Maintaining a Healthy Weight While Eating Gluten-Free
People with celiac disease may experience weight gain after starting a gluten-free diet; this initial weight gain indicates that their intestinal health is improving and they are more effectively absorbing nutrients. However, gaining too much weight can lead to multiple health problems. Read our tips and suggestions below to learn about maintaining a healthy weight while on the gluten-free diet.
- Initial weight gain on the gluten-free diet typically indicates improving intestinal health, but too much weight can lead to other health risks. Many processed gluten-free foods are high in sugar, fat and calories. Once your small intestine has healed, you may not need to eat as much food as you once did before.
- Gluten-free does not mean it is healthy. Using the general guidelines for a healthy diet will help promote healthy weight management. Read our Healthy Eating on the Gluten-Free Diet guide for more information.
- Certain medical problems, such as low thyroid hormone levels, can also cause weight gain.1 Be sure to check with your doctor if these simple dietary changes do not resolve the weight gain issue for you.
- If it is difficult to manage your weight on the gluten-free diet, discuss it with your doctor and visit a registered dietitian for advice. There are practitioners available who are experts in intuitive eating and may help with your new diet approach.
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- Kabbani TA, Kelly CP, Betensky RA, et al. Patients with celiac disease have a lower prevalence of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus and metabolic syndrome. Gastroenterology. 2013;144(5):912-917.e1.
- Welstead L. The gluten-free diet in the 3rd millennium: rules, risks and opportunities. Diseases. 2015;3(3):136-149.
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- Valletta E, Fornaro M, Cipolli M, Conte S, Bissolo F, Danchielli C. Celiac disease and obesity: need for nutritional follow-up after diagnosis. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2010;64(11):1371-1372.
- Rinninella, Cintoni, Raoul, et al. Food components and dietary habits: keys for a healthy gut microbiota composition. Nutrients. 2019;11(10):2393.
- Cheng J, Brar PS, Lee AR, Green PHR. Body mass index in celiac disease: beneficial effect of a gluten-free diet. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2010;44(4):267-271.
- Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Artificial trans fats banned in U.S. News. Published June 19, 2018. www.hsph.harvard.edu. Accessed March 3, 2022.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Current Physical Activity Guidelines. Health.gov. Published 2019. Accessed March 3, 2022.
Revision Date: March 3, 2022
Editors: Melinda Dennis, MS, RD, LDN and Amy Keller, MS, RD, LDN