Are You Experiencing Weight Gain on Gluten-free?

A shocking result of following a healthy diet like gluten-free is that you often face unintended weight gain on a gluten-free diet. A healthy weight is important to determine a person’s general wellbeing. Hence, excessive weight gain on a gluten-free diet is worrisome. The case with Celiac individuals is understandable, but in other individuals, healthy weight gain on a gluten-free meal plan requires close monitoring and weight management.

Today’s blog overviews the mechanisms that lead to weight gain despite being on a gluten-free diet.

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Weight Loss and Weight Gain in Celiac

Celiac individuals are often underweight at the time of diagnosis, but in the past decade, they have increasingly become overweight. This upward trend has many reasons, like early detection and varying intensity of the problem. But, the major cause of low-body weight is the malabsorption of nutrients in the intestines. As soon as Celiac individuals switch to a gluten-free diet, their BMI increases. In underweight individuals, healthy weight gain is welcome, but this shows that weight management is an important part of nutritional consultation for celiac individuals.

Useful Resource: Here is a useful link to see the Dietary Recommendations for Americans Issued by to review how an ideal diet should be according to every age group.

Healthy Weight Gain on a Gluten-Free Meal Plan

Other than individuals with celiac disease, several people switch to a gluten-free diet for different reasons. The sudden weight gain they experience after following the gluten-free diet plan is mostly linked to their eating habits. They may be eating too many snacks, more than required gluten-free food, or consuming food that is not completely gluten-free.

Understanding Gluten-free Lifestyle

What is Gluten-free?

A gluten-free diet is a diet where all the grains containing gluten are eliminated from one’s diet in every form. Whether you are taking processed food or cooking from scratch, all gluten grains and their derivatives must be stopped while you are on a gluten-free diet.

Reasons for Going Gluten-Free

There are plenty of benefits of a gluten-free diet, due to which people often like to go gluten-free without medical reasons.

  • A medical necessity like in individuals with celiac disease, gluten intolerance or gluten sensitivity.
  • Wheat allergy
  • General health and wellbeing
  • For weight loss and other objectives

Find more here whether you need a gluten-free diet or not.

Weight Gain on a Gluten-Free Diet Explained

There are many proven benefits of a gluten-free diet, but weight gain on a gluten-free diet is often unintended and unwanted. It is a shocking byproduct of switching to a supposedly healthy diet. However, it is important to understand why this happens and how to avoid it.

Here are why you may gain weight while on a gluten-free diet.

• Better Nutrients Absorption

When you are on a gluten-free diet, your intestines get more fiber to clean themselves. More fiber means a cleaner and healthier gut which improves the absorption of the nutrients in your body.

When you are underweight, healthy weight gain on a gluten-free meal plan is actually desirable. But after a point, the extra pounds you gain only add to the obesity or unhealthy weight gain, which may lead to many other health problems such as cardiovascular diseases.

The weight gain on a gluten-free diet actually happens because most people do it the wrong way. Adding more fiber and healthy food to your diet must not make you obese but healthy. Learn the proper way of adding all the nutrition to your diet and still stay on a healthy scale.

While your intestines are healing, it does not mean you can return to the unhealthy lifestyle without damaging it again. Consistency is the key to gaining the full benefits of a gluten-free diet. However, you have to learn how to do it right.

• Calorie Dense Foods

Gluten-free foods available in the markets today are usually calorie-dense. Gluten makes food flaky, crispy and crunchy, which is why it is the most desirable ingredient in most processed foods. To gain the same texture in the absence of gluten, producers add extra salts, sugar and fats to the recipe. Hence, today, gluten-free products are much tastier and more easily available in the markets. They are convenient to buy and consume in excess.

As much as these foods advertise as being gluten-free, they are still unhealthy. The excess calorie count and improved gut health add to your body weight.

• Unguided Gluten-Free Diet

Most individuals who go gluten-free usually start with preliminary research on the internet or discussions with their friends & family and set out on the road to being gluten-free. Unfortunately, they are the ones most faced with the weight-gain problem. A trained and registered nutritionist conducts a series of tests, analyzes your health status and nutritional requirements, and guides you to the right foods and diet plan to help you achieve your health goals without bearing any side effects like unwanted weight gain.

A study in Finland found that about one-third of the total 700 Celiac suffering individuals who were unguided by a professional gained, on average, 6 lbs of weight in the first year after their diagnosis.

On the contrary, another study at Columbia University showed that those guided by a registered gluten-free professional improved their BMI in the first year after their diagnosis. 66% of underweight individuals gained weight, while 54% of overweight and 47% of obese individuals lost weight on a gluten-free diet. These desirable results were achieved due to the proper consultation from a professional.

• Not Truly a Gluten-Free Lifestyle

This is not a norm, but in some cases, gluten-free products have a fraction of gluten. The labels saying “gluten-removed” may not be really gluten-free. Some products may also be cross-contaminated with gluten. Consuming such diets gives you the illusion of being gluten-free; in reality, you may still be ingesting gluten, contributing to weight gain.

It is best to cook your own snacks and meals while being on a gluten-free diet. Here are two lovely recipes of GF brownies and GF Pumpkin Pie for you. There are plenty more in my recipes section t get you through the Gluten-free diet.

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Maintaining a Healthy Weight on a Gluten-Free Diet

Getting the most benefits of the gluten-free diet

Whether you are suffering from Celiac, wheat allergy, gluten sensitivity or any other health problem, a small portion of gluten in your food can also risk your health. Especially celiac individuals cannot tolerate 1/8th of a teaspoon of gluten in their diet. It is important to always check labels and cook your own foods to ensure you are eating healthy.

While trying to maintain a healthy weight on a gluten-free diet, here are a few steps you may take:

  • A balanced gluten-free diet is necessary to maintain a healthy weight. Try to keep your diet balanced with vegetables and fruits instead of adding more gluten-free carbohydrates.
  • A gluten-free diet consultation from a registered nutritionist who specializes in celiac disease is immensely important to have proper education about the gluten-free diet. Your personalized nutritional analysis will help you improve your health without bearing any weight problems.
  • It is advised to keep food logs to analyze your eating habits and modify them if required.
  • Limit your intake of sugars and fats in processed food items, whether gluten-free or not. You can go for fruit- or yogurt-based sweets or desserts with lots of fruits instead of added sugars.
  • Choose low-fat dairy and low-fat protein options such as: skim milk, low-fat cheeses, low-fat or fat-free yogurt, lean meat, poultry without the skin, fish, and other seafood that is not fried or battered
  • Eat more fresh fruits, vegetables, lentils, beans and cereals and avoid processed foods.
  • A little exercise is always advised with every healthy diet. Similarly, it is best to move your body on a gluten-free diet. Walk, jog, workout or sports etc.

Are You Planning To Go Gluten-Free?

If you have doubts about your symptoms or wish to follow a gluten-free diet, a test-based approach and not a thought-based approach would lead to much better and healthier results. Get in touch with me to have your nutritional analyses and whether a gluten-free diet is for you or not.

Bottom Line

Weight management is an important part of a gluten-free lifestyle. Expert advice and nutrition education minimizes the possibility of getting obese and the associated risks of excessive weight gain.

It also ensures that the gluten-free diet you are ingesting is truly gluten-free, balanced and suitable for your body’s requirements. Not everyone needs a gluten-free diet, but those who need it must have it the right way.

[1] World Health Organization Estimates of the Global and Regional Disease Burden of 11 Foodborne Parasitic Diseases, 2010: A Data Synthesis.

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[1] Parasitic Infections also occur in the United States. Accessed from:

[1] Health Benefits of Oil of Oregano. Accessed from: