Early introduction of wheat into the diet may prevent serious illness. But some scientists have doubts.
Long-term research has shown that careful introduction of gluten into a child’s diet from an early age can reduce the risk of gluten intolerance later in life. Scientific work published in JAMA Pediatrics magazine.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease in which people cannot eat gluten, in which case antibodies begin to attack their small intestines. Gluten is a protein found in grains (eg wheat, oats, barley).
The study began about 10 years ago. It presented a series of experiments on the early introduction of various foods (milk, sesame, fish, wheat, and others) into the diet of infants in order to prevent the development of allergies to them in the future. More than 1000 young children took part in it. Some of the findings of the study were published earlier. They are demonstratedthat early introduction of peanuts and eggs can reduce the risk of allergies.
In the wheat experiment, children received four grams of gluten per week starting at four months of age. The choice of this age was due to the fact that other studies showed that introducing wheat into the diet at an earlier age or after seven months may increase the risk of celiac disease.
Observing children for three years, scientists found that in the control group (516 people), 1.4% of the participants developed celiac disease, and in the experimental group (488 people) this disease did not occur.
The study authors believe that early introduction of gluten into the diet may prevent celiac disease. However, Baptiste Laurent of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine notedthat for accurate conclusions a larger study is needed.