Oct. 2020, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/celiac-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20352220 Accessed 5 Aug. 2021.
6“Celiac Disease: Diagnosis and Treatment – Healthline.” https://www.healthline.com/health/celiac-disease-sprue Accessed 5 Aug. 2021.
7“Gluten: A Benefit or Harm to the Body? | The Nutrition Source ….” https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/gluten/ Accessed 5 Aug. 2021.
8“What Is Gluten? | BeyondCeliac.org.” https://www.beyondceliac.org/gluten-free-diet/what-is-gluten/ Accessed 5 Aug. 2021.
9“How Your Gastrointestinal Tract Works – MU Health Care.” https://www.muhealth.org/conditions-treatments/surgical/bariatric-surgery/getting-started/anatomy-and-function-of-the-gi-tract Accessed 5 Aug. 2021.
10“Celiac Disease: Diagnosis and Treatment – Healthline.” https://www.healthline.com/health/celiac-disease-sprue Accessed 5 Aug. 2021.
11“Celiac Disease: Diagnosis and Treatment – Healthline.” https://www.healthline.com/health/celiac-disease-sprue Accessed 5 Aug. 2021.
12“Symptoms of Celiac Disease | Celiac Disease Foundation.” https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/celiac-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20352220 Accessed 5 Aug. 2021.
13“Celiac disease – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic.” 21 Oct. 2020, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/celiac-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20352220 Accessed 5 Aug. 2021.
14“Symptoms & Causes of Celiac Disease | NIDDK.” https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/celiac-disease/symptoms-causes Accessed 5 Aug. 2021.
15“Celiac Disease: Diagnosis and Treatment – Healthline.” https://www.healthline.com/health/celiac-disease-sprue Accessed 5 Aug. 2021.