23011 Screening Versus Symptoms: Does Detection Method Affect Body Mass for Celiacs on a Gluten-free Diet? - Celiac.com
No popular authors found.
Ads by Google:


No categories found.

Get Celiac.com's E-Newsletter

Ads by Google:

Follow / Share

Twitter Facebook Google Plus Pinterest RSS Podcast Email  Get Email Alerts


Popular Articles

No popular articles found.
Celiac.com Sponsors:

Screening Versus Symptoms: Does Detection Method Affect Body Mass for Celiacs on a Gluten-free Diet?

Celiac.com 08/27/2012 - Because so many patients are now overweight upon diagnosis for celiac disease, and so fee present as classically underweight, doctors are revising the clinical presentation guidelines for celiac disease diagnosis.

Photo: CC--fbellon1That being said, some researchers have voiced concern that some patients might gain further weight while on a gluten-free diet.

Recently, a team of researchers conducted a study to assess the impact of a gluten-free diet on body mass index (BMI) in a nationwide group of celiac patients and to isolate any variables that might help to predict favorable or unfavorable BMI changes.

The research team included Anniina Ukkola, Markku Mäki, Kalle Kurppa, Pekka Collin, Heini Huhtala, Leila Kekkonen, and Katri Kaukinen. They are affiliated variously with the School of Medicine, University of Tampere, and the Department of Gastroenterology and Alimentary Tract Surgery at Tampere University Hospital, both in Tampere, Finland.

To assess weight and disease-related issues, the researchers looked at 698 newly detected adults who were diagnosed with celiac disease by classical or extra-intestinal symptoms or by screening.

The researchers measured BMI upon celiac diagnosis and after one year on a gluten-free diet. They then compared the results against data for the general population.

Ads by Google:

Study data showed that 4% of patients were underweight at celiac diagnosis, 57% were normal weight, 28% were overweight and 11% were obese.

On a gluten-free diet, 69% of underweight patients gained weight, while 18% of overweight and 42% of obese patients lost weight. BMI remained stable for the other patients.

Both symptom- and screen-detected celiac patients showed similar results. The patients with celiac disease showed a more favorable BMI pattern than the general population.

The most favorable BMI changes were seen in patients with self-rated gluten-free diet expertise, along with those who were younger upon diagnosis. Dietary counseling did not seem to impact .

The initial method of detection does not seem to matter for people with celiac disease who are following a gluten-free diet. Both screen-detected and symptom-detected celiac disease patients who followed a gluten-free diet showed similar improvements in body mass index (BMI).


Celiac.com welcomes your comments below (registration is NOT required).

Spread The Word

Related Articles

6 Responses:

Kelly Shuman
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingemptyratingempty Unrated
said this on
27 Aug 2012 7:00:51 AM PDT
I was diagnosed 21 years ago and am still overweight. (obese). I would love to see just what the diet consisted of exactly, because nothing I have tried has helped me to lose weight - I have gained more, if anything. If anyone is doing research please contact me, my daughter, my sister, and nephew.
We would love to have more information and help others with this disease.

Heather Twist
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
28 Aug 2012 12:57:01 AM PDT
That is pretty much what I've seen in the community. Some people with celiac ... don't lose weight when they lose the gluten. When food absorption is better, celiac people eat less, but don't lose weight.

I kind of think the research by Dr. Richard Johnson is on the right track. Some combination of too much fructose, and too much iron, is triggering the weight gain. Wheat might trigger too much iron absorption also. But the American diet, in particular, is really high in fructose (not just HFCS, but also sucrose and OJ) and iron (not just meat, but also iron-enriched foods).

In terms of the article though, about "detection methods" ... my first thought was about waist circumference. Anyone with "bloating" can gain a few inches just from gas, and THAT I think, is a big flaw in the waist-measurement statistics.

Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
03 Sep 2012 9:49:28 AM PDT
Kelly, I don't know if my answer will be yours but I have finally been able to lose weight for the first time in 30 years. I was diagnosed with celiac disease nearly 10 years ago. I was overweight then and it's gone up slowly since then until this year. I've been watching my blood glucose levels and a friend recommended a book called The Diabetes Solution by Dr. Bernstein. I don't follow his instructions exactly but I am restricting my carbs to fewer than 100 grams daily and losing weight. I've been eating 1600 calories a day for a while but weight loss didn't begin until I restricted carbs to fewer than 100.

One other thing that makes a difference for me that I haven't heard mentioned much for weight loss is sleep. In the past, I've always gone on about 6 hours of sleep or less. Now, if I get less than 8 hours of sleep per night, after a couple of days the weight loss stops. I have been on different diets many times and they didn't work. The carb restriction and sleep is working and I've lost 30 pounds. That's the first time I've been able to make the scale go the other direction in 30 years.

