Pros and cons of the gluten-free diet

Alan Greene, MD & Founder of DrGreene, shares advice for parents on the pros and cons of the gluten-free diet for kids and how to create a healthy diet for your kids
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Pros and cons of the gluten-free diet

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Is a gluten-free diet a better diet for kids? There are about 3M people in the United States, kids and adults, who have Celiac disease. And they really should avoid gluten. There are more people than that, not most people, who are gluten sensitive. And they should at least reduce gluten in their diet. But in general, gluten has been a healthy protein, a healthy part of the human diet as far back as we know. A couple decades ago if somebody were to switch to a gluten-free diet, it usually meant a pretty positive change, because they were switching from eating a whole lot of flour products to a lot more produce and other whole foods, because there weren't gluten-free products available. But today what's happened is there's this proliferation of gluten-free processed foods, where you're eating the same old flour products but just switching out some of the grains a little bit in there. It reminds me of the craze of fat-free cookies a couple of decades ago. And you may not be getting any real benefit from that and may be even doing worse than you would have otherwise, because you might be substituting for instance more genetically-modified grains than real ancient and whole grains. So I suggest eating as much as you can of healthy, real foods. Eat real fruits and real vegetables. Have grains in your diet, but choose ones that whole grains and whole forms. I love oats, for instance. They're great for kids. Make oatmeal a part of their diet. And unless there's a real medical problem or a Celiac disease or sensitivity, don't fall for gluten-free hype.

Alan Greene, MD & Founder of DrGreene, shares advice for parents on the pros and cons of the gluten-free diet for kids and how to create a healthy diet for your kids

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Alan Greene, MD

Founder, DrGreene.com

Dr. Alan Greene founded his website, DrGreene.com, in 1995, cited by the AMA as "the pioneer physician web site." In 2010 he founded the WhiteOut Now movement to change how babies are fed from their very first bite of solid food, and in 2012 he founded TICC TOCC – Transitioning Immediate Cord Clamping To Optimal Cord Clamping. He is an author of several books including Feeding Baby Green and appears frequently in the media including such venues as the The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, TODAY Show, Good Morning America, the Dr. Oz Show, and is a regular columnist for Parenting magazine. He is a practicing pediatrician and the father of four.

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