Why Gluten Causes Weight Gain

Gluten is found in some grains, including wheat, barley, rye, and oats (although some oats are gluten-free). Because of how grains are grown today, glutinous grains often cause inflammation. When we have inflammation in the body, we are more prone to weight gain.

How exactly does this work? Eating gluten triggers the release of a protein called  zonulin. This protein dismantles proteins in the small intestine which

ordinarily keep the intestinal walls tightly sealed. When small holes form in the intestinal track, some of the food leaks out and your immune system thinks it’s being invaded. You then start to develop food sensitivities, and your immune response is to increase inflammation. Inflammation causes symptoms (like digestive distress, congestion, and joint pain).

The basic gist is… gluten leads to leaky gut which causes food sensitivities which leads to inflammation and weight gain. The best thing to do is:

  • eat grains that are gluten free, which include buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth, teff, rice, and millet
  • even better is to soak or sprout the gluten-free grains first
  • emphasize other foods in your diet, especially good quality lean protein and non-starchy veggies


If you look at ingredient lists on packaged foods, you will find wheat in a large percent of them. It is in baked goods, pasta, pizza, crackers, breads (the more obvious ones) but is also hiding in sauces and gravies, stock cubes, luncheon meats that have fillers, soy sauce, and soups that are roux-based.

If you’re curious to see if you are sensitive to gluten, consider going three weeks without it. Even a bite can disrupt this experiment, so you will need to be very careful about what you eat. See if you lose weight, and if other troublesome symptoms disappear or diminish. Then challenge it to see for sure if you are sensitive to it. Have it in one meal a day for the next four days after the first three weeks, and then discontinue it for the next three days. Be sure to use a whole grain form, as whole wheat pita vs. white flour pita bread.  If you have a return of symptoms or weight gain, that would be a sure sign. Then leave it out of your diet for three months and retest.

For further information on how to work with food sensitivities, see The Virgin Diet by JJ Virgin. Another excellent source is Grain Brain by David Perlmutter, M.D.  Feel free to contact me to talk further for individual help.


Call me at 317-445-4203 to set up a dietary consultation, free consultation or single session starter. We will work out a success plan that meets your unique needs for weight loss and improved health.


Carol Crenshaw is a Weight Loss and EFT Expert, helping hundreds of people weed through all the weight loss myths and providing healthy, fast and freeing weight loss solutions. To find out more about Carol and the weight loss programs she offers, go to www.MakingWeightLossEasy.com    Both group and private sessions are available.




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