I have to mention a food logging program called DietPower is helping me keep track of the food but I find it's wildly optimistic on how many calories I burn in any activity so I ignore the "calories earned by activity" section. Hope this helps.

Cristie Kalish
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingemptyratingempty Unrated
said this on
05 Sep 2012 2:57:53 PM PDT
I feel you! We (my mom and I, both celiacs) have the same experience. It seems impossible to lose weight, we just gain. That said, having tried every diet, my mom finally seems to have found a holistic doctor who is helping her. He put her on a grain-free, dairy-free, sugar-free diet. I put my family of 5 on it and everyone has lost weight (me the least, sigh). Nonetheless, it's working for us 5 and my mom. My mom was diagnosed with candida in her intestine; you might want to look it up.

Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingempty Unrated
said this on
10 Sep 2012 5:23:17 PM PDT
H! For the first time in 10 years, I've had good success quickly dropping the pounds with very low carb, gluten-free fresh foods - nothing processed. Low carb is key!! Keep lowering the daily amount of carbs until you have the rate of weight loss you want - it varies for everyone. Look up primal blueprint's website and get on their email list - they have great free advice/emailed tips and recipes. They is very filling and easy recipes - you won't be hungry at all. My sister had similar success and we're now working on other family members!

Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
03 Sep 2012 9:32:06 AM PDT
I'm thrilled to see that doctors are recognizing celiac disease in overweight people more often. Ten years ago, when I was diagnosed, several doctors had a difficult time believing that I was biopsy diagnosed because I was (and am) overweight.

Rate this article and leave a comment:
Rating: * Poor Excellent
Your Name *: Email (private) *:

In Celiac.com's Forum Now:

All Activity
Celiac.com Celiac Disease & Gluten-Free Diet Forum - All Activity

So as many of you might know at only 6 weeks Gluten Free we were shocked to see how many Neurological Issues were resolved for our daughter. It was shocking and amazing. We quickly began to realize that the difficulty swallowing, the Vertigo, the sensory issues were ALL Gluten related. Now in the last 2 weeks it all slipped away and she is almost entirely back to the way she was before we went Gluten Free. We have a pretty good idea why and are taking the steps to remedy it. BUT...it struck me that (for HER sake and the sake of her long term medical records) I need to get the Gluten Ataxia recognized. I realize now how fragile her health is and how hard she will have to fight to STAY healthy. And worse - potentially EVERY cross contamination will take her out for weeks and make her employment opportunities shaky and vulnerable. My Dr. agrees and is sending us to the McMaster Neurological Department (they are cutting edge, up on all that is new etc) to see if they are willing to work with us. She just put the referral in so I have no idea what will come from it. It my result in nothing? Or she may get a Gluten Ataxia diagnosis? I'm not sure but it is worth fighting for.

In my research, diabetes (type 2) is genetic. You either have the genes to develop diabetes or you do not. Additional weight is most likely due to insulin resistance. I happen to be a thin diabetic. I have never been heavy. I was brought up to consume the Standard American diet (SAD) full of process and sugary foods. The problem most celiacs have is that they just simply convert the SAD diet into a gluten free diet. I disagree. We need to consume foods that naturally contain nutrients that are good for us. Fortified foods were only developed during the last century. In the 20's they added iodine to salt to prevent thyroid disease (goiters). In the 30's they added Vitamin D to prevent rickets (fortified milk was better than that nasty cod liver oil). In the 40's they started fortifying flour. Why? They found that kids entering into the military during WWII were malnourished. Yes. They were malnourished. Remember, the Great Depression preceded the war. Read more: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK208880/ I consume very few grains because I do have diabetes. I eat fresh veggies (full of fiber), meats, fruit, eggs, and dairy along with plenty of fat (which does not raise blood sugar). I do occasionally fall of the wagon, but never the gluten-free wagon! Granted this diet is not for everyone. We must choose what works best for our individual health issues. But chances are we do not need to consume processed junk food in a daily basis. It is not healthy for a celiac. It is not healthy for anyone! So, everything in moderation and enjoy a varied diet.

I felt great a few weeks after going gluten-free. finally started loosing weight as well. the last few weeks I have not felt good. ok in the morning, then slowly start getting brain fog. shakes. pains. is low blood sugar a side affect of going gluten free????

I had a bone scan it didn't show any fractures, basically I left physical therapy in pain, it then went away. But my knee pain and tingling didn't go away so I tried PT again and I left it pain. Then I realized I had celiac and now all my pain is gone other then the back pain.. I'm basically worried I healed from the celiac and PT caused a whole new problem that never had to happen.

I am trying to find out if going gluten-free can cause low blood sugar. I felt so much better when going gluten-free, but now I feel weak, shaky, tired