The health effects of a gluten-free diet

Nov 18, 2020

health effects gluten-free diet

In recent years many already existing diets have been brought to light with the promise to turn your unhealthy lifestyle around and promote your weight loss goals. A gluten-free diet is no exception. It has been practiced for decades by people with an intolerance to gluten, but only now people practice it for weight loss. Many questions emerge for people who are not sensitive to gluten. Can this diet bring me any health benefits? Is this diet going to support my weight loss in Brooksville? What even is a gluten-free diet? Let us answer those questions for you!

What is a gluten-free diet?

A gluten-free diet means that you do not consume foods containing gluten – a protein found in grains, such as wheat, barley and rye. These grains, including gluten, can be commonly found in the following:


  • breads
  • baked goods
  • soups
  • pasta
  • cereals


  • malt (malted barley flour, malted milk and milkshakes, malt extract, malt syrup, malt flavoring, malt vinegar)
  • food coloring
  • soups
  • beer
  • Brewer’s Yeast


  • rye bread, such as pumpernickel
  • rye beer
  • cereals

In our article “Gluten-free diet all you need to know about gluten” we explain in detail what gluten is, what foods contain gluten and how it affects our bodies.

Why engage in a gluten-free diet?

There are many reasons why people engage in a gluten-free diet and these are mostly medical-condition related. outlines 4 medical conditions, which are managed by following this particular diet:

  • Celiac disease – gluten triggers an immune system reaction that damages the lining of the small intestine. With time this damage prevents the absorption of nutrients from food. It is an autoimmune disorder affecting 1-2% of Americans.
  • Non-celiac gluten sensitivity – people with this condition show a similar reaction to gluten as those with celiac disease, namely abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, headaches, etc.. However, in this condition the gluten doesn’t cause damage to the small intestine. Up to 6% of Americans suffer from this stomach-upsetting.
  • Gluten ataxia – this also is an autoimmune disorder. However, this one affects some nerves, leading to problems with muscle and movement control.
  • Wheat allergy – like with other allergies, this is an internal immune reaction against wheat as the immune system is mistaking it for a disease-causing agent, such as a virus. The allergic reaction can lead to congestion, breathing difficulties and more.

A gluten-free diet is commonly advertised as a gateway to many health benefits, including weight loss, improved athletic performance and improved gastrointestinal health. However, no research has been done on the effects of a gluten-free diet on weight loss alone, or for general health benefits on non-celiac people.

Effects on your health

A gluten-free diet has been extensively researched on celiac patientsStudies generally agree that a careless gluten-free diet can lead to:

  • Initial weight gain

There are two non-exclusive explanations for this. Firstly, some gluten-free substitutes contain higher amounts of fat, sugar and calories than the original gluten-rich products, often to enhance the flavor. Secondly, as celiac patients begin their gluten-free diet, their intestine heals, thus regaining the ability to efficiently absorb nutrients leading to unintended weight gain. Also, as the intestine heals and the abdominal discomfort disappears, patients experience an increased appetite and tend to overeat.

  • Nutrient deficiencies

Products containing gluten contain minerals and vitamins, which are rarely present in their gluten-free substitutes, or naturally gluten-free foods. These include fiber, iron, calcium, and the B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate).

  • Increased risk of some chronic diseases

An unmonitored engagement in a gluten-free diet, which results in continuous weight gain can overtime lead to weight-related health problems like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and even some cancersMultiple studies have also shown that those with a low intake of whole grains (less than 2 servings per day) – compared to those with a high intake (2-3 servings per day) – had developed a significantly higher risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.

Most of the above negative health effects can be avoided by having a healthy, active lifestyle and consuming a mindful and balanced diet. This diet should be made up of a variety of naturally occurring gluten-free foods and reducing the intake of processed substitutes. In general, a gluten-free diet can impact your health and weight loss differently, depending on how you conduct it.

To ensure that a gluten-free diet agrees with your weight loss program and does not damage your health, make sure to consult your Hernando Beach Dietitian before you engage in it.

Watch this short video for a quick run-through of  a gluten-free diet:

Find out more about our Hernando Beach Dietitian

Our highly qualified weight loss experts at Batista Weight loss and Wellness: Susan West-Opyoke, RDLD; John Batista, M.D.; Stephanie, M.A; and Valerie, Office Staff, together have decades of experience working with weight loss patients.

At Batista Weight loss and Wellness we believe that successful weight loss depends on two factors – the knowledge about how to lose weight and following through on your weight loss plan. Our experts will provide you with a customized weight loss plan, and regular face-to-face interaction and motivation.

To create your own customized weight loss plan with us and achieve sustainable weight loss in Brooksville don’t hesitate to contact us on (352) 600-3476 or drop us a visit at our clinic: 443 Mariner Blvd, Spring Hill, FL 34609, USA.

The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.