Any advice please on putting on weight - Gluten Free Guerr...

Gluten Free Guerrillas
9,223 members3,782 posts

Any advice please on putting on weight

Hi this is my first post so please forgive me if I ramble. My husband has been under the care of the gastro consultant for over 12 months now. He has lost 4 stone, weight which he can ill afford to lose. He has had numerous tests and investigations, he has gallstones but the surgery to remove the gall bladder was cancelled 20 minutes before he went to theatre. A liver biopsy was to be carried out at the same time but was delayed - I have been chasing since end of December for a date. At a recent GP appointment I asked if my husband could be tested for coeliac disease and the GP didn't think this unreasonable. We are waiting on the result of this also. I keep reading posts which state that some people will eat a gluten free diet to lose weight, My husband is trying this diet but obviously the last thing he needs is to lose more weight than he is doing anyway. Can anyone advise me on any specific foods or vitamins which would help him to maintain weight. He is 6' 2" and about 12 months ago he weighed 12 stone - he now weighs 8 stone and it really is quite scary. Any advice would be most appreciated.

Reply to this

15 Replies

Hi there, firstly I am very sorry that you're so worried about your husband and I'm very sorry to hear about his health woes.

Firstly your husbands nutritional needs are very specific so I would urge you to go back to his GP and insist in being referred to a dietician.

Now if you are worrying that if he is a coeliac and is diagnosed as one, that he will lose more weight, what you have to bear in mind is that an undiagnosed coeliac suffers from malabsorption because their villi is collapsed and the reality is that the vast majority of coeliac put on weight after diagnosis as they no longer suffer from malabsorption and very often the runs.

There are foods like quinoa which are classed as complete foods as all the food that we eat is broken down into 23 base amino acids and our body only makes 15 of these from the food we eat so the remaining 8 have to come from food and quinoa contains all 23. I would also think that mashed potato would be good for carbohydrates as it is easily digested. But if I am honest I am way out of my depth here as your husbands needs are very specific and I feel that you need very specialised and specific advice here with the person advising being qualified and having more info on your husbands medical issues and needs.

If you want morale support then you will get that on here by the bucket full because I am sure that all members of GFG who read this will be moved by it.

So good luck to you both and please feel free to let us know how you get on and if you want to have a moan or a rant about his situation then you do just that.



Thank you so very much for your advice and the kind comments.

Please though forgive my ignorance with the following. If certain people eat a gluten free diet to lose weight how then does a diagnosed coeliac eating a gluten free diet put on weight ?

My husband eats rice, meat and vegetables daily but just cannot maintain any weight. He eats 4 meals (albeit small ones) each day but will be sick and have the runs 2 - 3 times each day. He also sleeps at any opportunity and over the past year has had more joint problems. He has had a chronic back complaint for over 15 years.

Apologies again for my ignorance but any assistance would be appreciated.


I think people eat a gluten free diet to loose weight because it removes a lot of the is quite hard to find gf snack foods/street food. If you eat the calories you will put on the weight if your gut is working. Your husband has many of the symptoms of a gluten intolerance/coeliac disease and if it is the gluten causing the problem a gf diet would help him put on weight. If it is something else making him ill it is unlikely it would make any diference either way.


Hi Patientwife. Many Coeliacs put on weight after being diagnosed and going on a 'gluten free diet'. There are a number of reasons. If they choose to look to replace gluten foods with the gluten free equivalent then the new procesed foods contain much higher levels in fats, salts and sugars in order to make them palatable.

Also previously, before diagnosis the villii will have been flattened so the person could well eat like a horse but not really put on any weight. With the villi healing on a gluten free diet and foods now being absorbed, if they continue eating the type of quantities they ate before then they will put on substantial amounts of weight. If however they take the opportunity to move away from the processed foods and eat fresh fruit , veg and prepare foods themselves they will find that they lose weight; not as a result of the gluten free diet but because they have adopted a new style of healthy eating.

As to the celebrities - who knows. It may be that they take the opportunity to munch on 4 or 5 rice cakes a day, followed by an egg white omlette ;-)

Please go back with your husband and see your GP. It is worrying that he is being sick and experiencing so much diarrhoea. Both these two actions will prevent him gaining the most benefit from any foods that he eats. You both need to get to the bottom of what is causing him to lose so much weight so quickly. Book a double appt with the GP if necessary.

