Gluten Intolerance and Losing Weight

Red Bathroom Scale
Weight gain and loss are both symptoms of gluten intolerance.

There is a correlation between gluten intolerance and losing weight. Though the chronic diarrhea associated with gluten intolerance can result in severe weight loss, it's almost surprising that gluten intolerance may hinder weight loss in some individuals. That's right; both weight loss and weight gain are associated with gluten intolerance.

Diet and Failure to Lose Weight

If you've tried all kinds of diets faithfully, but can't seem to budge the needle on your bathroom scale, this doesn't necessarily mean you're gluten intolerant. However, you just might be. Not every overweight individual who can't seem to shed those unwanted pounds has a problem with gluten. Still, several gluten intolerant persons are overweight. If you are gluten intolerant, then your system cannot tolerate the protein found in several grains. If left untreated, you may find yourself extremely fatigued, since your body can't properly use the energy available in the food you eat. Other symptoms of gluten intolerance include:

  • Bloating
  • Bone fractures
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Discoloration of teeth
  • Irritability
  • Joint pain
  • Missed menstrual periods
  • Skin rash (itchy)
  • Tingling in hands and feet (or numbness)

Foods that Contain Gluten

Gluten is found in many processed foods and may even be hidden amongst the listed ingredients on a gravy packet. Foods commonly known to contain gluten include:

  • Bagels
  • Beer
  • Breads
  • Cakes
  • Cookies
  • Ice cream
  • Pasta

While this list only touches on well-known possibilities, it's important to realize that gluten is often found where you least expect it, including vitamins, medicines and cosmetics.

Gluten Intolerance and Losing Weight

While many people who have celiac disease are very thin, that is not the case for everyone suffering from this chronic condition. Celiac disease damages the villi in the small intestine and, as a result, the body's ability to digest food and absorb nutrients is hampered. This malabsorption can result in excessive weight loss, but for others, the starvation reflex kicks in and the body decides to burn fewer calories and store more as body fat. This can happen even for people with chronic diarrhea, resulting in unwanted pounds which can seem impossible to get rid of no matter how much you diet. In both cases, the body isn't getting enough nutrition. Yet, one person can appear gaunt and underweight and, another, pudgy and overweight.

Gluten Free Diet

The answer for both types of people is a gluten free diet because the solution deals with helping your body acquire the nutrition it needs. Eliminating gluten will allow your body to function properly again, absorbing all the nutrients you need for good health-including a healthy weight.

Learning to eat gluten free is a process, and since there is no cure for gluten intolerance, the gluten free diet must become your way of life. It may seem initially difficult as you learn what to avoid and what alternate grains and starches can be eaten instead of your favorite breads and pastas, but it won't take long for you to realize that gluten-free options are available in place of many of your favorite foods. However, it is important to talk with your doctor about your diet. If you have celiac disease, your villi may be damaged enough that your doctor will restrict all complex carbs until your digestive tract has adequate time to rest and repair.


Gluten intolerance and losing weight often go hand in hand, but if you suspect gluten intolerance may be responsible for your weight gain, you still need to make an appointment to see your doctor. Not only will he be able to properly diagnose your condition, but he will also provide you with information and support regarding how to live a healthy gluten-free lifestyle.

Gluten Intolerance and Losing Weight