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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

      This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.   Subscribe to FREE Celiac.com email alerts What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease? - list blood tests, endo with biopsy, genetic test and enterolab (not diagnostic) Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful? The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes Where can I buy gluten-free stuff? Support this site by shopping at The Celiac.com Store.

Weight Gain On gluten-free Diet
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31 posts in this topic

Apparently, there's been a study that determined that about 80% of people who go on the gluten free diet gain weight during the first year (they even mentioned this on the popular Dr. Oz show). Some (including Dr. Oz) say it's due to the food.

I really think it's due to revenge-on-the-world eating -- where a Celiac finds a food she/he can eat and just eats "Because I can". I haven't seen any articles on this phenomenon, but so far many people I've spoken to have had similar experiences. I have never been one to really gorge on potato chips or junk food (I was an everything-in-moderation kind of girl) - but now it's suddenly hard to put a bag down. I get some pig-headed sullen feelings that seem to prevent me from putting it down.

This diet really seems to have released the emotional eater inside me.

Has anyone else experienced this? Opinions...? Is weight gain caused by the food or the emotions?

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You certainly hit the nail on the head for me. I was diagnosed very quickly... only several months of symptoms... and spent the next year eating all the stuff I COULD to make up for what I could no longer have. I gained about 40 lbs!!

Dunno about emotional eating. I keep asking... WHY is it emotional and not that I just LIKE macaroni and cheese better than broccoli??

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I have experienced this as well. I think there may be a physiologic explanation for this. I think it is possible that the body is trying to make up for lost nutrients.

I think I was starving myself for so long by not absorbing, that my body is trying to prepare for the next famine, or replete what has been lost. My appetite stays in overdrive.

There is also an emotional component, however, I think it is more a fear of being in a situation of being hungry, and not being able to find something to eat. So I eat before I go somewhere, even if I am not hungry.

I will call it opportunistic eating. I eat when I have the opportunity, because I am afraid I might not find food later.

I also ate a lot of gluten free cakes, brownies, pizza, etc., that I would not normally eat, just in experimenting to find what was available and to make sure I was covered if I ever wanted those things, lol.

I treat myself to junk food more than I should, probably to reward the child inside that is still pouting about feeling deprived.

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I agree there is definitely an emotional aspect to eating after getting diagnosed. I travel some for work and I was always worried about not having something to eat so when I had an opportunity to eat I over ate.

I also think part of the problem is before I was diagnosed I was always hungry and could eat a ton of food without gaining any weight. I think your body gets used to consuming that much food,so when you actually start to absorb the food you are eating and do not change the quantity you'll definitely put on weight.

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I lost weight. I didn't eat any of the gluten-free cookies or cakes or processed foods really (except the pretzels and those rice crackers). I lost about 7 lbs. I started eating more vegetables and chicken and fish. Also, I added a lot of fruit in place of stuff I was eating with gluten for snacks.

I think for me it made me think about more what I was putting in my mouth and I tried eating healthier too. I miss eating cookies and stuff, but the gluten-free ones had way more calories than regular so I just ditched them completely.

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I've actually experienced that exact opposite! I've always struggled with weight, and gained weight very quickly and almost inexplicably. I just weighed in this morning and in the 2 months that I've been gluten etc etc free I've lost 20 pounds.

I have been trying to use this time to really think about what I'm putting in my body and the effects. After reading up some on soy and genetically modified corn I'm so glad I had a reaction because it is so bad for you!

I'm also paranoid that I will get glutened, soyed, corned or dairyed places, so I have really limited eating out at all.....and no fast food place will really see my face again. I just cook all my food, and veggies and fruit make up about half of my diet.

I travel a lot for work and I just finished making a "food bag" for my car. I have Orgram crispibread, peanut butter, raisins, lara bars, fruit leather and nuts in a cute fashionable bag so I can grab and go and that silences my paranoia about going hungry. I live in a tiny town about 50 minutes away from the big city and where I work, so I have gone shopping, or gone to work and ended up going hungry because I didn't plan ahead.

