Keeping a strict gluten-free diet is a lifelong necessity for people with celiac disease. Following the diet and avoiding cross-contamination results in fewer symptoms and complications of the disease.

For some people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity, the condition may not be lifelong. Some research suggests that you may follow the diet for a certain period, such as one or two years, and then retest your sensitivity to gluten. For other people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity, the diet may be a lifelong treatment.

Few clinical studies have looked at the benefits of the diet among the general population — people without celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. There is not enough clinical evidence to determine the accuracy of the following claims about the diet's results:

  • Weight loss
  • Overall improved health
  • Improved gastrointestinal health
  • Improved athletic performance


The foods not included in a gluten-free diet provide important vitamins and other nutrients. For example, whole-grain breads and other products are natural or enriched sources of the following:

  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Fiber
  • Thiamin
  • Riboflavin
  • Niacin
  • Folate

Therefore, following a gluten-free diet will likely change your nutrient intake. Some gluten-free breads and cereals have significantly varied nutrient levels than the products they are replacing. Some gluten-free foods also have higher fat and sugar contents than the gluten-containing food being replaced. It's important to read labels, not only for gluten content but also for overall nutrient levels, salt, calories from fats and calories from sugars.

You can talk to your doctor or dietitian about foods that would provide healthy, nutrient-rich alternatives.


The costs of prepared gluten-free foods are generally higher than the cost of the foods being replaced. The expense of following a gluten-free diet can be substantial, especially if your diet includes foods that aren't naturally gluten-free.

Nov. 23, 2017 See more In-depth