Does a Gluten-Free Diet Cause Weight Loss or Weight Gain?

Jul 7 2023
If you’re confused about how gluten affects your weight, it’s no wonder: There’s a lot of conflicting info out there! Some sources recommend cutting out gluten if you’re trying to lose weight; they say gluten can boost your appetite. Others claim going gluten-free can lead to weight gain. Let’s break down the facts…

What Is Gluten?

Gluten is a group of proteins in grains like wheat, rye, and barley. It’s commonly found in bread, pasta, cereal, crackers, starchy breakfast foods, and baked goods. Originally, gluten-free foods were made for the 1 percent of Americans with celiac disease. If these people eat gluten, their immune cells turn against them, damaging their guts. Some people without celiac disease avoid gluten to clear up digestive issues, fatigue, or other symptoms. If you don’t fall into either category, consider the following info before giving up gluten for good…

Weigh the Facts

Some people naturally make healthier choices and consume fewer calories when they go gluten free. For example, you might opt for a leafy green salad at lunch instead of a bread-covered cheeseburger. But if you’re drenching that salad in mayo-heavy dressing and adding calorie-dense toppings—or using a gluten-free bun as an excuse to splurge on a double-decker cheeseburger—it’s not exactly a recipe for weight loss.

Don’t Assume Gluten-Free Means Good for You

Switching to gluten-free breads, snacks, and desserts could actually prevent weight loss. Here’s what you need to know…

Without gluten, food may need more sugar and fat to taste good, which means more calories. Check the nutrition panels!

Gluten-free foods are often made with refined flours and starches from foods like potato, tapioca, and rice. These can be low in nutrients and lack hunger-busting fiber.

You can still enjoy satisfying whole grains on a gluten-free diet. Look for products made with amaranth, teff, quinoa, whole grain rice, millet, sorghum, buckwheat, and oats. (Just read labels, and watch out for cross-contamination warnings.)

Bottom Line?

When it comes to gluten, whether you avoid it or embrace it, you’re not likely to lose weight if you don’t pay attention to your calorie intake. Read nutrition labels, and make the best choices for you!

Smart Gluten-Free Food Finds

Whether or not you avoid gluten, these Hungry Girl approved picks deserve a spot in your virtual shopping cart…

Chew on this:

Today, July 7th, is National Strawberry Sundae Day. (Shouldn’t this exclusively fall on a Sunday?) Warm up this naturally sweetened no-sugar jam for a sweet ice cream topping!

Your gluten-curious acquaintances might find today’s info enlightening… Pass it on!


We may receive affiliate compensation from some of these links. Prices and availability are subject to change.

We may have received free samples of food, which in no way influences whether these products are reviewed favorably, unfavorably, mentioned with indifference, or mentioned at all. Click for more about our editorial and advertising policies.

*The WW Points® values for these products and/or recipes were calculated by Hungry Girl and are not an endorsement or approval of the product, recipe or its manufacturer or developer by WW International, Inc., the owner of the Points® trademark.

Questions on the WW Points® values listed? Click here.

Hungry Girl provides general information about food and lifestyle. This information and any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. Click here for more information.