Give Gluten a Chance

Can a gluten-free diet really help you lose weight? Before you start dodging gluten, read this.

January 31, 2013

Right now, gluten—or rather, the lack thereof—is all the rage among nutrition-conscious women who think that cutting it from their diet will help them lose weight. But the truth is, unless you’ve been instructed by a doctor to avoid gluten—a protein found in most grains—for a medical reason (like celiac disease), a gluten-free diet is not a bonus for your waistline. “The whole notion of using a gluten-free diet as a way to lose weight is a little misleading,” says Gloria Tsang, R.D., founding editor of “Gluten is mostly found in wheat and flour, so you are probably eating healthier fare if the common coffee-shop baked goods are off-limits.” In other words, it’s not the gluten that sabotages your weight-loss goals, but the cakes, cookies, and other foods that contain it. Moreover, Tsang says, gluten-free versions of processed foods, like cereal, will often have significantly less fiber and only slightly fewer calories.