In recent years, gluten-free products have become nearly ubiquitous in American grocery stores: The gluten-free label dots an increasing number of American snack foods, and the associated hashtag—#glutenfree—has become wildly popular on social media. For many, the abundance of these foods on the market has led to a correlated assumption that products devoid of gluten are healthier than those that contain it; so often, parents are sending their kids to school with gluten-free snacks under the assumption that by doing so they're making healthier choices for their children.
But according to a new study published by the Journal of Pediatrics, there's no reason to feed your kids expressly gluten-free products unless they actually have Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disease that makes it more difficult for the body to digest gluten. And in many cases, the study suggests, processed gluten-free foods can actually be worse for your kids than other processed foods.
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“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 CD [celiac disease], or is a healthy alternative without prior testing for CD or consultation with a dietitian," said Dr. Norelle R. Reilly, from New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, in a statement released with the study.