Why Go Gluten Free for Weight Loss?

This post is about why go gluten-free for weight loss.

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There are several reasons it might be suggested for someone to go gluten free for weight loss and several reasons going gluten free might lead to weight loss. The research and opinions on this topic vary widely but my general consensus from over 20 years of being gluten free and watching the gluten free trends is that almost anyone that practices a gluten free diet will praise its benefits and many that do not practice a gluten free diet will tell you why it’s silly or unnecessary. This article will be biased, and based on a lot of my personal experience of being gluten free for over 20 years combined with 7 years as a weight loss and health coach.

My Personal Experience Being Gluten Free

I changed to a gluten free diet back in 2002 while I was in college. I was having major health issues, bowel problems, and general fatigue and discomfort. I went to so many hospitals that ran so many tests and nothing came back conclusive and no medications worked. My mother happened to hear through a friend about something called “gluten” and “celiac disease” and that the symptoms I was having lined up with people that were intolerant to gluten. I can’t remember if I was tested for celiac but I think I was and the test came back negative. I learned since that testing for celiacs is very complicated and intolerance to gluten is enough to be diagnosed with celiacs.

I agreed to try cutting out all gluten for 6 weeks. I honestly didn’t feel much differently until after those 6 weeks and it took maybe a year to really feel a lot different. It takes a long time to heal a gut that has been hurt by gluten and a week or two is not enough of a trial period for most to feel much different. However, as I have continued to not eat gluten for these 20 years my health has improved more and more. I can’t tell you how amazing it is to not feel sick after eating anymore, to not have diarrhea or gas or cramps, and to have energy after I eat….

As a teen and in college I always felt “fluffy”. I worked out at least an hour a day, tried to eat healthier than my peers, and overall lead a much healthier lifestyle than my peers yet I had kind of an overall puffiness, especially in my mid-section. Cutting out gluten (and later dairy and soy) was undoubtedly a monumental factor in me finally being able to lose weight and feel toned and slim. By no means do I think someone HAS to cut out all gluten in order to lose weight but there are a few reasons that I do think, from personal experience, that it can definitely help.

Why Going Gluten Free for Weight Loss Can Work

  • Gluten consumption causes inflammation in many people. Inflammation causes bloating and puffiness, organs to not work well, pain and fatigue which prevents people from wanting to exercise, and an overall disease state that puts the body in a state of stress.
  • Gluten is known to cause leaky gut in many people because of the way it increases zonulin levels. Leaky gut allows toxins in the gut to leak out into the body, thus causing more inflammation and bloating, and more degeneration of organs that you need to work correctly for healthy weight loss.
  • Most processed foods contain wheat. By going gluten-free you will be automatically cleaning up your diet a lot. A cleaner diet usually means fewer calories but more importantly it means fewer toxins in your body. Your body can’t focus on optimizing and losing weight if it is burdened with too many toxins. Food dyes, synthetic chemicals, pesticides… all of these things found in processed foods cause our bodies to work too hard to detox. We become like a dirty engine that can’t burn fuel well. When you clean up your diet, you clean your engine (digestive organs and organs of elimination) and over time your body will see food as fuel instead of something that slows it down.
  • Being gluten free naturally restricts what you can eat out and at social events. In High School or college, I would pig out on sweets and treats at social events or eat fried food when I went out. Once I became gluten free my options at social events were often limited to fruit and cheese and at restaurants I often would need to order grilled meats and vegetables to stay gluten free. This can be a major bummer but if you are trying to get healthy and lose weight then it’s a major blessing to have these strict limitations.

