Skip to main content
ASK AN EXPERT
Got a question about a health story in the news or a health topic? Here's your chance to get an answer. Send us your questions about general health topics, diet and fitness and mental health. If your question is chosen, it could be featured on CNN.com's health page with an answer from one of our health experts, or by a participant in the CNNhealth community.




* CNN encourages you to contribute a question. By submitting a question, you agree to the following terms found below.
You may not post any unlawful, threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. By submitting your question, you hereby give CNN the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your questions(s) and accompanying personal identifying and other information you provide via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. CNN Privacy Statment.
Thank you for your question!

It will be reviewed and considered for posting on CNNHealth.com. Questions and comments are moderated by CNN and will not appear until after they have been reviewed and approved. Unfortunately, because of the voume of questions we receive, not all can be posted.

Submit another question or Go back to CNNHealth.com

Read answers from our experts: Living Well | Diet & Fitness | Mental Health | Conditions

Expert Q&A

  • Share this on:
    Share
  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print

How do I lose weighton agluten-free diet?

Asked by Mike, Colorado

Open quote
Close quote

I have celiac disease (gluten intolerance), and I am wondering how to lose weight given my restrictions in my diet.

Expert Bio Picture

Diet and Fitness Expert Dr. Melina Jampolis Physician Nutrition Specialist

Expert answer

Hi Mike! This is a great question. It brings up a point that I discussed in a past CNN response: A gluten-free diet is not a weight-loss diet, but rather a way of eating that is essential for people suffering from celiac disease. That's a condition in which the body reacts to a protein called gluten present in wheat and related grains, including barley, rye, spelt, kamut and triticale.

Some people with celiac disease do lose weight on a gluten-free diet since they are unable to eat many foods often associated with weight gain, including refined-wheat products such as pizza, bread, rolls, pasta, crackers, pretzels and baked goods, as well as many highly processed and packaged foods that contain hidden gluten. But the diet was not designed for weight loss.

There's increasing awareness and diagnosis of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, a condition in which people test negative for celiac disease but still react adversely to the ingestion of gluten. And celebrity endorsement have contributed to the rising popularity of gluten-free diets.

But processed and packaged foods -- baked goods, pizza dough, pasta, gluten free snacks and breads -- are showing up more and more in the marketplace. So it is important to limit your consumption of these types of foods if you have celiac disease and are trying to lose weight.

Shauna James Ahern, author of "Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef" and creator of the popular blog of the same name, explains that most gluten-free baked goods are made with white rice flour, potato starch or tapioca flour. These are all refined grains that lack nutrients but are loaded with rapidly digested carbohydrates that can lead to weight gain or prevent weight loss.

In addition, these products often contain loads of sugar to improve the taste. If you don't want to cut baked goods completely from your diet, her website contains recipes for healthier options such as whole-grain muffins and quinoa cookies as well as other delicious and healthy gluten-free meals.

But remember that just because they are gluten-free does not mean that you don't have to watch portion sizes.

In general, to lose weight, build your gluten-free, weight-loss diet around lean protein (including beans), low-fat or fat-free dairy, large amounts of a variety of vegetables, moderate amounts of fruit and gluten-free grains (brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat) and controlled portions of healthy fats.

If you continue to struggle losing weight despite watching your diet and exercising regularly, talk to your doctor about checking your thyroid, as an underactive thyroid can accompany celiac disease in some cases and can make it very challenging to lose weight.

Follow Dr. Melina on Twitter.

More Q&A

  • CNN's Medical UnitCNN's medical unit brings you the best experts available to answer your questions about current events and health issues that matter most to you.
Will jogging hurt an obese person's joints?asked by: Asked by John Simmet; St. Paul, Minnesota
Is creatine a safe supplement?asked by: Asked by Ralph; New York
What foods cause flatulence?asked by: Asked by Peter; United States
Quick Job Search
keyword(s):
enter city:

CNN Comment Policy: CNN encourages you to add a comment to this discussion. You may not post any unlawful, threatening, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. All comments should be relevant to the topic and remain respectful of other authors and commenters. You are solely responsible for your own comments, the consequences of posting those comments, and the consequences of any reliance by you on the comments of others. By submitting your comment, you hereby give CNN the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your comment(s) and accompanying personal identifying and other information you provide via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. CNN Privacy Statement.

The information contained on this page does not and is not intended to convey medical advice. CNN is not responsible for any actions or inaction on your part based on the information that is presented here. Please consult a physician or medical professional for personal medical advice or treatment.