How does gluten affect my weight loss goals?

Body, Science

Gluten-free has suddenly become a major trend and in a recent poll 215 of consumers said that they opted for ‘gluten-free’ when shopping. What is the truth behind this phenomenon and can going gluten-free help with your weight loss goals?

Gluten is a mixture of proteins found in grains that helps to improve the elasticity of dough in bread and pastry to make it ‘rise’ and create a soft fluffy bread.

Chronic intolerance to gluten is called celiac disease, around 1% of the population are sufferers, however, many more are slightly intolerant. Could this intolerance be stopping you from losing weight?

‘A sensitivity to gluten can also result in weight gain or an inability to lose weight’. David. S. Klein, MD, writing for FloridaMD.


Leptin is one of the hormones that signal to the brain to say you are full and have eaten enough. Leptin is triggered when we eat glucose, the body recognises it as a normal reaction and when the pancreas breaks down glucose it triggers the release of insulin which in turn releases leptin. Leptin tells us that we are full and it contributes to a healthy body weight by keeping hunger and satiety in check.

A problem occurs when we eat processed foods as these often contain fructose and corn syrup rather than glucose. Both of these ingredients are manufactured in production and can cause weight increase. The overweight and obese often have leptin resistance, although their leptin levels are high, their cells do not respond to this increase and don’t not register the satiety signals. A study by Scandinavian researches showed that grains, especially gluten are potentially contributing to leptin resistance.


The best way to find out if you are resistant to gluten and other wheat products is to eliminate it from your diet for a short period of time. Weigh and measure yourself, note how you feel before you start the two weeks. Are you generally lethargic, do you suffer from bloating? Very often you forget how you felt initially so it is good to have a benchmark to start from.

Make sure that you check sauces, medications and supplements to ensure that you are not eating hidden gluten sources. After a 2 week period check again to see if you have lost, gained weight or stayed the same. This will be an indication as to whether gluten is slowing down your weight loss.