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Gluten-free diet = weight-loss diet?

Posted on August 11th, 2010 by Alison Read 11 Comments - Add Your Own »

I’ve already asked the question: Is the gluten-free diet a fad or here to stay? more than once. Now the Today Show weighs in on whether the gluten-free diet is a fad weight-loss diet…


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  1. we went gluten free a year and a half ago because of my sons eczema, as a result my husband lost 20 lbs or so. he also lost heartburn, stomach aches and more. for us it’s a lifestyle change.

  2. It’s ironic that for celiacs, it’s actually a weight GAIN diet (which is a good thing– my son is back on the growth charts again).

    I do not cook with gluten (or dairy), but the rest of the family continues to eat some gluten, mainly cereal and bread. As a result, I think that our entire family eats more healthfully with fewer desserts. My next goal is to switch us over to brown rice, and to cut back on the red meat.

  3. I don’t have Celiac, but my kids do. I gained 10 lbs in the year after we all went gluten free! I suspect this had to do with how much more baking I seemed to do once we couldn’t buy an occasional treat out, though.

  4. For me I couldn’t gain the weight I needed by going gluten-free. Turns out I wasn’t digesting the food I was eating because of a damaged gut lining. I went on a diet called GAPS last fall and have since been able to gain some weight and I feel so much better. For some people, going gluten-free isn’t enough.

    As far as losing weight on a gluten-free diet goes, I think that this can happen for some people if the gluten is a food allergy. But I think a lot of people can actually gain weight on it because it is still high in carbs and sugars.

  5. I actually lost weight going on the GF diet. But I also had to cut out dairy, soy, peanuts, and eggwhites that weren’t baked into food. So I have a very restricted diet. Since I have a tight budget I don’t buy much outside of the staples (rice, bread, and pasta) either so that helps with the whole weight loss bit. However, I have recently gained some weight again (very happy) because we don’t as strict of a budget at the moment so I can splurge on a few foods. I’m also becoming a better cook so I can enjoy allergy free mac and cheese from scratch and other wonderful delights!

    It really depends on what you buy, your budget, and if you have other food allergies/intolerances as well.

  6. It’s not just cutting out gluten, but cutting out flour and sugar that helps weight loss, because both can be addictive. Have you ever tried to just eat a little bit from the bread basket the wait person sets on the table? For weight loss, you have to cut out the gluten free baking because of the sugar, and for dessert, get your sugar naturally from fruit. After a meal of protein, veggies, salad, and rice, potatoes, or quinoa, hopefully you are full and don’t need a baked goody. While losing weight cut out the rice and other starches, then add them when you want to maintain your desired weight. And remember portion control!
    I read that if you eat one oreo cookie a day beyond the calorie intake you need to maintain weight you’ll weigh 5 pounds more at the end of the year. In four years, that’s 20 pounds!
    This info is from my family and friends who use the Food Addicts Anonymous food plan.

  7. I find this sad and funny. Those that go on a gluten-free diet for medical purposes as in Celiac like my daughter has, it is a good thing for her to gain weight since she hasn’t been able to put any on before the diagnosis. They do fail to mention in the piece that is good. I can tell the doctor talking turns her nose up at Celiac as I am learning quite a few doctors still don’t quite believe in all of this. I do find like she had mentioned though that we do become more aware of what we are eating and what goes into our body. Those that try to go gluten-free and try to replace all the items they ate with gluten-free ones that yes they will pack on weight because they are still continuing to buy processed foods. Since my daughter’s diagnosis confirmed by blood and biopsy, we have taken a more ‘container-less’ approach. We buy very few things that come in a box or a can. Having grilled chicken with corn on the cob and green beans, brown rice with stir-fry vegetables, salads, etc are things that are more natural. When you stop trying to eat like you did before going gluten free helps. We have saved money by not always trying to replace bread and other items, we are growing accustomed to eating other things like quinoa, rice and potatoes. Anyone can gain weight on any diet but where people get side tracked is watching portions and calories. Plus she is wrong about it being hard to stick with. Once you find out what you can have the whole world opens up and we don’t feel so confined anymore, we stopped focusing on what we couldn’t have and started focusing on what we could have and there is no need to look back. It is doable, you can lose weight as long as you watch the amount of what you eat and it can be done on a budget (again as long as you aren’t always trying to replace gluten-laden items like breads, crackers).

  8. my love handles would love to differ. before the diet, I was thin like a bean.
    Now I struggle not to gain weight as I need to adjust from a no weight gain 4000 cal a day to a normal 1800 cal a day … I could eat anything. for 20 years solid, I ate 6 oz of chocolate at bed time, and about a double meal at each meal.

    I have to say that in our GF support group, we REGULARLY have some soul searching to find the strength to resist eating a whole loaf of bread, hoping to get that “magical” diarrhea that would make the body perfectly fit into that little black dress.

    as for the rest of the family, banning all junk food from the house made every body healthier, feel better, feel happier, and as a consequence, we are more ACTIVE… and overall, our weight is under control. Not having the option to call for a pizza out of convenience, instead of preparing/cooking fresh veggies = what a health/life saver!

  9. I think it is great that the GF diet is getting more attention, especially from the stars in Hollywood because this means those of us who HAVE to follow the GF diet will have more products and adjustments, like Chelsea Clinton’s wedding cake, available.

    As for anyone who would want to follow this diet for weight loss or as a new fad, I think they would soon discover how hard this is and the fad would wear off quick.

    As for me, I am Celiac and anytime I accidentally eat gluten I am sick (throwing up) within 2 hours, then for about a week my stomach cramps and is so inflamed I cannot eat anything but a soft or liquid diet.

    As for weight loss, I had lost a lot of weight before my diagnosis, now I weigh more than I ever have and I am having a hard time getting it off.

    The doctor is right, GF products have more carbs and sugar in them to compensate for some of the loss of flavor or texture in the food, but if you eat less of the regular and GF processed food, you will eat healthier. Those on a GF diet have to read labels and become more aware of what we are putting in our bodies.

  10. It is interesting what cutting out the gluten does to each person. I have seen people with bellies, love handles and puffiness lose it and look like themselves again. I feel I can spot those puffy people now and I am dying to tell them about being gluten-free — not because I think they need to lose weight, but because I can see that their bodies are out of whack because of what the gluten is doing to them. Of course I can’t say this to everyone because people would think I was annoying/crazy/rude!

    I have also seen people that look gaunt, skinny, pale, frail come back from the dead and put weight back on their bones.

    This gluten does crazy things.

  11. I wish, since going gluten-free and dairy-free three years ago I’ve put on a couple of pounds. Which doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you’re under 5 foot it’s almost a whole pants size.