How Avoiding Gluten Can Prevent Acne and Help You Lose Weight


Avoiding gluten may help you lose weight and clear up your acne for so many reasons. Some people say gluten avoidance is just a trend, but I know from personal experience that leaving gluten out of my diet has helped me and so many of my clients drop weight and get smoother, more clear and even-toned skin. It’s not a trend; gluten is bad news, and not just for those with Celiac disease.

Why Going Gluten-Free Can Help You Lose Weight and Get Clear Skin

Gluten (which is the protein found in wheat, barley and rye) is extremely prevalent in many types of processed foods. You’ll find it in everything from packaged energy bars, cereals and even soy sauce. Even if you don’t think you have a problem with gluten because you feel fine after eating foods that contain it, gluten could be the culprit if you’re having trouble losing weight or getting rid of pimples/zits (ugh!). It has sticky, glue-like properties, which is not great for optimizing digestion! Not everyone with a gluten sensitivity knows they have it, and they keep dieting and trying new skin products to no avail.

Inflammation and Acne

inflamation elbowGluten sensitivity can trigger inflammation. If you’re sensitive (not the same as celiac disease or an allergy), the gluten in your food can irritate the inside and outside of the digestive tract, but it doesn’t actually destroy the intestinal wall the way Celiac disease does. The body thinks the gluten is an intruder (which, in reality it is), so it initiates an immune system response: inflammation. Inflammation doesn’t stay localized and only cause digestive discomfort. Instead, it spreads. And because there’s a link between gut health and your skin, acne appears.

Gluten Is Lurking in Foods You Shouldn’t Really Eat Anyway

condiments soyYou’ll generally lose weight and notice clearer skin when you skip the foods gluten is in simply because you’ll be eating less processed food and more whole fruits and vegetables that nourish your body. However, you will experience a decrease in inflammation and cravings for junk food may also subside. These benefits work in tandem with the superior diet to contribute to better skin and a naturally slimmer figure much more quickly and easily (and your results will be effortless to maintain!).

If you’re committed to avoiding gluten to at least give the gluten-free lifestyle a trial run, you should know that it shows up in some unexpected places, like:

  • Soy sauce (use tamari instead)
  • Some pickles (if malt vinegar was used)
  • Licorice
  • Veggie burgers (not all, but some. Check labels)
  • Processed grains (try to get oat groats or steel cut, and ones labeled as manufactured in a gluten-free facility)
  • Processed meats
  • Ice cream
  • Some soups, dressings, and sauces (including soy sauce)
  • Seitan (look out for this one!! It comes in some brand name forms now. Avoid it!)
  • Snack foods, like chips and crackers
  • Beer, unless specifically marked gluten-free

None of these have a beneficial place in a healthy diet when you’re purchasing the pre-packaged, processed version at the grocery store (like most soups, sauces, and dressings). If you want a burger without the meat, you can make your own alkaline grain burgers from millet and amaranth flour instead of taking a chance with the store-bought ones.

Leave Wheat Alone!

hands in wheatWheat is one of the biggest offenders when you’re looking at getting gluten out of your diet and keeping it away from your intestines (others are rye, spelt, and barley). Not only is the gluten an issue, but by avoiding wheat, you’re potentially helping to avoid a pull to eat more and more junk food that can lead to weight gain or at least difficulty losing extra pounds. Wheat is addictive on its own and contributes to visceral fat because of the insulin spikes it causes (nope, you’re not immune to those just by avoiding white bread!), but it also triggers you to seek out more refined carbs made with wheat flour.

When you avoid gluten, you’re avoiding all products with wheat and stopping the cycle. In turn, you’re avoiding something that may increase inflammation in your body and contribute to the storage of visceral fat. What does that mean? Reduced acne, a smaller waistline, and increased Beauty Energy!

A Word of Caution

caution heartsYou can’t just cut out gluten and replace all those foods you used to eat with gluten-free pre-packaged snacks. That won’t work. The amount of oils and other not-so-great ingredients they contain can also contribute to weight gain and acne over time. Gluten-free pretzels! Too good to be true. Yes they are. I bring up pretzels because they were my number one favorite junk food back in the day. Once in a great while I admit that I’ll eat some gluten-free pretzels, even though I know they are “bad” and not great at all (!), so I just take a handful and throw the rest of the bag away. They are a weakness of mine. But in all other respects, I avoid the junky gluten-free treats. :)

It’s best to go gluten-free without all these distractions and just choose natural snacks from the produce section of the grocery store. Or try some better options, like Mary’s Gone Crackers which are made with higher quality ingredients.

Reset Your System After You Drop Gluten for Good

When you’re removing gluten from your diet, it’s important to take some extra steps in order to restore the gut’s health and accelerate the healing process. Give the amount of beneficial flora in your gut a boost by taking your probiotics daily (have you tried my formula yet?).  Remember, the balance of the bacteria in your gut affects your skin, which is also an eliminative organ. Probiotics also assists with digestion, leading to less congestion and fat storage in the body. Try an enema or do a Glow Bio cleanse for further cleansing.

white bowl of blueberriesEat more foods that decrease inflammation, like ginger, turmeric, leafy greens, broccoli, blueberries, flaxseed, avocados, and mushrooms. Stay away from the ones that cause inflammation, too, of course. If you’re following the rest of the Beauty Detox plan in addition to eliminating gluten, you may notice your skin glowing in as little as just a few days. Remember, it may take a while to see dramatic results. The inflammation won’t go down overnight. Give the gluten-free life a try for at least a couple of weeks before forming an opinion. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much better you look and feel!



Last updated: Friday, June 19, 2015
  • Alex

    I´m totally agree with oging gluten free. I barely eat gluten but now i notice that if I eat one day a bigger amount of it, I ger stomach ache. Amazing how the Body gets use to good health Habits too!

