A seven-month-old Belgian baby died weighing only 9 pounds, after his hipster parents fed him a gluten and lactose-free diet.
Baby Lucas’s parents, identified only as Sandrina V. and Peter S., are on trial for the death of their child, local media reported.
The parents, both in their 30s, own a health food store in Beveren, Belgium. They fed their son oat milk, rice milk, buckwheat milk, semolina milk, and quinoa milk because they thought he had an eating disorder, the couple’s lawyer said in court, The Independent reported.
“Lucas had an eating disorder. He got cramps when he was fed with a bottle and his parents tried out alternatives,” their lawyer, Karine Van Meirvenne said.
The alternative diet led to Lucas weighing only 9 pounds, closer to the average weight of a newborn baby than a seven-month-old, before he died on June 6, 2014.
The store’s customers reported that the child appeared “emaciated” and “gray,” local media reported.
The baby was reportedly gasping for air in the days leading up to his death, and prosecutors said his parents never sought proper medical care for their child.
“We never went with Lucas to a doctor because we never noticed anything unusual,” the boy’s father said.
An autopsy revealed he was dehydrated, and his stomach completely empty when he died.
Belgian prosectors blamed the boy’s parents for diagnosing the boy on their own without seeking professional medical advice. “Not a single doctor had a dossier about Lucas and child protection services did not know about them,” Pascal Person said.
Prosecutors also ripped the irresponsible parents for driving across Belgium to take Lucas to a homeopathic doctor when he was starving, instead of going to a nearby hospital.
The boy’s mother defended herself, saying, “Sometimes he gained a little weight, sometimes he lost a little. We never wished for the death of our son.”
Doctors said the baby wore a rosary around his neck and had a prayer card in his diaper when he died, according to local media outlets.
Doctors have recently warned that gluten-free diets can do more harm than good, despite their rise in popularity.
“Concern has arisen in the medical community and lay public that gluten may increase the risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome, neuropsychiatric symptoms, and cardiovascular risk among healthy people,”a team of scientists wrote in the British Medical Journal.