Gluten-Free Diets

Would you be healthier (and thinner!) on a gluten-free diet?

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS
5-minute read
Episode #73

Folic acid is found in leafy green vegetables, for example.  Broccoli and dried fruit are good sources of iron. B12 is found in meat and dairy products. And, as I discussed in last week’s article, nutritional yeast can be a good vegetarian source of B12 and other B-vitamins. (Click here to search for foods high in specific nutrients.) A simple multi-vitamin can also ensure that you’ve got those nutritional bases covered.

Can a Gluten-Free Diet Help You Lose Weight?

And here’s a surprising little fact I came across: People following a gluten-free diet are more likely to be obese.  That could be partly because gluten-free products tend to be low in fiber.  Fiber is one of the things that helps you feel full. So if your diet is low in fiber you may inadvertently eat more calories and gain weight.

See also “Benefits of Fiber”

There may also be a bit of health-halo effect with gluten-free foods that causes people to eat more than they otherwise would.  If you’re going gluten-free, you’ll want to watch out for that.

Finally, gluten-free packaged foods are quite a bit more expensive than regular foods. But, honestly, the availability of things like gluten-free cookies and pancake mix is more of a quality of life issue than a nutritional one. Neither cookies nor pancakes are required for a healthy diet. But for those who must avoid gluten, it’s nice to have the option once in a while.

What are the Benefits of a Gluten-Free Diet?

The benefits of a gluten-free diet for people with celiac disease, wheat allergies, or gluten intolerance are fairly obvious. But gluten-free products are also developing some cache with people who don’t have these problems. I suspect that some people aren’t even sure what gluten is but when you see “gluten-free” on a package, it suggests that gluten is something to be avoided. 

The truth is that many people—even most people—tolerate gluten just fine. But there are lots of stories about people who say that removing gluten from their diets cured them of their long-standing sinusitis, joint pain, irritable bowel, acne, or fatigue. Whether it was truly the gluten causing these symptoms is not for me to say. And, besides, it doesn’t really matter. If you feel better when you cut out gluten, be my guest.  There’s absolutely no reason you must include wheat in your diet.

If you’d like to learn more about celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or find resources for gluten-free recipes, products, and living, check out the links I’ve posted below.  

Gluten-Free Restaurants

Going gluten-free doesn't mean you have to stop eating out.  There are many restaurants that will cater to gluten-free diets.  For links to searchable databases to find one near you, check out this Quick Tip.

Click here to get my recipe for quinoa salad with pecans and cranberries.

If you have a suggestion for a future show topic or would like to find out about having me speak at your conference or event, send an email to nutrition@quickanddirtytips.com or leave me a voice mail at 206-203-1438. 

You can also post comments and questions on my Nutrition Diva Facebook Page or on Twitter.  I answer a lot of listener questions in my free weekly newsletter, so if you’ve sent a question my way, be sure you’re signed up to receive that.

Have a great week and remember to eat something good for me!


Symptoms of celiac disease

The difference between celiac disease and wheat allergy

Gluten-free foods.

Sources of hidden gluten

Resources for living with celiac and the gluten-free diet

Nutritional Yeast

Find foods high in various nutrients.

Benefits of Fiber

Junk Food in Disguise (Health Halo Effect)

Wheat image from Shutterstock


About the Author

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

Monica Reinagel is a board-certified licensed nutritionist, author, and the creator of one of iTunes' most highly ranked health and fitness podcasts. Her advice is regularly featured on the TODAY show, Dr. Oz, NPR, and in the nation's leading newspapers, magazines, and websites. Do you have a nutrition question? Call the Nutrition Diva listener line at 443-961-6206. Your question could be featured on the show.