Objective: Eliminating egg and/or cow`s milk during early childhood may affect the growth of food-allergic children. The aim of this study was to determine the effects of elimination diets on anthropometric measurements and diet composition in children allergic to egg and/or cow`s milk.
Materials and Methods: Anthropometric measurements and nutritional data were evaluated in children with cow`s milk and/or egg protein allergy during elimination diets. Their daily calorie, carbohydrate, fat, and protein intakes were analyzed based on a 3-day diet log. Z-scores for weight, height, weight-for-age, and weight-for-height were calculated. The data were compared with pre-elimination values and with those of healthy controls.
Results: The study included 77 food-allergic children and a control group of 50 healthy children. In the patient group, the median age was 14 months and 57.1% (n=44) were male. Age, gender, and z-scores for weight-for-age and height-for-age were similar between the groups. Comparisons with pre-elimination measurements revealed that 18.2% of children with short stature at the time of diagnosis achieved normal height after elimination diets (p=0.001) and 37.4% of the children had increased height z-score. However, weight-forage z-score decreased significantly (p<0.01). Although caloric intake was the same in both groups, the patient group consumed relatively less protein and more fat and carbohydrates.
Conclusion: In elimination diets, even if the calorie intake is adequate, eliminating allergenic food items may cause a decrease in weight without causing malnutrition. The height may improve. Growth should be monitored with age-corrected measurements and on an individual basis.