Weaning Babies Early Not Linked to Celiac Disease


Why do some people develop Celiac disease and some don't? Anyone who knows the definitive answer to this question has the potential to win a Nobel Prize for medicine.

Why? Celiac disease impacts the lives of about 1 in every 100 people around the world. And if you or someone you know suffers from this condition, consuming even a small amount of gluten can have devastating effects such as severe abdominal pain, digestive issues, and a higher risk for certain types of cancer.

When you have Celiac disease and consume gluten, it triggers an autoimmune response that wreaks havoc on the small intestine. But what causes it? Researchers don't have all the answers. But for years, people have speculated that weaning an infant off of breastfeeding too early raises the risk for that child to develop Celiac disease. And that assumption has finally been proven false.

In a Swedish study, researchers followed 8,700 children in four countries. They monitored the length of time children were breastfed, and tracked cases of diagnosed Celiac disease. They found that ending breastfeeding early isn't a risk factor for developing the disease. Instead, they found that the more gluten an infant consumed (5 grams or more) between 9 months and 12 months, the more likely they were to develop Celiac disease.

If you have Celiac disease, or someone in your family does, it's imperative to follow a gluten-free diet. And that's not easy to do when you get down to reading the fine print on food labels. Foods made with barley, wheat, and rye contain gluten, and are usually easy to spot in the form of bread, pasta, and cereals. But even foods like chocolate, pickles, sushi, soy sauce, processed meats, ice creams, and even licorice can contain gluten.

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