As somebody with Celiac disease who is a future pediatrician (and parent, I hope!), I felt compelled to comment on this article.
What do you all think?
Here's my comment to the New York Times:
I'm a medical student with Celiac disease and a future pediatrician. I have come across many families who decide their children should eat gluten free, whether for behavioral issues, autism-spectrum disorders, or GI symptoms. Unfortunately, we don't know yet whether a gluten free diet is efficacious in helping with these conditions because the research is lacking. I've heard stories about non-Celiac children who, once sickly, are now thriving on a gluten free diet. While this may be placebo effect, I believe it is possible that a gluten free diet may be helpful in alleviating some symptoms in some children.
I was fortunately diagnosed with Celiac disease as an adult. But going gluten free for a child is a completely different ballgame, with gluten prevalent at school and birthday parties, in Play-doh, etc. I fear that some parents will decide to put their child on a gluten free diet for health reasons without fully understanding the meaning of gluten free. I've had many discussions with people who think that "gluten free" means that the food is a healthier choice, a tagline somewhat akin to "vegan," or "organic". Going gluten free is a tremendous sacrifice for anybody, and for a child, even more so. It is dangerous to create false allergies for our children, unnecessarily putting them in the sick role.