Will Gluten-Free Foods Help You Lose Weight?

Cut the Flour and Increase Unprocessed Foods

While trading gluten-containing breads and pastas for gluten-free processed foods won't help with weight loss, choosing naturally gluten-free foods WILL help you lose weight.

There are many weight-loss-friendly foods that are naturally gluten-free that when used as alternatives to flour-based foods, such as breads, pastas and crackers, will help you lose weight. When you reduce gluten in your diet by reducing processed foods, of all varieties, and increasing whole foods, such as, vegetables, fruits, fish, black beans, lentils, sweet potatoes, corn and brown rice, this will lead to weight loss.  Keep in mind that unless you have undiagnosed celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, your weight loss will have nothing to do with gluten and everything to do with better food choices.

For weight loss, choose unprocessed foods rather than gluten-free processed foods and don't worry about gluten.  Here are few ideas for weight loss:

  • Scrambled eggs with black beans, avocado and salsa
  • Quinoa mixed with diced vegetables and shredded chicken, seasoned with rice vinegar, canola oil, ginger and turmeric
  • Lentils cooked with brown rice served with garlic-lemon marinated salmon and mixed greens salad with strawberries
  • Lettuce wraps with ground skinless turkey cooked with coconut milk and garam masala, mixed with diced cucumber, radish and jicama

What do all of these meal ideas have in common? Great flavor, varying textures, balanced nutrients, and yes, they are gluten-free!  It's their flavor, texture and nutrients that will lead to weight loss, not the fact that they are gluten-free.

Feel Better Gluten-Free?

If you feel better on a gluten-free diet (or low gluten diet), investigate. Of course, you should feel better when you reduce processed food in your diet; however, an improvement in your wellbeing should not be ignored as you may have celiac or non-celiac gluten sensitivity.  According to the NFCA, about 95 percent of the 3 million people with celiac have not been tested appropriately for celiac, or they have been misdiagnosed with another condition.  Leading researcher Alessio Fassano, MD, estimates another 20 million Americans have non-celiac gluten sensitivity, the diagnosis given when an individual feels better on a gluten-free diet, but after thorough testing it is found that they do not have celiac and everything else has been ruled out.

If you try a gluten-free diet by mixing up your food choices and eating fewer processed foods, and you feel noticeable improvements in your overall wellbeing, talk with a dietitian or doctor knowledgeable in celiac disease.  Celiac and non-celiac gluten sensitivity can impact your body weight and your entire body with any of the following symptoms:

  • Digestive troubles (reflux, gas, bloating, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation)
  • Thyroid disease
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Low bone density
  • Joint pain
  • Infertility
  • Irregular periods

It is important to realize that you must be eating gluten in order to be tested for celiac disease and that for your best health outcomes it is essential that you have a clear diagnosis of celiac or not. If you are interested in exploring celiac disease, talk with your dietitian or doctor before committing to a gluten-free diet.

The Bottom Line

Gluten-free may not directly cause weight loss, but reducing processed foods of all varieties, does lead to weight loss. If by reducing gluten in processed foods you discover a cure to your ailments, discuss this with a knowledgeable health professional before committing a gluten-free diet.

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Hana Abdulaziz Feeney, MS, RD, CSSD is a Board Certified Sports Dietitian and virtual nutrition coach who specializes in weight management, diabetes, celiac disease, food allergies, eco-friendly eating and sports nutrition. Visit her website for more great ideas at www.nourishingresults.com. Contact her at 520-429-3418 or nutritionist_hana@msn.com to learn more about her private practice and how she can inspire, educate and motivate you to change your life, one bite at a time.


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