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  • Dr. Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

    Is a Gluten-free Diet an Effective Weight Loss Strategy?

    Dr. Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.
    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      Journal of Gluten Sensitivity Summer 2011 Issue. NOTE: This article is from a back issue of our popular subscription-only paper newsletter. Some content may be outdated.

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    Celiac.com 08/25/2011 - This is a controversial topic. Elizabeth Hasselbeck’s book, The gluten-free Diet (1), has been attacked because it suggests that a gluten free diet can help some people lose weight. One celiac support group has condemned this book as misleading (2).  However, I thought it was a pretty good book, and I’m grateful for the public attention that Hasselbeck has drawn to celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity. There are at least two sides to the question of whether a gluten free diet is useful for weight loss. As with much other dietary advice, each of these conflicting views is sometimes presented in very strident voices. On one side there are numerous websites and newspaper articles, with an array of “experts” weighing in on this issue, decrying the use of a gluten free diet for weight loss. I even saw a segment of a television show called “Dr. Oz” where the gluten free diet was asserted to cause only weight gain. On the same show the diet was referred to as a “fraud” with respect to weight loss. Similarly, one group of researchers claim that an important side effect of the gluten free diet is weight gain. Even some very popular advocates of the gluten free diet insist that it is inappropriate for weight loss. Yet there are some individuals who advocate this diet as an effective weight loss tool and there is some evidence to back them up. There are even a couple of research reports of weight loss on a gluten free diet. In fact there is at least one study that provides some support for each paradigm. So who are we to believe? What information supports each side of the argument? And how can we evaluate that information?

    Before we get to the evidence, however, I’d like to say that I have listened to Ms. Hasselbeck express some of her political and economic opinions. I am now of the firm belief that she is one of the five people on this continent who may know even less about these issues than I do. So let’s leave out the politics and confine our discussion to the issue of the gluten free diet and whether it is suitable for weight loss.

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    The first and most compelling piece of evidence (for me) is a personal observation. I watched my mom try to lose weight, starting when I was in elementary school. She tried just about every diet out there, from radical fringe to mainstream. She drank protein powders mixed with water instead of eating meals. She tried eating these “rye” crackers that I thought tasted like cardboard.... very crunchy cardboard. She tried a low sodium diet, then a low fat diet, then a sugar free diet, an all fruit diet, a raw food diet, or maybe that was just a single diet of raw fruit. I’m not sure. She probably tried a host of other diets that I don’t remember, but I think you get the idea.  She sometimes lost weight only to gain it back as soon as she stopped the diet.  More often, she gave up because she got tired of being hungry all the time. She eventually gave up on dieting altogether and accepted being overweight. 

    Then, about fifteen years ago, in her early-mid 70s, she started a gluten free diet. It wasn’t aimed at weight loss. She was trying to reduce the pain caused by her arthritis. In the first year and a half or two years, she lost 66 pounds. From that time onward, her weight continued to gradually diminish to the point where she had lost about 100 pounds over about ten years of eating gluten free. She was not trying to lose weight. She had long since given up on that objective. Yet the excess pounds just melted away. If only because of its weight loss benefits, I suspect that the gluten free diet has extended her life substantially.

    At about 85 years of age, she started eating gluten occasionally. Part of her gluten consumption is wilful. She sees something that she thinks she might enjoy eating, and she requests a serving. Perhaps because of mom’s lapses into gluten, the staff at the home where she now lives have also become quite cavalier about her gluten free diet. They frequently serve her dishes that contain gluten. Still, her weight has remained fairly stable. My mom is not the only example of weight loss on a gluten free diet. There are other stories on the Internet. Just Google “gluten free weight loss diet” and you will see what I mean. But I can’t vouch for those stories. I didn’t observe their weight loss. All I saw was my mom’s.

    Currently, there are only a few formal studies that have explored body mass changes on a gluten free diet. One conducted in Ireland reveals that there are eight times as many overweight celiacs as underweight celiacs (Dickey & Kearney). That is quite surprising in light of the common perspective that celiac disease is one of under-nutrition, suggesting that underweight should be a more likely sign of celiac disease. For a long time, that was the dominant belief, but there is clearly a flaw in this paradigm. 

