The “DAISY” (diabetes autoimmunity study in the young) study indicates that the timing of solid-food introduction can influence the likelihood of developing type 1 diabetes (T1DM) (JAMA Pediatr 2013; 167: 808-15).
The participants were 1853 children at increased genetic risk for T1DM who were enrolled in a longitudinal observational cohort study in Denver. Early solid-food exposure was considered <4 months of age and late >6 months of age.
- “Both early and late first exposure to any solid food predicted development of T1DM.” For early exposure, the Hazard Ratio was 1.91 and for late HR was 3.02.
- Breastfeeding at the time of introduction to wheat/barley conferred protection (HR 0.47)
The study has several limitations, particularly the relatively low numbers of children who developed T1DM (n=53).
A second study (Pediatrics 2013 [doi: 10.1542/peds2012-3692]) –thanks to Ben Gold for this reference –showed that “solid foods were introduced significantly earlier among the infants with allergies, with 35% of them receiving their first solids before and including 16 weeks, compared with 14% of control infants (P=.011).” (Solid foods before 17 weeks linked to food allergy)
Bottomline: As with celiac disease (“Gluten–Related Disorders” (Part 1) | gutsandgrowth), current science suggests the introduction of solid foods between 4-6 months of age may diminish the risk of developing T1DM as well as food allergies.