Is it safe for children to eliminate wheat in their diet? I have three daughters ages 8, 11, &13. One of my daughters suffers from chronic constipation and the other suffers with migraines despite our very “healthy” diet.

0 Answers

  1. CatEbeling wrote on :

    Yes, it is NO problem to eliminate wheat from children’s diets. Both migraines and constipation may be related to a gluten sensitivity. What happens with any type of food sensitivity or allergy is the inflammation causes problems in nutrient absorption, so eliminating problem foods may help overall health as well as addressing the issues you see directly. It is a little difficult to eliminate foods from children’s diets because of school lunches, eating at friend’s houses, etc. Best bet though is to try to totally eliminate a food for two full weeks and then retest it to see what happens. You can do this with most any food, but it usually works best when you eliminate each food separately and retest alone. Good luck.

  2. Shirley Farley wrote on :

    Absolutely safe….wheat is one of the usual suspects in food allergies or sensitivities. There are so many good alternatives like brown rice. quinoa, millet and teff. Check with your health food store to find wheat-free baked goods and/or baking supplies.

    For constipation try probiotics (grocery store yogurt usually does not contain enough live bacteria to make a difference). Replenishing the good bacteria supply is extremely important. The human gut contains approximately four pounds of bacteria. Some actually provide the host with beneficial nutrients and aid digestion–these good guys should comprise about 76% of the total bacteria load. Unfortunately, the bad bacteria are hardier than the good ones. When the intestinal inhabitants are killed by antibiotics, etc., the bad ones repopulate much more rapidly and overwhelm the good populations. Fiber is also important. Sprinkle psyllium seeds on cereals for extra fiber.

    Removing wheat from the diet may also help the migraines. Wheat, yest, eggs, milk products, soy, and beef should also be suspected. For a crude, but often effective test check your daughter’s pulse rate before eating and about 20 minutes after the meal. If her pulse rate is 10 to 15 (or more) beats per minute higher than before the meal it is likely that food sensitivities are present. Good luck and have fun with all those alternative grains.

  3. Gregory Anne Cox wrote on :

    Hi, It’s perfectly safe for children and adults to eliminate wheat from their diets. In many parts of the world wheat is not a staple. The issue with the commercially grown and processed wheat is that it has a lower protein, higher starch content than wheat from days gone by. Many of us are starch intolerant in the amounts we eat it. A new book called Wheat Belly might be a good resource for you to learn more about this. Wheat is one source of gluten and that’s often the irritant for people. You can have food sensitivity testing done–use blood tests vs scratch tests for this–that will show what foods the children are sensitive to vs guessing it might be wheat.
    Best regards, gregoryanne

  4. Nancy Ortiz wrote on :

    Never eliminate a healthy food from a diet without a specific reason. This is how poor diets begin. Whole wheat products are a great food for constipation. See your Family practice MD and a Registered Dietitian for guidance.

  5. Caroline Cederquist M.D. wrote on :

    Dear Roach,

    It is undoubtedly safe for you to eliminate wheat and wheat gluten from the diet of a child, and though it can be challenging, it is entirely worth it. I personally eliminated all forms of wheat and gluten from my own diet as well as my two youngest children’s diets and they both hit growth spurts soon after.

    Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barely, rye, spelt and kamut that can be difficult to digest and very aggravating to the GI tract. When the GI tract is inflamed, this can cause a condition of ‘leaky gut’ where undigested food particles and toxins are absorbed before being fully digested.

    When these particles arrive in the blood, the body builds antibodies to it. A little of this is normal, but a lot of antibodies to a food is not normal. This is what happens with a gluten sensitivity.

    This is called a hidden food allergy, when the body creates an attack on a normal food. I recommend making easy switches to things like quinoa/corn pasta, and gluten free breads, cereals and gluten-free wraps. Grains that are gluten free include rice, corn, buckwheat, quinoa, and bean flour. Potatoes are naturally gluten free, along with all fruits and vegetables in their natural state.

    Remember that kids need protein to grow, so ensure they have plenty of chicken, fish, turkey, lean deli meat, yogurt, nuts or nut butters, gluten free soy, and lean pork or beef when it’s meal time.

    In terms of constipation, I would also consider beginning a probiotic supplement that contains around 5 billion CFUs of lactobacillus culture strains.

    For the migraine headaches, ensure that your daughter is drinking plenty of pure water each and every day, and if this does not help, you may want to consider looking into further food allergies, such as soy, egg, and dairy, as these can cause some of the inflammation that results in the brain when a migraine starts.

    Wishing you and your daughters the best of health,
    Caroline Cederquist, MD

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