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Does Celiac Disease Cause Weight Loss?

By Lana Bandoim

There is confusion about weight loss and celiac disease. In general, weight loss is considered one of the symptoms of this autoimmune disorder. However, some people experience weight gain after being diagnosed. Does celiac disease cause people to lose weight or gain it?  

Sources of Confusion

First, it is important to remember that your body is unique and may react to gluten in a different way. Although it is more common for people to lose weight before being diagnosed, some may experience the opposite problem. Having other health issues and medical conditions can also influence weight.

Symptoms of Celiac Disease

Weight loss is one of the symptoms of celiac disease. It usually occurs because the body has an immune response to gluten and the small intestines are damaged. This affects absorption of nutrients in the body, so people lose weight. Weight loss is just one indication of this condition, and other symptoms include stomach problems, headaches, anemia, mouth ulcers, fatigue and pain.

Weight Loss and Weight Gain

After a celiac disease diagnosis, you have to start the gluten-free diet. Some people gain weight after starting this diet. Several things, including the body starting to heal and being able to absorb nutrients again, may cause this. It has been suggested that malabsorption of nutrients keeps people underweight, so healing the intestines and gut restores their ability to gain weight.

Some people gain weight because of the products they eat. Many gluten-free packaged foods are high in carbohydrates and fat. Brands add extra sugar, salt and fat to compensate for the elimination of gluten. You have to read labels carefully and consider making changes.

Common Problems

If you gain weight after switching to a gluten-free diet, then remember that you are not alone. Research studies have shown that this is a common problem for people who have celiac disease. One study found that 66 percent of the 700 participants gained weight within a year of being diagnosed. Most gained six pounds or more.

Getting Help

If you are struggling with your weight, talk to a doctor and nutritionist. Celiac disease requires a special diet, and nutritionists can address concerns. It is also important to get tested for other conditions that a doctor may recommend. Many diseases such as diabetes can cause weight loss and weight gain. Ask for help and do not try to lose weight on your own.

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Henderson, Nev.

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