A couple of weeks ago it was Coeliac Awareness Week. Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disorder and sufferers need to completely cut gluten from their diet. It is estimated that under 2% of New Zealanders have coeliac disease. However it’s also likely that there are a lot of undiagnosed coeliacs out there.
If you suspect that your child may have coeliac disease or some form of gluten intolerance, see you doctor before you do anything dramatic such as taking all gluten out of his or her diet. Not only does going gluten-free make it difficult (actually I think impossible) to correctly diagnose coeliac disease, but as well, the gluten-rich foods contain a lot of things which children need in their diet. So to simply avoid all these foods, without getting sound medical advice, can actually be harmful.
If your doctor diagnoses your child as having coeliac disease, you will likely be referred to a paediatric dietician who will make sure that whatever you need to take out of your child’s diet is replaced with whatever nutrients / fibre / etc that your child needs in order to grow and develop.
And that goes for adults, too! Don’t take major food groups out of your diet without getting advice from a qualified dietician. Parent chat rooms and magazines don’t qualify as “sound advice”!