Has baby had its Weetabix? Study shows breakfast cereals guard against gluten allergy
Posted by Janet Rhodes on
New research has suggested that giving babies wheat-based cereals like Weetabix from a young age could help to prevent them developing wheat allergies later in life.
Researchers at King's College London studied a group of 1,000 infants. Half of the babies were exclusively breastfed until six months while the other half ate allergenic foods including peanut, sesame, wheat, eggs, cod fish and cow’s milk.
The babies in the second group who were given wheat were fed four grams of wheat protein every week from four months old, in the form of two wheat-based cereal biscuits, such as Weetabix.
At age three, seven children in the breastmilk-only group had coeliac disease, a condition that can be triggered by eating wheat-containing bread, cereals and pasta. No children in the wheat-eating group had developed coeliac disease.
The study was published in the journal JAMA Paediatrics and lead researcher Gideon Lack said this was the first study to provide evidence that wheat could prevent coeliac disease.