Impact of Gluten-free Diet on Anthropometric Indicators in Individuals With and Without Celiac Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Clin Ther. 2023 Dec;45(12):e243-e251. doi: 10.1016/j.clinthera.2023.09.018. Epub 2023 Oct 30.


Purpose: Previous studies have found that a gluten-free diet (GFD) may have improve obesity-related factors. For this reason, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to investigate the effect of a GFD on anthropometric indicators.

Methods: We performed a systematic search in databases from inception until July 12, 2022. We included all relevant articles that evaluate efficacy of a GFD on anthropometric indicators in patients with and without celiac disease (CD). Random-effects models were applied to combine the data. The main outcomes were then analyzed using weight mean differences (WMDs) and 95% CIs.

Findings: A total of 27 articles met the eligible criteria and were included. Pooled results from the random-effects model indicated that the GFD has no significant effect on any of the factors of anthropometry, including weight (WMD, 1.20 kg; 95% CI, -1.16 to 3.55 kg; P = 0.319), body mass index (WMD, 0.70 kg/m2; 95% CI, -0.45 to 1.84 kg/m2; P = 0.233), waist circumference (WMD, 0.92 cm; 95% CI, -1.34 to 3.17 cm; P = 0.497), and body fat (WMD, 1.02%; 95% CI, -0.38% to 2.42%; P = 0.153). The subgroup results indicated that after implementation of a GFD significant increased weight and body fat occurred in patients with compared with without CD. In addition, the effect of this diet on the increase of BMI and body fat in the intervention of more than 48 weeks was significantly higher.

Implications: The results of the present study indicate that a GFD can have a significant and beneficial effect on weight and body fat in patients with CD.

Keywords: BMI; Body fat; Celiac; Gluten-free diet; Meta-analysis; Weight.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Celiac Disease*
  • Diet, Gluten-Free / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Weight Gain