Since you started food diversification, your child has been bloated, has diarrhea, is tired and is no longer gaining weight. Celiac disease (gluten intolerance in grains), although common, is not always easily diagnosed. This disease affects the digestive tract and results in intestinal malabsorption.
Identify celiac disease
“Its early identification depends on the symptoms,” explains Prof. Jean-Philippe Girardet, pediatric gastropediatrician at Trousseau hospital in Paris. It is relatively easy when they are observed in infants following the introduction of flours in the diet. It is delicate in the event of little or no symptomatic forms (iron deficiency, slowdown in growth in children from 3 to 12 years old, pubertal delay in adolescents), when digestive signs are absent or moderate. The diagnosis is based on the assay of anti-gliadin and anti-transglutaminase antibodies. It is confirmed by an intestinal biopsy, performed by endoscopy under general anesthesia, in day hospitalization. ”
It is only then that the regime is put in place. It excludes all products containing gluten.
The gluten-free diet
What your child should not eat: bread, cereals made from wheat, rye, barley or oats, pasta, couscous semolina, cookies, pastries, pizzas, hamburgers, breadcrumbs, wheat flour.
Watch out for certain industrial products: soy sauce, minced meats that are not “pure beef”, sausages, sauces, stock cubes, seasonings, soups …
“And shopping takes time for parents, because you have to check the labels,” comments the gastropediatrician. Fortunately, there are natural gluten-free foods.
What your child is allowed to eat: grilled meat, vegetables, fruits, eggs, milk, corn, rice, buckwheat, pulses, potatoes, tapioca …
Food bans are difficult for children to understand and accept. “There are two critical periods, warns Professor Girardet. The entry to school, because the child is subjected to temptations when he sees his friends eating cakes, and he realizes that a deviation does not lead to immediate symptoms: why deprive him -we ?! The second period concerns teens. Some give up their diet. Others remain vigilant but find it difficult to accept this regime for life, the constraints of which have desocializing effects. ”
At school, the child cannot eat in the canteen, an individualized reception project (PAI) must be set up. And going to summer camp is difficult, just like having lunch at a fast food restaurant with friends.
The risks of dropping out of the diet
“At the end of growth, young people are sometimes offered a reintroduction of gluten-based products for a few months,” says the gastropediatrician, followed by an intestinal biopsy in order to demonstrate to the adolescents the resumption of the abnormalities. The prolonged abandonment of the regime is not without consequences. “There are two main types of complications: growth retardation and bone mineralization disorders. ”
Gluten-free products are expensive
In France, supermarkets offer few gluten-free products. And the plan is expensive: 120 to 150 € per month, “because the production costs are five times higher”, specifies Julien Dréano, Auchan product engineer.
“Gluten-free products are reimbursed by Social Security on the basis of 65%,” explains Brigitte Jolivet, president of (AFDIAG). Are supported: pasta, bread, flour and cookies. The monthly reimbursement for children under 10 is € 33.54 and for over 10 years € 45.73. ”
The gluten-free diet improves symptoms of the disease in three to four weeks.