    Suspecting celiac disease only in underweight patients is not the only complication of this issue. Dickey and Kearney also report that after two years of dietary compliance, eighty two percent of their 143 overweight and obese patients with celiac disease had gained yet more weight on a gluten free diet. This would seem to suggest that the gluten free diet is not a good bet as a weight loss tool. However, these results do not seem to have been replicated by other investigators.

    Another follow-up study, conducted in New Rochelle, NY, reports that ’’ 66% of those who were underweight gained weight, whereas 54% of overweight and 47% of obese patients lost weight’’ on a gluten free diet (Cheng et al ). Thus, on this side of the Atlantic, of the eighty one overweight and obese celiac subjects, about half lost weight following a gluten free diet. That is quite different from the findings in Ireland.

    Another, much smaller study of childhood celiac disease revealed that about half of the eight overweight children they studied also experienced weight loss (Venkatasubramani et al ). This research was conducted in Milwaukee and is congruent with the findings from New Rochelle. So, on this side of the Atlantic, about half of the overweight celiac patients studied experienced weight loss on a gluten free diet.   

    Perhaps these differences are the result of variations between the versions of the gluten free diet in North America, as compared with the diet in the United Kingdom.  The primary difference I am aware of is that gluten free in the UK includes wheat starch whereas most American organizations do not accept wheat starch as gluten free. However, the gluten free diet that includes wheat starch has been shown to reduce cancer risk and many other celiac-associated risk factors, and has therefore been deemed safe. Nonetheless, that same wheat starch may be a factor in the different body mass findings between Ireland and the USA. Or maybe the difference lies in variations in research methods. Without further research, it is difficult to guess.... and that is exactly what we would be doing.

    Without solid evidence, our beliefs are no more than just guesses. For instance, my mom’s weight loss could have been the result of some factor other than her gluten free diet. Perhaps the beginning of her weight loss just happened to coincide with when she started the gluten-free diet. I’m convinced by my observations of her experience, but that doesn’t mean that you should be. After all, I could be kidding myself. Or her weight loss could have been caused by some other factor that I’m not even aware of or recognizing. That is why many of us contribute our hard-earned dollars to research. We need something more than stories about my mom’s experiences. We need solid, peer reviewed research such as what is found in medical journals.  However, even there we need to be cautious about reported findings.

    One good indicator that researchers are on the right track is when we see a convergence of results from very different studies. When one study produces a given result, and another study produces a similar result despite very different study designs and objectives, the results of the first study are said to have been replicated by the second study. The advantage, in the case of celiac patients experiencing weight loss following institution of a gluten free diet clearly goes to the two studies conducted in the USA. The studies looked at two different sub-populations of celiac patients yet produced approximately the same results. But both studies still have a problem with selection bias.   

    One of the greatest difficulties in assessing research findings is that we are really just assuming that what we see in one or two small groups will be reflected in the general population.  This is why, where possible, study subjects are picked randomly from the general population. However, this cannot happen in studies of celiac patients. They are a select group. This is partly because these subjects have celiac disease and partly because they have a diagnosis of celiac disease. I’m really not splitting hairs here. Please bear with me for a moment as I try to explain this important distinction.

    Unlike more than 95% of Americans with celiac disease, these study subjects have a diagnosis. And don’t be fooled. Clinicians are missing almost as many cases of celiac disease in Europe as they are in the USA. Thus, all three of these studies are looking at a sub-group (diagnosed with celiac disease) of a select group (celiac disease). And the lengthy delays to diagnosis, somewhere between five and eleven years, also occur in Europe and Canada, so the difference is probably not dependent on whether there is a socialist medical system in place, as some have suggested. The select group is formed by people with celiac disease. The sub-group is people drawn from the three to five percent of those who have been diagnosed with celiac disease. We know some of the ways that those with celiac disease differ from the general population. But we don’t know any of the ways, beyond the diagnostic criteria, that people with undiagnosed celiac disease differ from the general population or from the population of people whose celiac disease has been diagnosed.  