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I've been mulling this very subject over for some time now. Thank you for posting this. I believe it is emotional eating, and we eat more because we feel deprived, so we pig out on the foods we find that we can actually eat. This thinking is not healthy. Think about when we ate wheat. We didn't think that we had to eat an entire package of cookies, just because we could and it was available. We ate 2 or three cookies, noting the calorie content. We still need to be accountable for the foods we eat, regardless of wether they are gluten free on wheat made cookies. I'm really working hard right now on this problem. I'm trying to get my head on straight so I can lose some weight.

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luvs2eat - lol - Mac n' cheese vs broccoli - :)

WW340 - So true about how scary it is to be a hungry Celiac - stuck somewhere without "safe" food. That's a good point.

Gfreeatx - I've wondered about the sudden new ability to absorb, but, honestly, for me I was always able to put on a few pounds - but loosing them used to be easier.

Trish_Trish - You seem to be saying just exactly what I've been thinking lately. Good luck to both of us!

SaraKat and annegirl - thanks to both of you for sharing the other side of the coin.

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Well, so far, I have lost 12 pounds since January. I still have a lot (35 to go), but I think it is because I have thrown out the processed foods. Blueberries are my friend. I think too that now my body is just letting go of the wieght. I hope it continues. After the first week or so of gorging on the gluten-free cookies, because I can, I slowed down. This is all a very emotional adjustment. Hopefully feeling better will inspire us all to eat better. I do love a cookie though, I am still eatng some, but aboe to lose. As I said I have quite a bit to lose. 35 will me to the right BMI, but jsut barely.

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Great topic! I was diagnosed a little over 6 months ago and thought for sure I'd lose weight. After all..no more fast food, bread, pasta, beer and so on...but still, the things I can eat have calories and that was a lesson to be learned. I didn't put on a lot of weight, maybe 5 pounds but I work out regularly so I definitely noticed. I'm no longer eating big suppers of steak & potatoes or whatever else I can make since stopping somewhere on the way home is no longer an option. I've started doing nutritional (protein) shakes for supper and my usual veggie/fruit breakfast and Gluten-Free sandwich for lunch and I'm feeling better than I have in years. Plus, I've already lost a few of those pounds and just in time for short weather. B)

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I know what you are talking about so well. I have eaten a lot more ice cream since going gluten-free. I used to rarely eat it but now I get it in my mind that I "deserve" it because I can't eat this or that. Also I eat way more french fries than before. If I find somewhere with a dedicated fryer I feel I must take advantage of it! lol

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I'm one of those who is very slowly losing weight. I attribute it to the fact that my body is now actually absorbing the nutrients that I'm putting into it, so I no longer have that constant feeling of being hungry, even though I just ate.

I also am finding I have more energy, and enjoy physical activity far more than I did before.

Of course, discovering delights like the Brazilian Cheese bread is slowing that weight loss down considerably.

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After a year gluten free, I find that I'm gaining weight without eating more. I think I got into my 40's not absorbing any food/nutrients. I could eat massive amounts of fattening food and not gain weight. My friends were so irritated. As for myself, I didn't realize that going to the bathroom several several times a day wasn't normal. Then after I went gluten free (and dairy and corn free) I lost more weight because I was trying to figure out what I COULD eat. Now a year later, I think I know how to feed myself enough food, I'm absorbing nutrients and I've just turned 43...this combination is making weight stick for the first time in my life. Now, I have to start being a little careful after years of eating a ton.

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I agree with your idea of opportunistic eating. This starts when you first try to understand what foods you can eat and stock up on snacks just in case. After a year and a half I still have to watch that I don't over eat on snack food just in case I won't be able to find suitable food out.

