Celiac disease in children what diet to adopt

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  1. Celiac disease in children: what diet to adopt?
  2. An intolerance to gluten, not an allergy
  3. No immediate symptoms
  4. Celiac disease: gluten must be eliminated
  5. Beware of hidden gluten
    1. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our customer services.
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Celiac disease in children: what diet to adopt?

Léa was a smiling newborn... Suddenly, around 1 year old, when she started to diversify her diet, her weight and height curves suddenly stopped. She began to have unexplained chronic diarrhea and abdominal pain.

coeliac disease in children

Photo August by Richelieu in Pexels

Her concerned parents consulted a pediatrician.

An intolerance to gluten, not an allergy

Blood tests were quickly proposed and an intestinal biopsy confirmed the diagnosis: Léa suffers from celiac disease. This is a typical picture of the discovery of this gluten intolerance.

Coeliac disease is, in fact, an intolerance to certain components of gluten, a protein contained in wheat, spelt, kamut, rye and barley cereals.

Regular intake of gluten in children with celiac disease causes atrophy of the villi (small projections covering a mucous membrane) of the small intestine. This atrophy is the cause of a malabsorption syndrome that leads to deficiencies of iron, calcium, and folic acid.

No immediate symptoms

The important thing to understand is that celiac disease is in no way an allergy to gluten.

That's a crucial difference. If a gluten-intolerant child eats a small amount of gluten, for example in the school lunchroom or at a birthday party, absolutely nothing happens.

Unlike a gluten allergy, which can cause an edema, even if the amount ingested is minimal.

In the case of celiac disease, symptoms appear only when there are significant or repeated nutritional errors.

Celiac disease: gluten must be eliminated

The only treatment for celiac disease is to follow a strict lifelong gluten-free diet.

In practice, bread, pasta, cakes, certain cereals, cookies, pastries, pizzas, bread crumbs and all foods that may contain hidden sources of gluten (semolina, wheat flour, couscous, soy sauce, certain 100% non-certified pure beef, sausages, sauces, certain soups, bouillon cubes, seasonings, thickeners, etc.) should be excluded from the diet.

Once the regimen is in place, the disappearance of clinical signs is dramatic in young children.

In a few weeks, the digestive symptoms disappear, and in one or two years the intestinal mucosa is normalized.

Excluded foods can be replaced by corn, rice, buckwheat, legumes, potato starch, tapioca, soybeans

Manufacturers offer alternative gluten-free specialties. These products, available in pharmacies or organic stores, are paid for in part by Social Security.

They are classified into four categories: flours, bread, cookies, pasta. To be eligible for reimbursement, a certificate confirming that a biopsy has been performed must be presented.

Beware of hidden gluten

When a child has celiac disease, parents should get into the habit of reading labels. As the child grows, he or she should be taught to take responsibility for protecting himself or herself.

Since 2005, a European directive requires the systematic labelling of the presence of gluten. This is a step forward, but the problem of contamination of certain foodstuffs still exists.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our customer services.

- Be especially careful with sauces that can be thickened with flour.
- Sort packages of lentils as well, since wheat grains may be present.
- Be careful with the coating of some medications that may contain hidden gluten. Ask your pharmacist and doctor to check the excipients carefully. Take every precaution with generic medications.

To go further: Afdiag's website offers a lot of practical information, a list of authorized and prohibited foods, contact details of distributors and manufacturers of substitute products, etc.

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