    Studying a small sub-group of celiac patients who have a diagnosis, then assuming that the features observed will be present in all those with celiac disease, whether they have a diagnosis or not, is a flawed approach. Statisticians call this mistake ‘selection bias’. It is a well recognized type of statistical error. For instance, if you wanted to predict the buying habits of people living in Pennsylvania, you would not just observe members of the Amish community. Doing so would not only induce a selection bias, it would lead to very misleading information about the general population of Pennsylvania. While many Amish live in Pennsylvania, their buying habits probably do not reflect the buying habits of most people in Pennsylvania. Similarly, the selection bias driven by extrapolating from observations of sub-groups of people with diagnosed celiac disease and applying those principles to undiagnosed celiacs, leading us to either assume that weight loss will or will not occur on a gluten free diet is mistaken and likely to produce misleading information.

    In addition to selection bias, sample size is another important factor in predicting features of a larger population based on observations of a sub-population. The smaller the group, the less likely it is to reflect the variations present in the larger population of those with celiac disease. For instance, if the US population is currently about 311 million, and the rate of celiac disease is about one in every 133 people, then there should be about 2.3 million Americans with celiac disease. Only three to five percent of Americans with celiac disease are thought to be diagnosed with celiac disease. And the studies of overweight celiacs who gained or lost weight on a gluten free diet include about 89 Americans and 143 Irish people. Is it credible to imagine that we can predict the responses of 2.3 million Americans based on observations of a sub-group of 89 of their compatriots and 143 Europeans? I think that most readers will agree that leaping to such conclusions is unreasonable. Yet that is what we do if we insist on the exclusive correctness of either side of the question of whether the gluten free diet is an effective weight loss tool.

    I am convinced, both by my observations of my mom, and by the results of these two small studies, that some celiacs will lose weight on a gluten free diet. However, I would not presume to insist that it is the best, or even a good tool for all overweight celiacs. Neither would I insist it was a good weight loss tool for all diagnosed overweight celiacs. Given the US studies, that is clearly not the case. Equally, denial of anecdotal reports or the two US studies claiming that the gluten free diet is not an effective weight loss tool for anyone is also unreasonable.

    We can only say, with confidence, that these study results may apply to those who are diagnosed with celiac disease. Yet we have a fairly even split, with American researchers showing that about half of overweight celiacs lose weight on a gluten free diet, and Irish researchers asserting that eighty two diagnosed overweight celiacs gained even more weight on a gluten free diet.

    Yet these statistical problems are not insurmountable. If a group of researchers conducted random screening blood tests for celiac disease in a variety of settings and circumstances, confirmed the celiac diagnosis in a large group of these individuals, and followed up with those who were overweight and undertook the gluten free diet, then their observations might reasonably be applied to the celiac population in general, whether diagnosed or undiagnosed. There would still be a relatively minor statistical error induced by cases of sero-negative celiac disease, but the statistical problems would not be anywhere near as problematic as asserting that any or all of these three studies tell us much about weight loss on a gluten free diet, except that it sometimes happens in small sub-groups of diagnosed celiac patients.

    Since such research has not been conducted, it behooves all of us to take a moderate stance on either side of this debate.    

    That does not mean that we can’t or shouldn’t make use of the available information. Each of us can draw our own conclusions based on our interpretations of the available data. If you believe that, in North America, a gluten free diet can induce weight loss in about half of overweight, newly diagnosed celiac patients, it does seem reasonable to suggest that the gluten free diet may be all that is needed for some diagnosed celiacs to lose weight. However, since we are missing more than 95% of cases of celiac disease, it is difficult to say whether it will help those undiagnosed, overweight celiacs to lose weight. Nonetheless, it is possible. Thus, if it will help some, perhaps about half of them to lose weight, those individuals might well consider this information, limited though it may be, very valuable.

    Anecdotal reports, such as my mother’s story, might also be considered very valuable by those who can lose weight on a gluten free diet. For those who do not lose weight on this diet, I suspect that many of them have walked the path my mother did, and it won’t be the first time that a diet failed to work for them. This, of course, raises the question of why some individuals and organizations have vigorously opposed and decried anecdotal claims that a gluten free diet may help some people lose weight. Clearly, there is hard scientific evidence to support this claim.  The reverse is not the case. Nobody has, or can, prove that the gluten free diet is always ineffective at helping people lose weight.  

    Meanwhile, we can hope for more research that will answer some of the many questions that arise from this relatively new information that there may be many more overweight people with celiac disease than there are underweight people with celiac disease.    

