Gluten-Free Diet For Weight Loss

Written by , MSc (Biotechnology), ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist Charushila Biswas MSc (Biotechnology), ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist Experience: 6 years

The gluten free diet was initially designed to help those suffering from celiac disease (CD), wheat allergy, and non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS). Recently, many people, including celebrities like Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus, have confirmed that going gluten-free has helped them lose weight and live a healthier life.

Consuming gluten increases your appetite as it prevents leptin, an appetite-suppressing molecule, from binding to its receptor. This leads to a condition called leptin resistance and is considered to be one of the primary causes of weight gain (1).

Going gluten-free will not make you unhealthy. You will eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and good sources of protein, which will keep your health in check and help you curb cravings and lose weight.

In this article, we discuss in detail about the gluten-free diet plan (7 days) and give you a complete idea of which foods to eat and what to avoid.

Gluten-Free Diet For Weight Loss

1. What Is The Gluten-Free Diet?

A gluten-free diet simply means the exclusion of a protein called gluten from your daily menu. This protein is found in grains like wheat, barley, triticale, and rye. People suffering from celiac disease, which leads to damaged intestines if gluten is consumed in any form, are advised to stay on a gluten-free diet for life. Also, a gluten-free diet would entail replacing gluten-containing foods with fruits, veggies, and sources of lean protein.

2. Does The Gluten-Free Diet Really Work?

If you are suffering from wheat allergy, celiac disease, or NCGS, you should strictly follow the gluten-free diet. If you want to lose weight, make sure you eat the recommended foods and avoid foods that contain gluten in any form. Avoiding gluten will suppress your appetite. This will, in turn, make you eat less and hence lose weight.

3. 7-Day Gluten-free Diet Plan

7-Day Gluten-free Diet Plan
Image: Shutterstock

Day 1

On this day, dieters are allowed a total of 1800 calories. The diet includes lots of fruits, fresh fruit juices, and vegetables.

MealWhat To Eat
Early Morning1 glass warm water, honey, and half a lime
BreakfastBanana or kale smoothie
Lunch (after 2 hours)Vegetable salad with light dressing
Post Lunch1 apple
Evening Snack1 cup green tea and 2 multigrain biscuits
DinnerGrilled French beans, carrots, peas, and sweet potato
Why This Works

Having a banana or kale smoothie for breakfast will keep you energetic all day long. A light vegetable salad dressing will prevent you from consuming more calories. Sweet potatoes are lower in calories as compared to potatoes, and will help you feel full and sleep better at night.

Day 2

On this day, dieters are allowed a total of 1500 calories. The diet includes lots of veggies and milk or milk products.

MealWhat To Eat
Early Morning1 glass warm water, honey, and half a lime
BreakfastFat-free milk, strawberry, and passion fruit shake
LunchCucumber soup or tomato soup
Post LunchCarrot or beetroot
Evening Snack1 glass of fat-free milk and 1 multigrain biscuit
DinnerAsparagus and spinach salad with low-fat yogurt dressing
Why This Works

Milk or milk products will provide your body with calcium as well as other vital nutrients that will strengthen your body’s bones and muscles. Cucumber or tomato soup is full of nutrition, flavor, and light on the stomach. Post-lunch snacking is highly recommended when you have a light lunch. For dinner, consume yogurt. It will replenish your gut bacteria and support digestion.

Day 3

On this day, dieters are allowed a total of 1200 calories. The diet includes lots of protein and veggies.

MealWhat To Eat
Early Morning1 glass warm water and half a lime

1 whole egg and vegetable frittata

Spinach, cucumber, and grapefruit smoothie


Baked salmon or tuna with veggies

Grilled veggies with light dressing

Post LunchTomato
Evening SnackA small bowl of popcorn with/without 1 cup green tea

Homemade chicken clear soup with lots of veggies

Capsicum stuffed chickpeas or soy chunks

Why This Works

Kick start your day with warm lime water. It will wash away the toxins. Whole eggs are more nutritious and can be eaten while on a diet, but in limited amounts. Fish is a good source of lean protein and has omega-3-fatty acids, which help regulate blood pressure, improve heart health, and prevent rheumatoid arthritis.

Day 4

On this day, the dieters are allowed a total of 1000 calories. The diet includes fruits, fresh fruit juices, and milk.

MealWhat To Eat
Early Morning1 glass warm water and half a lime
Breakfast1 glass warm milk with roughly crushed berries
LunchA medium bowl of fruit salad
Post LunchCucumber
Evening Snack1 cup green tea
DinnerFruit kebab with honey and dark chocolate sauce and a glass of warm milk before bed
Why This Works

Though you will eat the least amount of calories on this day, this diet chart is prepared keeping in mind that boring food will ultimately make you eat more later, and you will gain the weight right back. Crushed berries in milk will give it an exciting taste and flavor. Add a little salt and a dash of lime on the cucumber that you snack on post lunch. Use your imagination and incorporate different fruits to make the fruit kebab. Do not overuse the dark chocolate. Having warm milk before you go to bed will help you fall asleep in no time. You will feel fresh the next morning.

