Gluten-Free for Weight Loss?

Posted on August 19, 2019

Written By: Lisa Perry, RDN, Lisa Perry Nutrition,

Foods labeled gluten-free are everywhere these days. Will gluten-free foods help with weight loss? First, let’s take a look at gluten.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. Gluten helps to give shape, structure, and elasticity to baked goods.

Since the biggest sources of gluten are wheat, barley, and rye, you may assume you only have to avoid bread, pasta and baked goods made with those three grains. However, there are many hidden sources of gluten. For example, soy sauce contains gluten.

Who should eat a gluten-free diet? Individuals who have Celiac disease should maintain a very strict, lifelong gluten-free diet. Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disease that damages the small intestine. If you suspect Celiac disease, speak with a physician.

Is a gluten-free diet good for weight loss? While it is possible to lose weight on a gluten-free diet, it is not a guaranteed weight loss plan. Many of the gluten-free baked goods and snacks are just as unhealthy as their gluten-containing counterparts. Gluten-free products often contain less fiber, more sugar, and are highly processed. Eating a gluten-free cookie, instead of a regular cookie, will not help with weight loss. Gluten-free products are usually more expensive, so not only will you not lose weight, you’ll increase your food budget.

If weight loss is your goal, start by decreasing your intake of highly processed foods. Eat more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, protein, and healthful fats.