More and more we hear of famous people who are going gluten free. Often times weight loss is the reason they give for their dietary change. Is the gluten-free diet a weight loss diet?
Basically, no. But depending on circumstances, people can lose weight when they go gluten free. However, many people gain weight on a gluten-free diet. I’ll share a few reasons why weight loss or gain can happen, but first I want to be clear about the purpose of the gluten-free diet.
People with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity require a gluten-free diet for medical reasons that have nothing to do with weight. You can learn more about what is celiac disease and what is gluten free by clicking the links.
Gluten-Free and Weight Loss
Doctors used to believe that people with celiac disease were always under weight. That can certainly be true, but we now know that overweight people also develop celiac disease.
For someone with celiac disease, eating gluten causes damage to the lining of the small intestine. The damage can result in weight loss because nutrients are not being absorbed by the body. When such a person goes gluten free, they often gain weight. The body wants to catch up.
For people who are overweight when they develop celiac disease, going gluten free sometimes helps them lose weight. Not always by any means, but it can happen because the body is now getting what it needs and no longer needs to hold onto or store up for itself.
Cutting carbohydrates helps many people lose weight. If the gluten-free diet is approached in a way that results in less carbs, then weight loss might naturally occur. For example, if you cut out breads, pastas, and baked goods, you may indeed be gluten free, but you are also likely eating a lot less calories.
However, if you go gluten-free and replace breads, pasta, and baked goods with gluten-free versions, you will likely consume more calories than you did previously. Gluten-free baking often requires added starch, oil, and sugar, which can result in weight gain for people who eat a lot of those foods.
Food cravings are quite common, and you have probably experienced them yourself. We often think of foods like chocolate and sugar when we think of cravings, but people also crave bread and similar foods. This may actually be a craving for gluten.
Cutting out gluten breaks the craving cycle which can lead to weight loss and healthier eating patterns.
Amy’s weight loss story is inspiring and gives hope to anyone who has struggled with being overweight.
The gluten-free diet is not a weight loss diet. It is a diet that is medically necessary for thousands of people. It is a lifestyle change that is not easy, but people do it because the benefits to their health are more than worth the sacrifice.
Going gluten free can cause weight loss for some, weight gain for others, or have no impact on weight at all. The important thing is whether you feel better. It should be a diet that is embraced, not as a fad, but as a means to a healthier you.
I’m not an expert in this area, and I’m sure there are points I have left out. I’d love to hear from you about your experience with losing or gaining weight directly related to going gluten free.
Be sure to get your free September gluten-free menu plan.