He really needs to see a professional dietician who can analyse his diet and request any relevant food allergy tests. There are simple tests that can be carried out to identify lactose and fructose intolerance, both of which can cause various gastric symptoms.

Please don't try and handle this on your own. You are entitled to medical support with this so please make sure you get it. It's hard going but you have to steel yourself and push ahead to make the right people take notice. It may be useful for you to contact PALS at the hospital concerned. Your GP can also write to the hospital on your behalf.

It may well be that he doesn't have coeliac disease and this weight loss is nothing to do with his diet. The sooner you get to the bottom of this the better for you both.

Good luck - please keep us posted.


Well said Irene and good advice. Before diagnosis I weighed 64 kg and now after 7 years of being gluten free weigh 64 kg but feel a hell of a lot better though.


Pre diagnosis I went from 76kilo to 68 kilo after diagnosis and cutting out all known gluten I got up to 92.5 kilo it did help giving up smoking and eating plenty of DS Victoria sponge cake 3 a month. My 92.5 kilo weight has been stable for over two years now.

We are all different, behave differently but the first thing to do is find the cause of the weight loss there maybe many reasons for it. good luck hope you et answers soon.


hi sorry to hear about your husband i lost 2stone before i was diagnosed 18months ago had runs ect after i wenr gluten free have put it back on now over weight now though so do hope you get it sorted for him and good luck x


My husband was diagnosed 9 years ago, he went down to 5 stone. He has never got back to the weight he was before diagnosis. He seems unable to build muscle or put weight on no matter what he eats. We have put it down to absorbtion. He went to the Doctors last week to be tested for his level of B12. Lack of Vit B12, Vit D and lack of calcium are quite common with this condition so you take supplements. Calcium is taken once a day a meal times, you can get a slow release Vit B12 to be taken in the morning, lack of this Vitamin can make you very lethergic. It may be an idea to ask for an alround blood test to measure the levels. Our Doctor never suggested it but was very willing when we pointed it out and requested a test. Hope this helps and i sympathize with your frustration


Am so sorry to hear about your difficulties and your husband's poor health.

I have only recently been diagnosed with coeliac disease myself and have therefore been doing a huge amount of research into it.

From what I can gather, coeliacs who start to follow a gluten-free diet tend to find their weight returns to whatever is a healthy level for them. So, if someone is severely underweight (as is often the case when the person has been suffering from diarrhoea), they will gain weight on a gluten-free regime, whereas somebody who is overweight at the time of diagnosis will frequently lose any excess weight.

As others have already mentioned, the villi of the small intestine are damaged in coeliac disease, which means that foods cannot be readily absorbed. Once gluten is removed from the diet, these begin to recover, enabling the body to receive the nutrients that it needs and which were formerly lacking.

I do hope you and your husband find the help that you so desperately need and that things improve for you very soon.


Thank you all so much for the advice and information which is greatly appreciated.

I didn't post the reason for the gallbladder surgery being cancelled 20 minutes before theatre. The surgeon who was to carry out the operation decided that this was not the way forward for my husband yet the surgeon he saw 6 weeks prior did. If it had been the same surgeon there is a possibility that the gallbladder could have been removed unnecessarily. We had been saying for some time that he did not fit the stereotype gallbladder sufferer but as he takes so much pain relief for his back condition perhaps the medication masked the pain.

He has had constant blood tests over the past 12 months and the latest were requested by the GP who asked for a complete full blood test including at our request coeliac.

When my husband was diagnosed with the gallstones he was advised to take a fat free or low fat diet which did not seem to make any difference to his condition. When the surgery was cancelled and he went back to eating what we would call a regular diet, including a lot of rice, the difference was noticed.

Each blood test comes back with a problem with his liver and his autoimmune system. I may well be going down the wrong path but have reached the point where we will explore any avenue ourselves together with of course the GP and Consultant.

When shopping I now check all labels, have bought the gluten free breads, pasta, crackers etc. and although he is not on a totally gluten free diet, fingers crossed, over the past 2 weeks there is a very very slight improvement. It may well be wishful thinking but until he has the results of the liver biopsy we have to try anything.

