Eating bread and pasta in early childhood can be bad for the health. A new study found that high consumption of gluten foods at age 5 and younger could increase the risk of having celiac disease later in life. 

Celiac disease is a digestive disorder that affects the small intestine. The study, published in , shows that high gluten intake could make children 7.2 percent more likely to have the disorder. 

The risk of developing celiac disease also increases per each additional gram or gluten per day, the researchers noted. The team analyzed data on more than 6,600 children in Finland, Germany, Sweden and the U.S. between 2004 and 2010. 

During the study, 7 percent or 450 children developed celiac disease while another 1,216 participants had a celiac disease autoimmunity. Majority of the children who developed the conditions were diagnosed at ages 2 and 3, CNN .

The Celiac Disease Foundation estimates that one in every 100 people around the world develop celiac disease. However, more than two million of the affected people may not know they have the condition. 

Celiac disease prevents nutrient absorption and damages the lining of the small intestine when a person eats gluten. Eliminating gluten from any diet is the only way to manage the disorder, according to the University of Chicago’s Celiac Disease Center. 

Parents should reduce children’s consumption of gluten to prevent celiac disease, according to Carin Andrén Aronsson, study author from the Unit for Diabetes & Celiac Disease at Lund University in Sweden. However, she noted the medical community has yet to determine the “safe limit” of gluten for at-risk children.

Gluten-Free Diet

Many people have been promoting food with little to no gluten. Some are following a gluten-free diet to support weight loss and reduce bloating. 

However, health experts have been warning people about the potential side effects of the approach. Gluten-free products can contain high amounts of calories, sugar and fat.

Foods with gluten also provide good amounts of fiber, vitamins and iron. Removing such products from your diet may cause digestive problems.

Eating pasta before the age 5 has been linked to increased risk of having celiac disease. Pixabay