Gluten-free diet beneficial for possible weight loss, long-term health

The latest gluten-free diet craze, intended for individuals diagnosed with Celiac disease and gluten allergies, is receiving praise for its weight loss and health benefits from celebrities and everyday Americans.

Gluten-free products have received so much recognition from the media and celebrities that their annual sales are anticipated to reach $2.6 billion this year. Manufacturers are beginning to produce more gluten-free products so that in 2015, marketing research firm Packaged Facts reports the hot commodity will sell a whopping $5 billion.

Gluten is a type of protein found in wheat and most grains, such as barley and rye. Doctors typically only recommend a gluten-free diet for those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity — individuals without the disease that suffer from bowel pain or discomfort caused by the protein.

Yet, many people without the allergy are adopting a gluten-free lifestyle, chiefly for the weight loss results. Those with an actual allergy, however, do so for a completely different reason. Lee Stowers, a senior at The University of Alabama studying exercise science and pre-physical therapy, was diagnosed five years ago with a gluten allergy.

“Everyone always asks me, ‘how do you not eat bread? I would die.’ My answer always is when something makes you that sick you don’t miss it,” Stowers said. “It has affected my lifestyle in a lot more positive ways than negative.”

Singer and actress Miley Cyrus has become the unofficial spokeswoman for the gluten-free diet. Aside from her recent interviews discussing her new lifestyle, Liam Hemsworth’s bride-to-be is tweeting non-stop pictures showing off her new, slender physique.

“For everyone calling me anorexic I have a gluten and lactose allergy,” Cyrus tweeted on April 9 in defense of her drastic weight loss she credits to a gluten-free lifestyle.

The starlet is simply one of many who have made the change, claiming to physically feel better.

Kristy Sillay, a graduate student at the University working for her master’s degree in health science, had to have three shots a week for her allergies and sinus problems. After reading that a gluten-free diet could help alleviate her symptoms, Sillay decided to give it a try.

“I have noticed a significant difference when cutting gluten out of my diet. I feel better and not so fatigued,” Sillay, now gluten-free for three months, said. “My allergy and sinus symptoms are almost nonexistent.”

Although Cyrus and several other celebrities can attest to the slenderizing effects of a gluten-free diet, little experimental evidence proves that cutting out all gluten can shrink a waistline. A study in 2010 examining the benefits of a gluten-free diet found 22 of the 81 obese participants diagnosed with Celiac disease gained weight over the course of 2.8 years. Rather than going gluten-free to drop a few pounds, give it a try for the long-term benefits.


  • Heather Twist

    It’s pretty easy to explain the results. For people with celiac, going GF means that for the first time in your life, you actually ABSORB food. So when you go GF, you gain weight. For non-celiacs, going GF often results in weight loss, likely because gluten messes with the villi in the intestines, which trigger satiety. Anyway, that happened with us. Me, the celiac canary, GAINED weight going GF. The rest of the family lost weight.