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I did start to put on weight. When I was diagnosed I started trying all the gluten free snacks. I started baking gluten-free cakes to try. Eating breads. The funny thing is I wasn't eating food like this before the diagnoses but felt I needed to try foods that were out there to see what my options were. I have gotten away for gluten-free "Junk foods/snacks" and I have started loosing again, which as a over weight Celiac , it is a good thing :)

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I think that it makes a huge difference when you choose to go on a certain diet because you want to be healthier, have moral reasons, etc... than when you have to go on a diet. One makes you feel empowered, the other can make you feel pretty resentful. I felt this way when I was diagnosed with diabetes and I tended to overeat rationalizing that it was sugar free...3 years later I had gone from a size 7 to a size 20. I eventually lost 90 pounds and when reading that weight gain was common on the gluten-free diet I started freaking out because there is no way I want to go back to where I was. Right now I am trying to look at this lifetsyle modification in a positive manner. I think that the astronomical cost of processed gluten-free foods will help as well in making me stick with mainly fruits, veggies, and plain meat...it also helps that the gluten-free deserts are way too sweet and have a cream of mushroom aftertaste.

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Wow, 80%! That's high! I lost 5 pounds immediately because I was afraid to eat! I do know some chubby celiacs though! It takes a lot of work, especially at first, to prepare things from scratch and a whole new way of life, so I can see how it could be easier for someone to eat a whole bag of chips instead of taking a ton of time to think "what's for supper that I can have to cook from scratch and maybe even have to go to the store.....etc." It's tough!

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Apparently, there's been a study that determined that about 80% of people who go on the gluten free diet gain weight during the first year (they even mentioned this on the popular Dr. Oz show). Some (including Dr. Oz) say it's due to the food.

I really think it's due to revenge-on-the-world eating -- where a Celiac finds a food she/he can eat and just eats "Because I can". I haven't seen any articles on this phenomenon, but so far many people I've spoken to have had similar experiences. I have never been one to really gorge on potato chips or junk food (I was an everything-in-moderation kind of girl) - but now it's suddenly hard to put a bag down. I get some pig-headed sullen feelings that seem to prevent me from putting it down.

This diet really seems to have released the emotional eater inside me.

Has anyone else experienced this? Opinions...? Is weight gain caused by the food or the emotions?

This is pretty much a useless study and a waste of money. The reason many do gain weight is because they are absorbing food for the first time in a long time (duh!)and they are so used to being able to eat like a horse and not gain weight that it's hard to re-adjust their food intake and exercise levels to compensate. It's all a balancing act and hard to figure until you stabilize on the diet.

I had to gain weight as I was about 20 pounds underweight. It still took me about a year and half to get back to a normal weight but I have been able to

maintain my weight at a healthy level for 6 years now. It's all about calories in, calories expended. No different than the rest of the general population. If you eat a healthy diet based on lean protein, fruits and veggies, you'll have no problem maintaining a healthy weight. You also have to take into account muscle mass...it's not all about that stupid weight chart, either.

Dr.Oz does not have Celiac and does not know what he is talking about....like most TV doctors. Yes, the food is higher in fat and calories but certainly not higher than what I see people eat on a regular basis in restaurants. At least we have an excuse....we are now absorbing our food!

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I'm trying to stay away from the gluten free bread, snacks, etc. The breads have little or no fiber and are so caloric! The gluten free cookies, pretzels, etc. are high in calories and again, hardly any fiber.

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Great topic!

I have found that I am not losing weight because of all the things already mentioned by you all. I eat because "I can"...or "its gluten-free". I was NEVER a snacker before going gluten-free...but I got so excited when I went to the store and saw my options that I bought cookies, chip and ice-cream. BAD MOVE. I am going to re-asses my approach and stop buying the snack foods, focus on whole, natural foods.

Has anyone tried doing a cleanse to start things off right? I was thinking about starting one for the phusical and mental benefits of it being a new beginning. Suggestions???

