I've been reading a lot of articles lately that seem to be leaning more towards letting children try things like dairy, peanuts, and other allergenic foods earlier instead of the previously held opinion that they should be held off until after one years old or later.
In the framework of a paleo diet, am I putting my son at risk for allergies when he eventually goes to school and is exposed to these things by never having peanuts in the house, wheat, etc or is the paleo diet theoretically going to prevent the leaky gut that would cause allergies in the first place? I'm just suddenly having scary imaginings of him going to friend's houses and being given a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on white bread and him blowing up like Violet in Wonka's factory because he was never given enough exposure like those kids from crazy Lysol houses who get colds every time they go to the mall play ground. What do you paleo parents do? Have you let your children be exposed to non-paleo foods? What was their reaction if any? Do you believe the paleo diet has prevented leaky gut-induced in-tolerances or has it made them MORE intolerant?
I don't know the science behind allergies so any information would be very much appreciated.
this review paper suggests small gluten exposures between 4-6 months, while continuing to breastfeed may actually the best bet.
a few excerpts:
"This specific study examined the association between cereal-grain exposure (wheat, barley, rye, oats) in the infant diet and development of wheat allergy in 1,612 children from birth until the mean age of 4.7 years. One percent of these children developed wheat allergy. Surprisingly, those who were first exposed to cereals after 6 months of age had an increased risk of wheat allergy compared with children first exposed to cereals before 6 months of age." .......
"the DAISY study, conducted in a cohort of children at risk for IDDM followed prospectively from birth for a mean of 4.7 years. This study documented that exposure to cereals (rice, wheat, oats, barley, rye) that occurred early (<3 months) as well as late (>7 months) resulted in a significantly higher risk of appearance of islet cell autoimmunity compared to introduction between 4 and 6 months." .........
Interestingly, this study also showed that if cereals were introduced while the child was still breastfed, the risk of islet cell autoimmunity was reduced, independently of the age at introduction of cereals. .........
To test this hypothesis, several observational epidemiological studies have been conducted and reviewed in a recent meta-analysis. All of them, with only one exception found in a small study, showed that introducing gluten during breastfeeding reduces the risk of development of celiac disease.
Its similar to hygiene theory - when you keep your kids too clean they will have bigger probabilities for allergies and asthma. If you get them pet and let them eat dirt, they will lower probability for such outcomes.
Its similar with food. Humans body main system is adaptation. If you don't let your kid be exposed it will not have defenses ready as they were never needed, and body ditches stuff it doesn't need to provide more resources for those that it needs.
Take alcohol for example. If you regularly drink 1 glass per day, you will get liver enzymes for detox up-regulated. Contrary, if you don't each time you drink a glass you will feel its intoxication effects.
Probably the best thing to do for your kids health is to have a pet (cat is really great) put it in kindergarden so that it gets exposure to all kinds of pathogens and diseases and expose it to small/moderate amounts of common alergens like wheat. I do all that. Optimal nutrition and supplementation is essential if you want this system to produce best outcome.
Yeah I read this article in the New Yorker that talked about how Israel has almost no peanut allergies and some think it's because they let children eat a lot of peanuts. But then in Sweden you have decreasing gluten allergies after gluten was removed from infant food but there was the confounding factor that breastfeeding increased at the same time, so I think it's more complex than that.
So I'm definitely going to do my best to breastfeed (or use donor milk for as long as I can if I couldn't for some reason and then use formula because donor milk can be hard to secure), but beyond that I'm not sure. I guess I might just not care about what a baby eats while we are at friends/relatives house so there might be some exposure there. I also would make sure that the baby has exposure to the outdoors and to dirty animals to strengthen immunity.
well be very careful, until your child can tell you they feel odd your are putting a big risk on your family and your child. I am more speaking it terms of food that can cause aphaphylatic shock. Be very careful, ask me how I know.
Hi! Its ironic you mention this! I went to the doc's office yesterday for my child's 6 month well baby and was told some surprising news. That these days that old school logic of holding off until baby is older to try peanuts and shellfish has been off as more childrrn were developing allergies solely from not being introduced to particularly "allergenic" foods at younger ages... which actually makes perfect sense when I thought about it. My 2 cents? Try out 1 quasi-allergenic food at a time- introduce it over a week (a little everyday) and monitor your child's reaction as a gauge. Even while doing paleo I think its more than acceptable to give your child cereal just so theyve been exposed to it, so to speak. Also its a good point that you probably cant control much of babys diet when baby is with family (ugh my parents would give sweets after I begged them not to)- it shouldnt be a problem as long as when baby is home food habits return to normal.
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