Day 5

On this day, the dieters are allowed a total of 1300 calories. The diet includes lots of veggies.

MealWhat To Eat
Early Morning1 glass warm water, honey, and half a lime
BreakfastKale and avocado smoothie
LunchVegetable clear soup
Post LunchCarrot
Evening Snack1 cup green tea and 1 multigrain biscuit
DinnerStir fried veggies
Why This Works

Start your day with the lime, honey, and warm water drink. Kale and avocado smoothie will keep you full for a long time. Vegetable clear soup is full of nutrition. However, do not add cornflour to thicken the soup.

Day 6

On this day, the dieters are allowed a total of 1500 calories. The diet includes proteins and veggies.

MealWhat To Eat
Early Morning1 glass warm water, honey, and half a lime
Breakfast1 glass soy milk and 1 boiled whole egg

Chicken salad with veggies

Lentil soup with soy chunks, carrot, and celery

Post Lunch2 almonds
Evening Snack1 cup green tea and a small bowl of popcorn

Honey glazed roasted turkey

Flavored brown rice with spicy boiled kidney beans

Why This Works

Soy milk is super healthy and is fat-free. Make sure that you add a light dressing to the chicken salad. Also, include lots of veggies in your meal. Lentils, kidney beans, soy, etc. are a good source of protein for vegetarians.

Day 7

On this day, the dieters are allowed a total of 1800 calories. The diet includes veggies, fruits, and proteins.

MealWhat To Eat
Early Morning1 glass warm water, honey, and half a lime
Breakfast1 glass of kiwi, grapes, and strawberry smoothie
LunchSpinach and mushroom salad
Post Lunch1 bowl of watermelon
Evening Snack1 cup green/black tea and 1 multigrain biscuit

Poached eggs with asparagus and tomato salad with Italian seasoning

Cauliflower, peas, and tomato casserole

Why This Works

You can take more calories on the seventh day of your gluten-free diet. Start your day with a detox drink. Keep your breakfast simple but nutritious. This will kick start your body’s metabolism. Mushrooms are high in protein content and go deliciously well with spinach. If you don’t like poached eggs, replace them with turkey or chicken breast. This diet will help your body to come out of the low-calorie intake phase and replenish all the nutrients.

Gluten-Free Diet Chart

Gluten-Free Diet Chart

4. What Foods To Eat When You Are On A Gluten-Free Diet

Foods To Eat When You Are On A Gluten-Free Diet
Image: IStock
  • Enjoy rice or corn cereals instead of the traditional cereals for your breakfast.
  • Look out for gluten-free bread. There are quite a few assortments available.
  • Use rice and potato-based dishes to keep yourself full.
  • Try gluten-free pasta to satisfy your hunger pangs.
  • Munch on popcorn.
  • Try rice cakes and chips made from corn with various dips.
  • If you miss cakes and cookies, treat yourself to chewy candies.
  • Marshmallows, hard candies, gumdrops are mostly gluten-free.
  • Check with your local bakery; you might get gluten-free cakes and pies.
  • Raise toast with a glass of wine.

You can also consume:

  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Milk products
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables (check ingredients if using frozen or canned ones)

5. What Foods Not To Eat When You Are On A Gluten-Free Diet

Image: Shutterstock

Now, this list can be a little disheartening. But remember, if you want to lose weight, you have to avoid wheat and wheat products like:

  • Bulgur
  • Durum flour
  • Kamut
  • Semolina
  • Marble
  • Barley
  • Rye
  • Triticale
  • Breads
  • Cakes
  • Cookies
  • Scones
  • Bagels
  • Pizzas (unless labeled gluten-free)
  • Buns
  • Croissant
  • Muffin
  • French fries
  • Pasta in every form (unless labeled as gluten-free)
  • Salad dressings
  • Seasoned mixed rice
  • Beer (unless gluten-free)
  • Vegetables in sauce
  • Soup and soup bases
  • Cereals
  • Oats (unless labeled as Gluten-free)
  • Chicken nuggets (The crunchy coating is made from gluten.)

This is just the basic list. You must check the ingredients thoroughly or consult your dietician when in doubt.

6. Gluten-Free Diet Recipe

Poached Eggs With Asparagus And Tomato Salad With Italian Seasoning

Gluten-Free Diet Recipe
Image: Shutterstock
What You Need
  • 5 asparagus tips
  • 1 egg
  • 3 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • Salt
How To Prepare
  1. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half.
  2. Wash the asparagus tips well and cut them in half.
  3. In a pot of boiling water, throw in the asparagus and let it cook for a minute.
  4. Transfer the blanched asparagus to a plate.
  5. Add the tomatoes to the plate and drizzle a little olive oil, oregano, garlic powder, and salt and toss.
  6. Fill a high-rise saucepan with 3 inches of water and let it come to a boil.
  7. Add the vinegar and a pinch of salt to the boiling water.
  8. Crack open the egg and carefully slide it into the boiling water. Let it cook for about a minute.
  9. Gently take out the poached egg and place it on top of the asparagus.
  10. Sprinkle a little chili flakes, oregano, and salt.
  11. Finish by adding the grated cheese on top.
Why We Recommend It

Egg is an excellent source of protein and carbs. Carbs, in a limited amount, are essential for our body to function properly. Asparagus helps to regulate the blood sugar levels, improves digestion, fights cancer, and has anti-inflammatory properties. Cheese is rich in nutrition, strengthens bones, prevents osteoporosis, reduces hypertension, and protects from heart disease. Eggs, tomatoes, and asparagus, along with Italian seasoning, enhance the joy of eating dinner at home.

