Introduction: Eating habits change dramatically after diagnosing coeliac disease (CD), which can cause dietary imbalances.
Aims: To assess the dietary intake in children with CD and to compare it with the Health Council Belgium norms (N) and the recommendations of the Flemish Institute for Health Promotion (VIG).
Methodology: The dietary intake of 20 children (12 girls) (mean age 11.5 ± 3.1 years) was studied by a two-dimensional record method, completed by a short interview. Data were analysed with the Becel Institute Nutrition Software. Dietary compliance was assessed by IgA endomysium antibodies.
Results: Serology was negative in 95% of patients. The analysis of the diary, however, revealed potential gluten contamination in 31%. 75% were found to have a lower daily caloric intake than recommended, mainly due to a low intake of carbohydrates. Carbohydrate, fibre, iron and calcium intake (in percentage recommendation) were 82.8 ± 16.5% (p<0.001), 85.5 ± 20.9% (p<0.01), 78.9 ± 23.3% (p<0.001) and 87.3 ± 28.4%, respectively. Recommended amounts of carbohydrates, fibre, iron and calcium were consumed by only 15%, 25%, 20% and 35% of coeliac patients, respectively. The amount of food servings (in percentage VIG recommendations): bread, grains and other starches: 73.1 ± 24.7% (p<0.001); dairy products: 61.9 ± 31.1% (p<0.001); fruit 75.1 ± 48.1% (p<0.05); vegetables 57.0 ± 31.4% (p<0.001); meat, substitutes, other proteins 145.7 ± 61.0% (p<0.005).
Conclusions: Nutritional intervention in CD should not only be focused on which food is forbidden or allowed, but also on how to guarantee a balanced diet. Although one third of the patients could have potential gluten contamination of their diet, 95% had negative endomysium antibodies.