New Study Indicates Gluten May Be Harmful to Babies

March 10, 2010

New Study Indicates Gluten May Be Harmful to Babies

Controversial research proves gluten protein may trigger gastrointestinal discomforts in infants.

American Journal of Gastroenterology has published a study claiming that the introduction of gluten-containing foods to infants too soon may increase stomach troubles such as constipation.

The Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam conducted the study, which analyzed parent provided questionnaires from more than 4,600 children, from birth until young adulthood.

From Reuters Health:

“After examining family traits and diets, Kiefte-de Jong concluded that introducing gluten in the first year of life was ‘a trigger for functional constipation’ in some children. On the flip side, constipation may make cow’s milk allergies last longer.”

However, due to weaknesses in the data, many in the medical community are skeptical of the study’s conclusions.

“I wouldn’t jump out and change the world based on this,” said Dr. Rita Steffen, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital “There’s not enough evidence to support removing gluten from diets.”

Parents are usually urged to introduce solids slowly, starting with rice cereal and moving to other grains after 6 months, Steffen told Reuters Health, while acknowledging that parents will do what they want, often jumping the gun on introducing other solids.

Kiefte-de Jong and colleagues acknowledged more research would need to be conducted to further affirm their results.

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