The Gluten Free Approach to Take for Maximum Weight Loss & Health Benefits

  • Try not to just substitute. Instead of trying to substitute frozen pizza with gluten free frozen pizza, try chicken with marinara and cheese with a side of broccoli or your favorite vegetable. Swapping junk food for gluten-free junk food is a very slow plan for losing weight. Gluten free junk food is almost always cleaner/less processed than regular junk food so you will improve your health because of that but it won’t necessarily have fewer calories.
  • Aim to just eat clean whole foods. Gluten free substitutes often don’t taste as good so it’s a great plan to just try to eat clean whole foods and leave the gluten free processed foods for an every now and then treat. By whole foods, I mean: potatoes and rice instead of pasta or bread, eggs and bacon instead of pancakes… that sort of thing. It will get really frustrating if you are trying to eat how you used to but just with a gluten free label.
  • Figure out what you can eat at 3-4 restaurants that is gluten-free and that you love. This will help you not to feel frustrated and stressed when you need to grab food out. My go-to gluten-free restaurants are: Chipotle, McCalisters, Jasons Deli, Schloskis, Publix’s Gluten Free Delli wraps, Jimmy Johns (unwiches)… If it’s helpful I can write a separate post with my favorite GF restaurants and what I order. The fancier the restaurant the more accommodating they are to food allergies and willing they are to make substitutions.
  • Be prepared. If you have to eat lunch at work or out often, you will want to have snacks and maybe bring your own lunch. Don’t let yourself get stuck with low blood sugar and no gluten free snacks, that will just lead to binging on sugary foods or a lot of stress.

5 Gluten-Free Healthy Breakfast Ideas for Weight Loss

  1. Eggs & a gluten-free piece of toast (Canyon Bakehouse is my favorite brand of GF bread).
  2. Shakeology or another gluten-free shake/protein drink.
  3. Breakfast skilled: bacon or sausage, eggs, diced potatoes
  4. Yogurt parfait with berries, chia, coconut, and grain-free granola
  5. Banana Pancakes: 2 eggs + 1 banana blended and then poured and cooked as pancakes

5 Gluten-Free Healthy Lunch Ideas for Weight Loss

  1. Almost any salad- no croutons or crackers
  2. Almost any sandwich on GF bread or wrap
  3. Most soups
  4. GF crackers with chicken salad or tuna salad
  5. Sliced Veggies with hummus, hard-boiled eggs, cheese, fruit

5 Gluten-Free Healthy Dinner Ideas for Weight Loss

  1. Tacos on corn tortillas
  2. Chilli
  3. Meat with vegetables and potatoes
  4. Broth bowl: broth, rice noodles, meat, boiled egg, shredded carrots, green onions, bean sprouts
  5. Baked potato stuffed with bbq chicken and.a side of vegetables or salad

5 Gluten-Free Healthy Snack Ideas for Weight Loss

  1. Veggies and hummus
  2. Fruit and cheese
  3. Yogurt
  4. Hard-boiled eggs
  5. Smoothies or protein shakes


After 20 years of being gluten-free and never cheating- not once, I could go on and on about the benefits of this lifestyle. I do not see it as a diet, I see it as a healthier way of living. I will read things from time to time about possible ways it could make you be vitamin-deficient or less healthy but I think that’s all just clickbait. The reality we live in is that we are no longer a society or culture that lives on very fresh, fermented, pesticide-free bread and other fresh simple foods. We are a culture that consumes almost all of our gluten through processed and very chemically laden foods. By choosing to cut out gluten you are opting for ingredients that are by default healthier. Think of it this way: of all of the most horrible processed foods for you- probably 75% happen to contain gluten, another 15% contain dairy but no gluten, 5% contain soy but no gluten or dairy… When you make a commitment to no gluten you are cutting out 75% of the most processed and unhealthy foods… by also cutting out dairy and or soy, you keep cutting down that list. Even if gluten isn’t a problem for you- it would help you just to have 75% off the unhealthy food off limits and if you are like me and struggle with self control around food, these boundaries can be very beneficial.

I hope this article has helped someone understand how gluten can be very harmful to some people and cause inflammation and also how, even if someone isn’t effected negatively by gluten, they could still benefit from eating a gluten-free diet.

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