    Several of the questions that remain include:
    What causes overweight and obesity in patients with celiac disease? It is, after all, a disease that is characterized by inadequate absorption of nutrients from the food that passes through the gastrointestinal tract. I have previously suggested that specific nutrient deficiencies may induce food cravings that cause some to continue to eat despite feeling ’’full’’ because their bodies continue to demand these missing nutrients. The new field of metabonomic research may soon shed more light on this area. It has already demonstrated that subjects diagnosed with celiac disease are not as efficient at metabolizing glucose (usually derived from carbohydrates) as those without celiac disease. 

    Does wheat starch have any impact on nutrient absorption or appetite? If even small amounts of opioid peptides survive in wheat starch and are allowed access to the bloodstream and brain, they may well have an impact on appetite. Opioids or some other component of wheat starch might also alter ghrelin (a hormone that incites appetite) and/or leptin (a hormone that suppresses appetite). We just don’t know. 

    Are there other dietary differences between Ireland and the USA? We are aware of the difference in wheat starch, but what other factors might contribute to these divergent research results?
    How does wheat starch compare with the 20 parts per million currently being put forward as the labelling standard for American legislation in the offing? Does wheat starch contain 20 ppm?
    Will the legislation in question change conditions for celiac patients?

    Just how much contamination from gluten grains is present in commercial oats?  Even in the absence of contamination, how many people with diagnosed celiac disease experience cross-reactions with oats?  This is where the selective antibodies are sensitized to protein segments found in oats as well as in gluten grains.

    What other differences between Ireland and the USA might explain these variations in research findings? Could variations in sunlight, or water-borne minerals, or even genetics contribute to the difference in findings?

    How representative are these groups of other groups of celiac patients? Do they reflect what is going on among all the other diagnosed celiacs in their region? And how do these findings apply to the undiagnosed celiacs?

    Is region a genuine factor in all of this? I remember when many researchers were quite willing to believe that there was some difference that had Italy showing a rate of celiac disease of one in 250 while in the USA and Canada it was thought to afflict about one in twelve thousand. We now know that was silly, but at the time, there were a lot of apparently intelligent people who were vigorously asserting the accuracy of those variations and postulating many creative explanations for them. I remember one, now prominent celiac researcher, admonishing me not to take the Italian findings too seriously. He was very confident that they represented a large overestimation of the true incidence of celiac disease in Italy and could not reasonably be suggested as reflecting anything about Canada or the USA.  

    Now here is a really startling thought. Some of the overweight people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity might also be able to lose weight on a gluten free diet. If so, this could produce as much as a ten-fold increase in the number of people who might lose weight on our diet. Has anyone tested obese and overweight people for anti-gliadin antibodies? Could gliadin be a factor in some peoples’ weight problems?

    I wonder how many people might be helped to lose weight if pre-conceived notions about the gluten free diet could be relinquished in favour of a more open minded view.... one that recognizes that there is some evidence that some people can and do lose weight on a gluten free diet?

    The dogmatic certitude that abounds on the question of weight loss through the gluten free diet is profound and disturbing. As is pointed out by nutritionist, Brian Dean, in his article on gluten and heart disease in this issue of The Journal of Gluten Sensitivity, one long-standing dietary sacred cow has been killed. We now know that eating saturated fats is not a causal factor in heart disease.

    Equally, the emerging sacred cow that a gluten-free diet is not appropriate for weight loss is, as yet, supported only by flimsy evidence, all of which is contradicted by other research. So let’s avoid making rigid pronouncements about the gluten free diet until we have a better understanding of the complex and perplexing causes of obesity and overweight in the context of untreated celiac disease.  And please, let’s remember that some people can and do lose weight on a gluten-free diet alone. My mother is an excellent but by no means unique example. Others have similar stories. My own experience on the diet was weight gain, and now I have to work at keeping from gaining any more.

    Only those who know all there is to know should speak in absolutes. The rest of us should constrain ourselves to offering opinions and perspectives. 


    1. Hasselbeck E, The Gluten-Free Diet: A Gluten-Free Survival Guide. Center Street- Hatchette Book Group, NY, 2009.
    2. http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/2009/05/gluten-free-diet-opinion-from-elaine-monarch.html
    3. Dickey W, Kearney N. Overweight in celiac disease: prevalence, clinical characteristics, and effect of a gluten-free diet. Am J Gastroenterol. 2006 Oct;101(10):2356-9.
    4. Cheng J, Brar PS, Lee AR, Green PH. Body mass index in celiac disease: beneficial effect of a gluten-free diet. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2010 Apr;44(4):267-71.
    5. Venkatasubramani N, Telega G, Werlin SL. Obesity in pediatric celiac disease. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2010 Sep;51(3):295-7.

