The danger of eliminating lactose from the diet of children without medical advice

The danger of eliminating lactose from the diet of children without medical advice

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Years ago, the egg, a staple in the Mediterranean diet, was in the limelight for its alleged relationship with the increase in blood cholesterol. Subsequently, and after a drastic decrease in its consumption for years, it has been shown that its consumption does not pose any risk, and does, however, provide numerous nutrients that are difficult to find in other foods.

In the same way that this negative health effect was attributed to the egg, today negative or positive effects are attributed to certain foods or nutrients that make the consumer lean towards their consumption or radically stop consuming them. Nevertheless, It is dangerous to eliminate lactose and gluten from the diet of children at our own risk, without counting on the opinion of the pediatrician.

For example, lactose in milk and gluten in foods such as wheat, are on everyone's lips as problematic for health, so many parents, even without a pediatrician's recommendation or without a supportive diagnosis, are withdrawing them from their children's diet with the intention of avoiding the alleged disorders. The result of this elimination can be precisely the opposite of the desired one, creating problems where there were none.

The elimination of lactose from the diet of children, either through the total elimination of milk from the diet or through the use of lactose-free alternative products, often addresses a false belief: its relationship with the appearance of asthma symptoms or with an increase in mucus and phlegm in colds or their viscosity.

Lactose is milk sugar, a disaccharide made up of a glucose unit and a galactose unit. Breast milk also contains lactose, so the baby is ready to digest this sugar from birth. For the digestion of lactose, that is, for its breakdown or decomposition into simple sugar units that cells can use, it is necessary for the body to produce lactase, an enzyme that, in principle, the human body would stop producing after weaning . However, while in prehistoric times hominids were unable to consume milk after weaning, today most of us produce enough lactase to tolerate its consumption for life.

Some children stop producing lactase over the years and begin to show symptoms of intolerance. In these cases, after diagnosis, the pediatrician will recommend the elimination of the milk (Yogurts and cheese are generally lactose-free or have negligible amounts) to avoid unpleasant symptoms.

Doing it unnecessarily means that the child begins to produce less and less lactase, becoming intolerant when before it was not. This intolerance is usually reversible, being able to tolerate lactose again if it is reintroduced little by little, but, inevitably, the child is made to go through a period of uncomfortable symptoms without need. In addition, limiting the consumption of dairy in childhood can cause problems in the absorption of calcium and its binding to the bones, and therefore affect growth.

You can read more articles similar to The danger of eliminating lactose from the diet of children without medical advice, in the Infant Nutrition On-Site category.

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