  • Danica

    I’ve struggled with acne for YEARS, and I just get so frustrated. I eat very little to no dairy, mostly unprocessed whole foods (veggies, fruits, nuts & seeds, whole grains, etc.). There’s a definite correlation between my complexion and my hormones – it’s worse certain times of the month. Do you think there could be a relationship between my hormone imbalances (what I now consider the cause of my acne) and gluten?

    • krissy

      Hi Danica,

      I also struggle with acne and have experimented with many different “diets.” I still don’t have a “cure,” but I see a big improvement if I cut out grains (yes even “whole grains” and non gluten grains) and sugar (so even keep fruit to a minimum). I think it may have something to do with sugars/carbs raising blood sugar, and therefore triggering release of insulin which then effects hormones – but I am no expert! Although I like Kimberley’s diet I found when I increased grains/fruit my acne got worse and I also got these infections on my mouth – horrible! I cut back on the grains and sugar and the infections went away. I eat mainly vegetables/salad with moderate amount of meats and nuts – no dairy, caffeine or processed food, only occasional grains (oats) and fruit. I also take probiotics and fish oil (for omega 3).

  • Joanna.

    I bought your two books. In March I cut out gluten and dairy and my skin has slowly cleared over time. I drink almond milk and yea I do snack on those CrunchMaster gf crackers for lunch with hummus a lot. But all ive noticed is my stomach is never flat anymore..always bloated and Im gaining weight. On occassion I will eat gf pasta but its maybe only once a month when my parents have pasta. I dont eat gf bread.

    ALSO, my BIGGEST problem is that my TEETH have recently been somewhat DECAYING.Like the edges are getting rough and mishaped like they are slowly chipping away. My bottom 2 teeth in the front also now have notches cut into them. HELP! Im considering adding back in gluten and dairy….

    Someone suggested I take vitamin D3 for calcium absorbtion. Another suggested calcim+magnesium (doesnt that cause stomach upset?) and others have suggested MSM….

    All I take now are 2 probiotics a day and I also just bought digestive enzymes so Ive only taken 2 in the last day or so.

    • Joanna.

      I should also mention that like Dec or Jan I got retainers I actually wear for the first time every other night to keep my teeth straight post-braces so maybe I am bitting down at night/clenching teeth. While this happened in college I had major jaw pain but I have NO jaw pain now whatsoever so Im thinking I must have a nutritional deficiency. Im taking some multivitamin I got at walmart. a cheap one!

  • Alicia Berry

    Am trying a gluten diet now for about a month. Due to acid reflects and bad hiccups. I do have have eczema on my elbows and parts of my back. Am will to try this diet to have my stomach feel better. I have gone to a doctor. I am starting to feel much better. The hardest time is breakfast time. Learning a lot by reading food labels. Enjoy reading your blogs. Thanks

  • Alice

    Dear Kimberley,

    I am a dietitian and Master’s of Public Health based out of NYC. I am also a Yoga teacher and a Vegan- while I agree with recommending a vegan style, I must point out that there isn’t sufficient peer reviewed or Ayurvedic scientific research in the literature to back-up many of the claims you make against gluten in this article. Regardless of that, what I find most troubling is that in this article you encourage individuals to throw-away a whole bag of uneaten pretzels. I have worked as community nutritionist in Africa , the Bronx and Harlem serving individuals who are food insecure. The United Nations estimates that there are 842 million people or around one in eight people globally, suffering from chronic hunger. As a nutritionist & yogi, you should educate and empower your clients about the importance of reducing food wastage. Throwing away food not only harms our environment and increases pollution, but it also shows a lack if solidarity for those who are food insecure.

    • Food Girl.

      I have to agree with this comment. I’m a Holistic Practioner and Functional Nutritionist. Gluten will not make you lose weight unless you are struggling with good sensitivities to it and it has caused you an imbalance in your digestive system. The better choice would be to get a food sensitivity test. I agree that wheat is a toxic crop so choosing the organic 100% sprouted wheat if you don’t have a food sensitivity is better. No one way of eating is right for everyone, I encourage others to listen to your body and pay attention to how it reacts. Also.. Wheat is addictive but not due to insulin spike per say.. Because that would equate to all carb, grain sources that result in a serotonin boost. Wheat has a naturally occuring opiate type effect that actually can make some people suffering from pain/ depression/ etc. feel better. I think the best way to go about nutrition is to treat individuals on biochemistry and not convey fad claims. Let’s face it.. Everyone is unique! Kale is a super food.. But it your genetics have a sulphur snip or you have a food sensitivity then this food becomes a problem.

  • Jackie

    Dear Ms. Kim,
    I got a blood test for my allergies done a year ago, and though I am severely allergic to dairy and eggs, gluten is NO problem for my body. Would I still benefit from going gluten free? (Like how cutting down on processed food or sugar is universally good for everyone)?
    Thank you!

  • yiselle

    love your blog

  • Brenda

    Hi Kimberly,
    Would you please please do a post about how you feel about the 80/10/10 diet??
    Thank you!

  • nutrition specialist delhi

    Regular exercise and gyming can give a natural glow to your skin .Also having high nutrition in your food can help you to have clear skin.

  • Natalia

    Hi Kim,

    I love the Glowing Lean System, your blog and, everything else you share with us. I’ve been struggling with acne for over a decade (taking all kinds of medications, ugh!) and I’m now all about eliminating dairy and gluten. Now, no more meds, and I think my skin is beginning to clear out thanks to you! My question is, I’ve always been naturally thin, so I’m concerned that I may lose weight with my new way of eating. Do you have any any tips, like eating more healthy fats?

    Thank you!

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