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    Being on a gluten free diet does not guarantee weight loss. I have celiac disease and there are plenty of packaged foods (many more appearing) that are loaded with fat and sugar. The cake, cookie, pancake, scone, pizza crust, and brownie mixes are fattening. There are plenty of fattening foods that can be ingested when on a gluten free diet; cheese, peanut butter, candy, ice cream, etc.. People who go on a gluten free diet to lose weight do not know what they are talking about. I am thin because I exercise, eat very healthy, stay away from the gluten free packaged and processed foods. I could also pack on the pounds if I ate all of the gluten free foods available. Having to eat gluten free has its challenges and I wish people would stop thinking it is a fad diet. It is extremely serious for those of us diagnosed with celiac disease and an intolerance to gluten.

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    When I first started the gluten-free diet, I lost 35 pounds within a very short time period because I didn't like the gluten-free bread I could find, and wasn't eating many gluten-free baked goods either due to the high cost. Now that I have learned to bake good gluten-free bread and other items, a lot of those lost pounds have come back. So from my experience, I guess I would have to say that it depends on what type of gluten-free foods you are eating, just as with gluten containing foods.

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    Finally a word of sense. I've seen an underweight celiac woman, who got so ill with malabsorption that she came down to 35 kilos, hair loss and constant hospitalizations before diagnosis, recover on a gluten free diet and even become a bit chubby. I've also seen myself losing some weight and any food cravings I might have had before the gluten-free diet. What I know for sure is that we are both happier now!

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    Guest Kaymarie Jensen


    When I went on a gluten free diet (and also dairy free) I experienced weight loss, but feel it was due to the type of food I was forced to eat to accommodate my gluten and dairy restrictions. I no longer was eating ice cream and no longer used cheese in my recipes for meals. Both of those things were high calorie foods that no doubt contributed to my being able to keep weight on, especially since I ate a lot of them. I also gave up baked goods and sweets due to the fact that they were too expensive in gluten free form. So I gave up another high calorie category of food. The other category that I gave up was processed foods. Many of them (most it seems at times) have gluten in them as well as high fructose corn syrup, etc. Giving these up probably also contributed to lowering my overall calorie intake. After giving up all these food categories, what's left? Well, that would leave you with non-processed, healthy foods that are often low in calories. If you lower your calorie intake, you tend to lose weight.


    You could get around this effect of the gluten free diet by buying all of the expensive calorie laden gluten free baked goods and sweets and end up consuming as many calories as you did before, thus not really losing any weight even though you were eating gluten free. Or by getting really good at baking gluten-free high calorie foods at home and eating a lot of them.


    So, is it the gluten-free factor that leads to some losing weight on a gluten-free diet, or is it the overall change to a lower calorie diet brought on by giving up the processed foods and baked goods that contain gluten, but also lots of calories?

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    I too have not lost weight on the celiac diet. I have gained at least 25 pounds and not been able to lose it in the 16 years I have been on the diet although I've tried. Wish I could lost at least 20 pounds of it.

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    Finally a word of sense. I've seen an underweight celiac woman, who got so ill with malabsorption that she came down to 35 kilos, hair loss and constant hospitalizations before diagnosis, recover on a gluten free diet and even become a bit chubby.

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    Very well balanced - distinguishing between anecdotal and scientific approaches to the question. Other factors to be considered in the weight-loss or -gain question are (1) the level of regular exercise (2) the presence and control of other diseases that also impact the ability to gain or lose weight, such as hyper- or hypothyroidism (3) the ratio of the various food types in one's regular diet.


    Let's say "Diane" (not necessarily a fictitious name) is an overweight, sedentary individual with hypothyroidism who normally eats a diet a little too high in processed wheat & corn products, potatoes, animal and vegetable fats and hidden corn syrup. Then let's say Diane starts a gluten-free diet due to a diagnosis of celiac disease, although it could just as easily have been because she read that it works as a weight-loss program for her favorite movie star. She reasons (or rationalizes) that she became overweight because with celiac disease she was literally starving to death and her system responded by compelling her to eat.


