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Negative side-effects of a gluten-free diet

What are the negative effects of a gluten-free diet?

Understanding the negative side-effects of a gluten-free diet

Embarking on a gluten-free diet can be a necessity for those with a medical diagnosis such as coeliac disease. However, it's important to be aware of the potential negative side effects of a gluten-free diet.


This guide will help you understand:

  • what to expect; and 

  • how to manage these side effects.

The good news is on a gluten-free diet you don't have to get ill or lead a restricted or unhealthy life. But there are key areas you need to be aware of to prevent that from happening, which is why it's vital you look after yourself.

One of the best ways to do this is to take my online course 'From Bloated To Brilliant'. You'll have the expertise of a coeliac GP and a specialist coeliac dietitian to ensure you learn how to prevent future health issues and work with your healthcare provider to have the best health possible.

Take a look at the course to see how you can benefit today.



What are the negative side effects of a gluten-free diet?

Some potential negative side effects of a gluten-free diet include nutrient deficiencies, weight gain due to higher calorie intake, and increased risk of heart disease due to lack of whole grains. However, this needn't be the case with proper guidance.

Can a gluten-free diet cause constipation?

Yes, a gluten-free diet can lead to constipation if it results in a lack of dietary fibre. To find out how much fibre you should be getting, make sure you discuss your needs with a specialist dietitian.

What do you mean by a "different" kind of fatigue?

Fatigue doesn't just result from either a poor diet or the need for vitamin injections and iron supplements. Having to be on a gluten-free diet can be very tiring for the patient who experiences awkward situations and lifestyle changes.

Can a gluten-free diet affect your mood?

Some people report mood changes when they start a gluten-free diet, which could be related to changes in nutrient intake.

Can a gluten-free diet lead to weight gain?

Yes, some people may gain weight on a gluten-free diet. In people with coeliac disease it may be a result of the body healing and finally being able to absorb nutrients. Weight gain isn't always a negative thing. However, it may be because gluten-free products can contain more calories than their gluten-containing counterparts. If you've been advised to lose weight by a health professional, the blog post below may help you identify how best to do this.

Does a gluten-free diet affect your skin?

Some people report improvements in skin conditions after going gluten-free. This is especially true of people with dermatitis herpetiformis. However, others may experience skin problems due to nutrient deficiencies. To address these, make sure you get advice from a qualified health professional.

Can a gluten-free diet lead to nutrient deficiencies?

Yes, a gluten-free diet can lead to deficiencies in nutrients such as iron, calcium, fibre, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folate if not properly managed. Find out the nutrients you need to ensure you're getting by doing the course below.

Is a gluten-free diet bad for your heart?

A recent study suggested a gluten-free diet might potentially increase the risk of heart disease if it leads to a lack of whole grains in your diet. But the claims aren't supported by Coeliac UK who state further research is needed.

Can a gluten-free diet cause fatigue?

Yes, some people may experience fatigue if their gluten-free diet is not balanced and lacks essential nutrients. Alternatively, if a patient with coeliac disease doesn't adhere strictly to a gluten-free diet, they may experience fatigue. Thirdly, lifestyle changes from a gluten-free diet may lead to a different kind of fatigue.

Is a gluten-free diet bad for your bones?

A poorly managed gluten-free diet can lead to calcium and vitamin D deficiencies, which can negatively impact bone health.

Is a gluten-free diet bad for your gut health?

A gluten-free diet can affect gut health if it results in a lack of dietary fibre, which is important for gut bacteria.

Exploring the negative side effects of a
gluten-free diet

There are some obvious downsides to cutting out foods you used to enjoy from your diet.

And if you've got coeliac disease (like me) then you don't have a choice.

But the practical and social side of things may not be just what's bothering you. 

What about the nutritional intake your body's getting? Will it meet all your needs? Is there anything you should be doing to check? 

For me, it meant exploring 3 key areas to optimise my health:

  1. Calcium. After having a DEXA scan to check my bone density I discovered my body wasn't doing as well as it should. I was told to up my intake of calcium tablets.

  2. Vitamin D. Twice I've tested as deficient so I was advised to take a calcium tablet with vitamin D (which I was told would help my body absorb the calcium - an added bonus!).

  3. Fibre. I wish this had been sorted out when I first mentioned it to my doctor. Sadly, it wasn't, and after an unnecessary operation, a visit to a gut specialist helped me find out how to up my fibre intake and relieve the problem.

To find out what you need to do to achieve your best health, click the link to online courses below.

N.B. Please remember that individuals' needs differ; you must check with your healthcare provider before making changes to your diet.

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