Q: I was diagnosed with celiac disease and have been following a strict gluten-free diet but have been unable to gain weight. Do you have any recommendations?
A: As you know, celiac disease results in damage to the lining of the small intestine. This damage can prevent food you eat from being properly absorbed into your body, resulting in weight loss. Assuming that nothing else is going on medically and you are not eating any unintentional gluten, any malabsorption should resolve as your intestine heals. In the meantime, it is important to consume enough calories to at least prevent further weight loss and ideally help you gain weight if this is desirable.
Some tips to help you do this include:
- Increasing the portion size of the foods you eat.
- Adding nutrient dense, calorically dense foods to your diet, such as avocados, nuts, bananas, and dates.
- Incorporating mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks into your daily food repertoire.
- Using gluten-free meal replacements, such as Ensure brand products for an extra jolt of calories.