Celiac.com 03/08/2010 - Celiac, a genetic autoimmune disease, has long been associated with a medical picture of patients that lookunderweight, and malnourished. However, recent studies are findingthat obesity and a high BMI (Body Mass Index) may also be prominentin celiac patients. New studies were conducted to determine BMIchanges after initiation of a gluten-free diet, and they offer cluesto the importance of eating gluten free after being diagnosed withceliac disease.
The BMI of all test celiac patientswere compared to the general United States population. Using theregression model, the study found that there are obvious predictorsfor low BMI; patients classified as “classical” celiac,female, and with severe villous atrophy, were all revealed aspredictors for low BMI. These findings further exemplify that themost dramatic changes in BMI rates were in underweight females withceliac disease. Celiac females had a considerably lower mean BMIthan the general population, thereby indicating an importantassociation between females with celiac disease and low BMI. In fact,celiac females that tested with a normal or low BMI were also foundto have higher rates of critical villous atrophy than those with ahigher BMI. However, more males with celiac were found to beoverweight compared to the general population.
After initiating a gluten free diet,most BMI changes were shown to be directly associated with an initialbaseline appearance of “classical” symptoms. While on a glutenfree diet, over 50% of the overweight and obese patients lostweight, and of the group who initially had a low BMI, 42.4% attaineda normal weight. Thereby concluding that treatment of a gluten freediet after celiac diagnosis provides advantageouschanges in BMI results. Further evidence of the importance in earlydiagnosis and prompt treatment of celiac disease.
Of course it is critical to note that,all the patients utilized for this study were monitored closely by a care center dedicated to celiac disease, and continually followed byan experienced dietician with expert knowledge of celiac disease. And, while you may not be able to afford the kind of dietician thesepatients were provided with, it is always very important to be underthe care of a doctor or clinic dedicated to treating celiac disease,as well as to be receiving experienced dietary counseling whentransitioning to a gluten free diet.