7. Role Of Exercise During Gluten-Free Diet

Role Of Exercise During Gluten-Free Diet
Image: Shutterstock

Exercising is very important if you are on a gluten-free diet to lose weight. Since you will eat a lot of fruits, veggies, and protein, you will not deprive your body of essential nutrients. You can go on with your regular exercising routine. For beginners, you can start by warming up by spot jogging and stretching. Then, you may start walking, running, bicycling, do step exercises, etc. You can also opt for strength training exercises. At any point during this diet, if you feel weak while exercising, take a break or opt for milder exercises. Also, check with your dietitian or physician to get expert advice.

8. Gluten-Free Diet Benefits

  • Beneficial for people suffering from celiac disease or any other inflammatory disease (3).
  • Leads to increase in energy levels.
  • Supports digestion.
  • Improves brain function.
  • Improves mental health.
  • Reduces intake of processed food, which contains gluten and other harmful chemicals.
  • A gluten-free diet is diabetes friendly (4).
  • Helps to fight cancer (5).

9. Caution

The gluten-free diet is medically appropriate for those who are either gluten intolerant or suffer from inflammatory disease. Going on a gluten-free diet will not necessarily help you lose a lot of weight in a short period. In fact, many gluten-free products available in the market have added flavor, sugar, and/or other chemicals to enhance the taste. These products have more calories and will lead to weight gain rather than weight loss. The gluten-free diet will work as long as you confine your diet to vegetables, fruits, fish, and healthy carbs, either cooked at home or ordered from a restaurant that uses gluten-free products. Also, generally, people going on a gluten-free diet find it difficult to stick to it. It is not just because of the restricted choices in food, but also due to the less amount of vitamins and minerals that the body gets. One might feel weak within some time due to lack of key nutrients such as fiber, calcium, and iron. It is best to consult your doctor or dietitian to ensure proper nutrition.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to start a gluten-free diet?

Start the gluten-free diet by banishing all ingredients that contain gluten from your kitchen. Buy fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meat, and any food item that has a “gluten-free” label on it. Make sure that you check the ingredients at the back of the pack properly. Follow the 7-day diet chart religiously. You can start this diet again after allowing your body to rest for two days. Do not overeat during these two days.

How Long Does It Take For Results To Show?

If you are intolerant to gluten, or have celiac disease, or have damaged your small intestine, it might take at least two months for the results to show. But if you are not gluten-intolerant, you will see the results within two weeks’ time. Along with following the gluten-free weight loss diet, you must exercise regularly. Exercising can accelerate the whole process, and you will achieve your target sooner.

Why follow the gluten-free diet?

If you suffer from Celiac disease, you need to follow a gluten-free diet for the rest of your life. There are lots of reports that the gluten-free diet also leads to a healthier life and aids weight loss. Therefore, if you want to lose weight, you might as well avoid all gluten containing foods and focus on fruits, veggies, and sources of lean protein/plant protein to lose the extra pounds.

Where would I find gluten-free food items?

The gluten-free diet has become such a rage that most supermarkets have come up with a new ‘gluten-free’ section in their stores. In fact, regular items like pasta and bread are now available easily and that too gluten-free! Do not panic if you don’t find it at your nearby supermarket. You can always check for its availability online. Another place to find gluten-free products is at your local celiac support group. You can also ask your doctor and find out more about a balanced, healthy, and gluten-free diet.

Is the gluten-free diet good for you?

The gluten-free diet requires you to eat a lot of fruits, veggies, and lean protein, which are much healthier options as compared to pizza and pasta. However, you should be aware that many gluten-free products in the market contain additives, which can lead to weight gain. Also, if you are not gluten intolerant, being on a gluten-free diet can lead to weakness and irritability.

Is rice gluten-free?

Yes, any kind of rice (unless it is genetically modified) is gluten-free. Generally, brown rice is totally recommended for those who are on a gluten-free diet.

Are potatoes gluten-free?

Yes, potatoes are gluten-free and can be eaten while you are on a gluten-free diet or if you are gluten intolerant.

Are cornflakes gluten-free?

Corn, by itself, is gluten-free. However, cornflakes that are available in the market contain malt sweetener, which is made from barley. Barley contains gluten, and therefore, cornflakes available in the market cannot be recommended for people with gluten intolerance or who are on a gluten-free diet to lose weight.

Like any other change, this diet too takes time to get used to. One might initially feel a little frustrated due to all the restrictions in diet, but eventually, it will be okay. The idea is to be positive and keep yourself motivated to get the desired results.

What is your favorite gluten-free food? Let us know whether this diet worked for you by commenting below.

Cheers to good health!

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Charushila Biswas

Charushila BiswasHealth & Wellness Writer

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