1. Gluten-free Does Not Mean Healthier
There seems to exist a misconception about gluten-free diets; while it is a necessary lifestyle change for those suffering from coeliac disease or a wheat intolerance, there are no proven health benefits for anyone else.
Dr Norelle R. Reilly, from New York-Presbyterian/ Columbia University Medical Centre, says, “Out of concern for their children’s health, parents sometimes place their children on a gluten-free diet in the belief that it relieves symptoms, can prevent [coeliac disease], or is a healthy alternative.”
2. A Cookie Is Still A Cookie
While having some gluten-free items – like fruits and vegetables – in a child’s diet is great, some gluten-free foods such as a muffin or a cookie still contain substantially high amounts of sugar, calories or fat.
3. Lacking In Nutrients And Vitamins
All children need essential nutrients and vitamins to help them grow. And not all gluten-free foods are rich in these necessary minerals and nutrients they need, in fact some might even be lacking. Think about cultivating a balanced diet for your child instead of a gluten-free one.
4. It Limits His Chilhood Enjoyment Of Eating
Limiting your child’s diet to only gluten-free foods might put him in an unhappy state, because his choices of foods are cut down severely. A child needs to grow up enjoying eating and trying out different foods, especially at school, with his friends, at children’s parties and during special occasions like Christmas and the holiday season.
5. Gluten-free Is Expensive
Let’s face it, gluten-free products are not cheap compared to non-gluten-free versions. And in the long run, this can eat into your finances which can be better invested into improving other aspects of your child’s growth, like in education or creative activities.
As Dr Reilly advises, “Parents should be counselled as to the possible financial, social and nutritional consequences of unnecessary implementation of a gluten-free diet.” So do seek a professional dietitian or your GP before putting your child on a total gluten-free diet.
Text: Deirdre Fogarty, The Australian Women’s Weekly/Bauer / Additional Reporting: Sean Tan