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Gluten free isn't a weight-loss diet

Does a gluten-free diet help you lose weight? Not so much. Gluten free means eating for health, not weight loss.


If you’re forgoing gluten as a way to lose weight... don’t. “The gluten-free diet is not a weight-loss diet,” says Rachel Begun, RD, dietitian and blogger at “If you follow a gluten-free diet by eating mostly naturally gluten-free foods, then you might experience weight loss—but that’s because you’ve replaced low-nutrient processed foods with fresh, nutrient-dense foods, which is always recommended for weight loss.”

In other words, eliminating gluten means you’ll be cutting out carbs that are often loaded with calories and fat (think cake, pasta, cookies); gluten itself isn’t the culprit. No studies point to losing weight by eating a gluten-free version of a conventional, gluten-containing food that has the same number of calories; in fact, you could gain weight, because some less-healthy gluten-free foods contain more sugar and fat to make up for the lack of gluten.

If you give up eating gluten the right way, by increasing your intake of fruits, vegetables and gluten-free whole grains like quinoa, you may very well feel better and have more energy because you’ll be eating a lot fewer processed, high-calorie foods.

And ironically, people new to a healthy gluten-free diet sometimes may gain weight because the body can better absorb nutrients as it heals, says Alice Bast, president of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. So go gluten free for health, not weight loss.

Discuss this Blog Entry 5

on Sep 3, 2011

Elisa invited me to start a good ol' fashioned debate on this, so here we go.....

I respectfully disagree. There are some very good points made about how the basic math of cutting out any type of food group (carbs, fat, gluten,etc) will result in lower caloric intake and consequently a loss of body weight. No argument there.

However, the real X factor in considering a gluten-free diet as an avenue to weight loss comes in the inexplicable decrease in food cravings (leading to fewer episodes of bingeing and over-eating). As a personal trainer, I have worked with close to 1,000 people over the past 10 years, and I ask all my clients to keep a food journal. The foods that show up time and time again as "binge foods" almost always contain gluten.

About 6 years ago I started having my clients follow a gluten-free protocol to see if it resulted in weight loss, and it worked for everyone across the board. My clients have given me the following feedback about a gluten-free weight loss plan:
1.Reduced abdominal bloating and gasiness
2. Increased energy (so I can work them harder!)
3. Increased ability to control food cravings and make healthy choices.

To me, the real value of trying a gluten-free diet for weight loss comes in #3. I kept track of all these weight loss success stories and wrote a book called "The Gluten Free Fat Loss Plan." It has 6 weeks of meal plans, a detailed exercise section, and over 30 super-yummy gluten free recipes.

You may argue that eating gluten-free is not a path to weight loss, but my clients would certainly disagree! There may not be a longitudinal study directly linking eating gluten-free with loss of body fat, but expect those studies to pop up over the next few years as more and more nutritionists realize that a gluten-free diet doesn't have to be utilized solely for people with gluten intolerance.

Allison Westfahl

on Apr 1, 2013

Gluten free diet help to lose the weight but in my opinion raw veggies diet is more effective for the weight loss purposes.
Add more fruits and vegetables in your daily diet to burn more calories and manage your body weight.

Maitland Fitness

Anonymous (not verified)
on Sep 10, 2013

You are right James that raw vegetable diet is perfect for losing weight. It is good to eat fruits because these food are natural. Drink more water for weight loss.
Libertyville gym

on Sep 10, 2013

You are right James that raw vegetable diet is perfect for losing weight. It is good to eat fruits because these food are natural. Drink more water for weight loss.
Libertyville gym

Anonymous (not verified)
on Sep 10, 2013

Very well written basically its something that we should bother because that is the need.
People who are in problem because of weight problem they should get motivated from this.

physical therapy emr

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