    As she begins the diet change, she finds the cost of the gluten-free versions of her everyday diet to be prohibitive. Soon, she decides the solution must be to make these foods at home, which is still more costly per serving, but within reason. Then, as she makes cakes, cookies, biscuits or pasta, she discovers these things often have considerably more fat than the wheat-based versions. Furthermore, it becomes obvious fairly quickly that making these delicious foods, rather than picking them up at the store on the way home from work, takes a lot more time out of the day. Consequently, she sometimes finds herself having soup or salad for lunch instead of a sandwich, not having cookies on her afternoon break or skipping biscuits with dinner. When she is at the grocery store, she shops more (and spends less money) around the perimeter of the store -- in the produce and (since she is not lactose intolerant) dairy sections.


    Let's say Diane also finally gets the message about exercise from all her health care providers. She doesn't know that her favorite star was also doing about 2 hours of intense exercise daily, seven days a week – weights, stretching and aerobic. Nevertheless, on her breaks and lunches at work, she walks on the nice days. Eventually, she looks forward to the walks because they relieve a little tension that builds while hunched over her keyboard for the last 2 hours.


    One day, Diane realizes that she has lost a couple pounds. Now she is off and running - metaphorically. She decides to keep doing more of the same and adding other healthy behaviors to her daily habits. Weekends around the house include gardening. Sodas are replaced with iced tea or limeade - sweetened with sugar rather than corn syrup. She takes her dog with her for a spin on her bike. Of course, now she will be begged by the dog to do that every day, rain or shine!


    After a few years and the loss of several tens of pounds, what was the reason for the weight loss? Was it the exercise? Was it the gluten-free diet? Was it a better mental state of mind? Was it the absence of corn syrup? Was it the higher fiber diet from fruits and vegetables? Was it the lower ratio of the high-fat processed breads and pasta along with more whole grains (not including wheat, rye or barley)? Was it something in Diane's genetic composition that enabled any one or more of these factors to result in weight loss? We may never know. There are too many variables and too few researchers, let alone research subjects, to reach a valid science-based conclusion. But, whatever it was, Diane is not complaining!

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    This is my personal story. I was fat since I was a child. I also had a upset stomach since I was a child. I ate less than everyone around me in my age group but yet I just grew fatter and fatter. By the time I was 13 I was over 200 lbs. By the time I was 28 I was 285. That's when I went to a doctor for my GI issues. He told me about the possibility of wheat being my problem. I was shocked by this. but I tried it. I am currently 185 one year later. I changed NOTHING else but what I eat. I love to cook so I went gluten free AND clean for the most part. I do enjoy a couple of slices of Rudi's Multigrain from time to time. But avoid the packaged stuff, eat from your kitchen, be gluten free. If you have been fat your entire life with no reason for it, think that gluten might just be your problem.


    But if you know you are overeating... don't bother. This only works for those of us who have an allergy.

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    I didn't read this entire article but I read about half of it. I have a similar story. My mom tried SO many diets everything from Atkins to South Beach to the Flatbelly diet to just eating healthy. Of course she did lose some weight but the majority of her weight came off when she started eating starch free because of her arthritis. She lost 60 pounds in a little less than a year. She also is an exercise freak and now she looks like a skeleton! And the weight is yet to come back like it did in previous diets. Also after this two of my grandparents and my uncle tried it and lost A LOT of weight. I started doing starch free to help with the body aches and the side benefits of weight loss about a week ago. All I can say, is my body feels better and healthier after a week! I haven't weighed myself to see results, but I don't really need to lose weight anyways. Its just good to be healthy. I don't understand how eating starch free could make you gain weight considering you're getting rid of all bread, potatoes, etc. It limits your choices and practically makes it impossible to eat fast food. Which of course would, in effect, make you lose weight. Just my opinion, I'm only 17 but I have seen better starch free weight loss stories than any other type of diet.

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    A bit late in commenting...but...Dr. Ron...you refer to Dickey and Kearney's paper based in Ireland, then compare its results to a trial in the US...and follow the comment with..."Perhaps these differences are the result of variations between the versions of the gluten-free diet in North America, as compared with the diet in the United Kingdom". Please don't tell me you think Ireland and the United Kingdom are one and the same? How long do us poor paddy's have to put up with this conflation? Just kidding...