What does confuse me though is that no-one in the medical profession who my husband has seen has suggested coeliac disease yet when we mentioned it to the GP at the beginning of January he didn't dismiss it.

The other strange thing he has mentioned is that he actually craves food. Could anyone comment on this point please ?


Hi Patientwife, you mention that your husband suffers from chronic back pain and that he takes a lot of pain relief for this. Can I ask what meds he uses, as I too suffered from severe back and nerve pain for a number of years and know for a fact that some meds greatly affect your stomach. I had major surgery last year on my back with rods and cages inserted, which has been really successful for me. I have had food allergies for a number of years also and follow a gf diet which really made a difference when I first started to follow this diet, but have recently been diagnosed with lactose intolerance, so am having to start again. My blood tests came back neg for CD, I was so ill and had lost 2.5 stone ( only 8.5 stone in the first place), that the doctors did lots of tests and came up with Div. D. and IBS which I think they diagnose when they cant find anything else.

You mention that your husband craves food, after eating is he in pain or what sort of reaction, if any, does he get?

I know it is hard, but you do really have to push these days for action when nothing can be identified. I wish you lots of luck and hope this website helps. I discovered it a couple of months ago and it is such a help to know that it is not just me out there with these problems

and that I am not imagining it, as you are sometimes made to feel.


This was one of my questions when i was ill and didn't know.

I've not been diagnosed, I'm self diagnosed. I now eat plain simple food, but am getting more adventurous.

I've put on 2 stone, and my friends thinks I've had a boob job!! as I didn't know what was wrong till I reached 48yrs old, so all though teens, 20s 30s people thought I dieted which I didn't and would get upset.

It took about 3-4 months for people to see a weight increase,

I start my day with a poached egg or Doves Farm Buckwheat which fills me till lunch.

Thens it salads, curries, corn pasta(gluten free, it just gets easy.

My son eats the same as me - and no probs.

Good luck x


Again thank you all so much for the advice. Reading your experiences does make us feel that there is light at the end of the tunnel but that it will take time.

Dear Allergies just wanted to say thank you and am so please that your back surgery was a success.

My husband takes amitriptyline, dihydrocodeine and has recently been prescribed morphine patches for severe muscle spasm. He also takes esomeprazole for his stomach. He did take Tramadol but this was replaced with the patches. For many years he was prescribed an anti-inflamatory but the consultant stopped that tablet. over 12 months ago. He is no longer allowed to take any anti-inflamatory.

With regard to the cravings, he eats what he craves which is usually a curry but does not seem to have any reaction to it. The curries I make are so far as I am aware gluten free and I purchased gluten free naan bread and he always has plain boiled rice. As we have become aware of the contents of certain foods we are noticing the foods which make him very ill i.e. gravy and certain soups. We have now changed these over to gluten free and are monitoring it. I am also now keeping a diary of all foods he eats and marking down the effects.

Thank you all again for your support and most helpful advice.


Hello Patientwife, Speaking from personal experience I found that a lot of the meds I was given for severe back pain affected my stomach. Most coedeine type meds usually make people constipated as does amitriptyline, which also usually makes you gain weight. I had oral morphine which I tolerated ok, but the anti-inflamatory

meds gave me diarrhoe, which in turn made me lose weight. Do you use onion in your cooking, as again, I found this really affected me. Keeping a food diary is the only way to go. I lived on rice for 6 weeks and gradually reintroduced food. To think that 12 years ago I could eat and drink anything.

In regard to your husband's back, does he have a diagnosis of the problem? I found a wonderful surgeon on line who works at the Neurological Hospital In London, who has been fantastic and carried out my operation. Again I did all the research to find out who was the best and who worked for the NHS. If you want to email me direct I can give you more information in this regard.


I truly feel for you and your husband. I've lost over a stone and I hate it, I was petite and slim anyway so I don't look good on it! I know how much my husband worries about me. I can't give any 'good' advice on this one as I'm struggling too. I think I'm the only person I know that didn't put on a pound despite pigging out over Christmas. Good luck :)


You may also like...