Timing That First Spoonful: Diabetes risk reflects when cereals enter infant diet | Science News

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Timing That First Spoonful: Diabetes risk reflects when cereals enter infant diet

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10:48am, October 1, 2003

Precisely when babies first eat cereals may affect their odds of subsequently developing diabetes. Two studies suggest that giving cereals to diabetes-susceptible infants within 3 months of birth greatly enhances their risk for type 1 diabetes. One of these studies also concludes that waiting 7 months or more before introducing cereal carries similar risk. Other researchers say the intriguing new leads don't yet warrant changes in baby-care guidelines.

For years, scientists have been investigating environmental factors that might contribute to autoimmune disorders having known genetic components. These include type 1 diabetes and celiac disease, an autoimmune response to the cereal protein gluten. Some research has linked diabetes risk to young infants' consuming foods or formulas that contain proteins from cow's milk (SN: 6/26/99, p. 404: http://www.sciencenews.org/sn_arc99/6_26_99/fob2.htm). Other studies have found no such association.

To explore whether the timing o

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