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    Being on a gluten free diet does not guarantee weight loss. I have celiac disease and there are plenty of packaged foods (many more appearing) that are loaded with fat and sugar. The cake, cookie, pancake, scone, pizza crust, and brownie mixes are fattening. There are plenty of fattening foods that can be ingested when on a gluten free diet; cheese, peanut butter, candy, ice cream, etc.. People who go on a gluten free diet to lose weight do not know what they are talking about. I am thin because I exercise, eat very healthy, stay away from the gluten free packaged and processed foods. I could also pack on the pounds if I ate all of the gluten free foods available. Having to eat gluten free has its challenges and I wish people would stop thinking it is a fad diet. It is extremely serious for those of us diagnosed with celiac disease and an intolerance to gluten.

    I agree completely with your comments. It is not enough to say you are on a "gluten free" diet and then eat all kinds of processed food. You have to eat healthy and exercise. There are so many misconceptions out there that it really annoys us celiacs to hear all the ignorant comments. A bit of common sense should tell people that eating boxes of gluten free cookies does not promote weight loss.

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  • About Me

    As co-author of "Dangerous Grains" and "Cereal Killers", the study of the impact of gluten continues to be a driving passion in my life. I am fascinated by the way that gluten induces illness and impedes learning while it alters mood, behavior, and a host of other facets of our existence. Sure, the impact of gluten on health is an important issue, but that is only the most obvious area of impact. Mood disturbances, learning disabilities, and the loss of quality of life due to psychiatric and neurological illness are even more tragic than the plethora of physical ailments that are caused or worsened by gluten. The further I go down this rabbit hole, the more I realize that grains are a good food for ruminants - not people. I am a retired school teacher. Over the last decade, I have done some college and university level teaching, but the bulk of my teaching career was spent working with high school students. My Web page is: www.DangerousGrains.com

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    Dr. Amy O'Connell
    Celiac.com 12/02/2011 - Some rumors have been circulating in the health foods community that gluten-free eating can encourage weight loss. Unfortunately, this theory is completely unfounded. Wendy Marcason, a registered dietician, published an article in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association in November that reviews some of the theories and controversy surrounding this issue. The article concludes that there is no scientific evidence to support a connection between eating gluten-free and losing weight.
    For those of us with celiac disease who start a gluten-free diet, weight gain is more often the case. The healing of the damaged intestines...

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 12/19/2011 - Very little data has been collected about how body mass relates to celiac disease in children in the United States. Recently, a team of researchers sought to document the way celiac disease presents in children with normal and with elevated body mass index (BMI) for age, and to study BMI changes in those kids following a gluten-free diet.
    The research team included Norelle Rizkalla Reilly, Kathleen Aguilar, Benjamin G. Hassid, Jianfeng Cheng, Amy R. DeFelice, Philip Kazlow, Govind Bhagat, and Peter H. Green. They are variously affiliate with Columbia University School of Medicine.
    The team reviewed data from patients treated...

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 08/18/2014 - A team of researchers recently set out to better understand the effects of gluten-free diets on obesity.
    The research team included F.L. Soares, R. Matoso de Oliveira, L.G. Teixeira, Z. Menezes, S.S. Pereira, A.C. Alves, N.V. Batista, A.M. de Faria, D.C. Cara, A.V. Ferreira, and J.I. Alvarez-Leite. They are affiliated with the Departamento de Alimentos, Faculdade de Farmácia, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
    Specifically, the team wanted to determine whether a gluten-free diet can prevent the expansion of adipose tissue, and its consequences.
    For their st...

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 12/11/2015 - There's an idea, common among lay and medical people alike, that kids with celiac disease are skinny, and that overweight or fat kids can't have celiac disease.
    A new study shows puts this idea to rest, and shows that celiac disease can in fact develop in kids who are overweight or obese. The study was conducted by a team of researchers including T Capriati, R Francavilla, F Ferretti, S Castellaneta, M Ancinelli and A Diamanti.
    Their study describes the nutritional status of a group of 445 children with celiac disease at presentation, and during follow-up on gluten-free diet. The children, all with biopsy-confirmed celiac...