Does gluten cause weight gain?

Megan Ware, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics
No. The only reason to avoid gluten is if you have an allergy or sensitivity to it.
Judy Caplan
Nutrition & Dietetics
No. Gluten is in carbohydrates and if you limit the total amount of carbohydrates whether they contain gluten or not, you should not gain weight. Weight gain comes from eating too many calories and not enough exercise to burn off the excess calories. Gluten is a protein in wheat that some people are allergic to.
Jessica Crandall
Nutrition & Dietetics

Gluten itself does not cause weight gain if eaten in moderation. However, gluten is in many products such as crackers, bread, pasta, etc. that we tend to overindulge in. If you consume a healthy balanced diet and you are not gluten intolerant, there is no reason gluten has to be avoided to lose weight.

Karen Ansel
Nutrition & Dietetics

Despite the hype you may have heard, gluten absolutely does not cause weight gain. In fact, giving up gluten and loading up on gluten free packaged foods may cause you to gain weight. When food manufacturers remove gluten from foods, taste and texture suffer so they often add more fat and sugar to compensate for this. If you want to slim down your best bet is a well-balanced reduced-calorie diet that contains plenty of naturally filling whole grains, fruits and vegetables and low fat dairy products.

It can if you are eating a lot of gluten-free sweets and treats. Interestingly, gluten-free foods may actually have more calories than the traditionally baked products. Often times extra fat added to the food to make the product taste better. Adding fat, adds calories to the food. 

All individuals, whether with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, should work with a registered dietitian to develop a healthy, well-balanced diet that meets their unique medical and nutritional needs and better manager their weight. You can find a local registered dietitian at:
Picture of weight scale
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Gluten does not make you fat. In fact, people who can't tolerate gluten often lose weight when they eat it. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. In some people, gluten damages the intestines, causing a condition called celiac disease. Symptoms of celiac disease include stomach pain, diarrhea and fatigue. Many people with celiac disease also lose weight since their damaged intestines can't absorb nutrients from food properly. Eating gluten is not known to cause weight gain.

Continue Learning about Protein


We hardly ever eat straight protein, but get it from foods like meats, fish, and soy, along with fats and carbohydrates in a protein package. Almost all reasonable diets provide enough protein for your body to break down into the ...

building blocks knows as amino acids. Recent interest in protein has been created by studies showing that diets high in protein and low in carbohydrates are at least as effective as low fat higher carbohydrate diets. Severe lack of protein can cause malnutrition diseases, but there is little evidence that high levels of protein do anything harmful.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.