Thanks everyone! :D

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For me weight gain stems from a few things. When I had my bloodwork done initially and was told that it strongly suggested Celiac Disease I went off gluten that very day. I was in shock so went on many binges because I felt I somehow deserved it. So, I gained weight because I was stuffing my face at every turn because I could. I even bought cookies for the first time in my life rather than making them. That was a shocker to me. Buying cookies? What the heck? Then I had my biopsies and was told I had celiac disease and must be strictly gluten-free for the rest of my days. So, I did not choose to go gluten-free because I was not feeling sick. I felt forced to go gluten-free. I still feel forced because I felt just fine on gluten. I've felt robbed. Gipped.

Then I had three entire months of eating fabulous gluten. All I wanted. I gained about 15 lb in 3 months but enjoyed it ever so much.

However, the second time around has been much better. Not as much panic (after the first few icky weeks). No more bought cookies or much processed stuff at all. Not that I ever bought much processed food but I did some. However, I do bake more now than I did before because I want to perfect many things I feel I am missing out on.

I have asked my dietitian to counsel me on weight loss, healthy choices, balanced diet, etc. Excluding our recent trip to Europe with a lot of hard work I have lost about 8 lb in two months. Not much but I would like to lose weight slowly and keep it off. I still cook wonderfully but really am restricting my portion sizes. So, on the thread about Dinner you'll see coconut layer cake with buttercream. True, but I have teeny slices. It is true that most gluten-free flours have more calories than non gluten-free flours so I always add flax and other grains to try to add fibre to my diet.

When I see something yummy I say to myself, "I CHOOSE not to have you. See you later, sucker!" Then I walk away.

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I've gained about five pounds since going gluten-free two months ago. I've always been really skinny, so I think it's a result of several things:

1. My body is finally accepting nutrients and calories.

2. I'm still getting stomach aches, so I haven't been able to be on my normal eating schedule.

3. When I'm sick it's really hard to work out. :(

I'm not eating any processed foods and am having less desserts than pre-gluten-free. I eat very small meals throughout the course of the day, and am eating about the same amount of food as before. Five pounds on my frame feels a little uncomfortable (especially when I'm bloated - I can't get my jeans on!), so hopefully I'll be able to get back on track soon.

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I'm a new member (today) who just started gluten free yesterday. I'm glad I found this thread. I used to pig out on cookies before I got sick. I will avoid buying any gluten free snacks so I don't gain any weight. The bread I bought at the healthfood store is 7 grain and so tasty I could use it as a snack. (Pretty darned expensive though, so I won't be snacking on it very often!) I will also stay out of the ice cream aisle and eat yogurt instead. Glad I saw this info, because I need to LOSE weight, not gain. Thanks!

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I think it's a combination of things others have suggested. Emotional eating could be part of it, but aren't a lot of the people who go gluten-free celiacs who had malabsorption problems and may have been underweight to start with?

So I think some people are gaining weight they need.

Some people are eating the same amount out of habit and gaining weight because of that. (I totally did this after pregnancy and breastfeeding! My feeling of the right amount to eat was so skewed!)

Others are emotional eating. (You might be interested in this woman's approach - I haven't met her but I saw her sign out on the street last week and looked up her website: http://emotionaleatingpdx.com/)

Some have turned to "gluten-free" junk food.

Personally, I dropped 20 lbs right off the bat and then stabilized. I'm now at my pre-baby weight (kids are 10 and 12 now) and definitely shouldn't get any skinnier.

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I learned from my doctor and from reading some books that slight weight gain is common for Celiac's after going gluten-free. I've found that it's much harder for me to lose weight now, and I usually stay about 3 to 4 pounds heavier than when I was having gluten. For me, it hasn't been about more opportunistic eating or pigging out on foods I can eat because of all the restrictions. As I mentioned, my doctor explained that a little weight gain is to be expected as your body is newly able to absorb nutrients, etc.

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