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Dangers of a gluten-free diet for children who do not have coeliac disease

'Going gluten free' is a phrase heard often in the 21st century, but a study defined by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence looks at the health effects it can have on children who do not have coeliac disease.

Coeliac disease (CD) is defined by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) as an autoimmune disorder where a heightened immunological response to peptides derived from gluten proteins results in chronic inflammation and damage (known as villous atrophy) to the lining of the small intestine. The mainstay of treatment is adherence to a lifelong gluten-free diet (GFD) and its benefits are well recognised (NICE 2016).

However, benefits of a GFD in individuals who do not have CD remains contentious. Despite this, GFDs as a lifestyle choice are being adapted by a significant number of people including children. A recent news story reported an extreme case of parent-led exclusion of wheat and dairy where a seven-month-old baby died

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