Treatment Guide

New Study Finds Link between Celiac Disease and Obesity in Patients

gluten overweight weight gain[Editor’s Note: Originally published October, 11, 2012]

Lately, it seems like more and more celebrities and professional athletes are openly talking about going gluten free. Whether it’s due to a diagnosis of celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity, or simply because they want to get healthy, many of them have noted a weight loss as part of the benefits they’ve been seeing. Then why is it, that so many doctors and specialists will dismiss a diagnosis of celiac disease in a patient simply because the patient is not underweight?

In a recent article by Sonia Kupfer, MD, the belief that people with un-diagnosed celiac disease are all underweight is revealed to  be a misconception.

Kupfer states that, while most doctors have been trained to recognize celiac patients as being underweight, relatively few doctors consider this diagnosis a possibility for patients that are overweight or obese. It turns out, that being overweight is a large issue for many patients diagnosed with celiac disease. Kupfer noted that, “It may be surprising…to realize that while celiac disease classically presents as malabsorptive diarrhea and weight loss, between 22-32%, or up to one in three of US adult celiac patients, are overweight or obese.” One in three…

This realization led to a study that came out of the University of Chicago entitled High Prevalence of Overweight and Obese Adult Celiac Patients in the Midwestern United States. This study found that 38% of the sample of patients (258) were either overweight or obese, 56% had a normal BMI (body mass index), and only 5.4% were underweight, “a condition,” Kupfer says, “that many healthcare practitioners erroneously consider essential to a celiac diagnosis.”

With this study’s findings and the many public claims of positive weight loss by gluten-free celebrities and athletes, there is the hope that if a patient presents symptoms of celiac disease or gluten intolerance, a test or a diagnosis will be given, regardless of the patient’s weight.


Author Information: Natalie Pronio
Assistant Editor,
Natalie can be reached via e-mail 

About Natalie Pronio

  • Hi, after years of suffering with depression, fatigue, IBS, and bloating, I embarked only a week ago to put my body and mind to work in feeding them with a healthier diet and exercise, I have eliminated almost all dairy, wheat and gluten, I have not only reduced by 8lbs in weight bit I am not bloated, I feel so much more vibrant and alive that I will continue this way of nutrition. I do believe that gluten/wheat are poison to most people as was explained by Dr Osbourne in lots of his seminars. Will keep you posted on my progress.

  • Thankyou for your info, I have only recently discovered the effects of wheat/ gluten On the body. I suffered with multiple symptoms of gluten sensitivity so have eliminated almost all of it from my diet, I have list 8 lbs in weight, less bloating, no IBS spasms, more energy, less fatigue! Need I say more!!! I have also eliminated dairy and processed foods. It may be just what I’ve needed to live a healthier life, mind body spirit. Love it.x

  • Marilyn Greenrod says:

    I am coeliac and although not terribly overweight ( I was only 7stones when diagnosed 24 years ago and very ill) I find it really hard to lose weight. I do Slimming world and loss is very slow. I follow the plan very closely because if I don’t I drift into type diabetes territory. It’s in my family unfortunately. I am just under 11 stone and struggling. Is it because of coeliac disease?

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