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Gluten-free diet in children: a fad or necessity?
  1. Chandra Sekhar Devulapalli
  1. Medical Advisor Service, Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV), Work and Benefits Kristiania, Oslo, Norway
  1. Correspondence to Dr Chandra Sekhar Devulapalli, Medical Advisor Service, Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV), Work and Benefits Kristiania, Oslo NO-0653, Norway; chandev{at}

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An increasing percentage of the population avoids eating gluten. But there is considerable discussion about whether a condition exists where you do not have coeliac disease but nevertheless suffer from gluten sensitivity. It is likely that gluten intolerance in children is misdiagnosed and probably overdiagnosed.

Gluten-free diet (GFD) has become popular among the general population for its supposed beneficial effects on human health.1 In Norway, patients with coeliac disease (CD), wheat allergy (WA) and non-coeliac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) can apply to the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration for a basic benefit. Despite its efficacy in alleviating the symptoms due to NCGS, GFD comes with both a social and financial burden. Gluten-free foods are still less available and more expensive than their gluten-containing versions, thus causing patient’s social and psychological consequences in securing good quality of life and compliance with the advised dietary regimen. The diagnostic benchmark for getting basic benefit seems to be solid for patients with CD and WA; however, it is not the same for patients with NCGS especially in children. These patients, however, are advised to follow a GFD. At present, it is not clear whether a stringent GFD is necessary for patients with NCGS, and whether other substances in addition to gluten should be avoided.2

Up to 25%–40% of a population self-report that they have experienced symptoms triggered by food and that they consider themselves to have a food …

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  • Funding The author has not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.