Should Your Kids Go Gluten Free?

It seems like everywhere you turn you see the words gluten-free labeled on food products. Omitting the protein from foods and snacks has become quite the trend nowadays. So what is it and why all the type? Should you be concerned with consuming this protein? To shed some light on the subject I have gathered some information to bring you the facts on gluten.

What is Gluten?

230336_10200220561460366_1041272819_nGluten is a protein often found in wheat and grains. It gives dough its elasticity and a puffy texture in breads. Some foods that contain the protein include:

  • Cereal
  • Pasta
  • Crackers
  • Cookies
  • Wheat
  • Other grains such as bran, rye, and triticale

It can also be found in other types of foods such as soy sauce, candy, lunch meat, and even vitamins.

In people with Celiac Disease, the protein leads to inflammation of the small intestines. People who have Celiac Disease are commonly treated with a gluten free diet to help control their symptoms. Now there is reason to believe that the gluten-free diet could also help with children with autism.

Gluten is a substance that has been present in different types of grains for years; although with the processing and modification that most of our foods go through today our bodies may overreact and treat the protein as a foreign substance causing an allergic reaction. It is also for  this same reason that food allergies are on the rise especially in children.

Should You Omit Gluten From Your Child’s Diet?

Even in children who do not have Celiac Disease, avoiding gluten altogether can have benefits. Many parents that have banned gluten-containing foods from their children’s diet found improvements in their child’s behavior. Parents of children with ADHD reported that after eliminating gluten from their diets for a period of 6 months or longer their children were less easily distracted and over time became calmer. In mild cases of children displaying ADHD-like symptoms it has been shown that they had a sensitivity to the protein where eliminating it from their diets actually cured some of the symptoms, which in turn reduced the need for meds.

If your child shows signs of food allergies or digestive conditions such as colitis, your pediatrician may perform a screening to test for Celiac disease and recommend a gluten-free diet.

Achieving a gluten-free diet is not an easy task in the beginning. With so many foods containing high levels of this protein, eliminating it is a big adjustment to be made. Here’s a list of safe foods that naturally do not contain gluten in their unprocessed form:

  • Beans and nuts in their natural form
  • Fresh eggs
  • Fresh, non-marinated or processed meats, poultry and fish
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Many (not all) dairy products

Since the awareness of gluten sensitivity is becoming more widespread, you can find several products in many grocery stores that are now labeling if they are free of gluten. Children are not as easy to adapt to the restrictions of a gluten-free diet. These are some kid-friendly snacks without gluten.
Udis Gluten Free Snickerdoodle Cookies

 

 

 

 

Glutino Pretzel Twists

 

 

 

KinniKritters Animal Cookies

Pirate’s Booty Baked Rice and Corn Puffs

 

 

 

Annie’s Homegrown Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks

 

 

 

 

Going Gluten Free

 

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