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Real Life Nutrition Questions Answered

Real Life Fitness Questions Answered

Emma Brown

Janet Aylott

Kelly Marshall
Fitness Consultant


Can gluten cause fluid retention?

I've been told that gluten can cause fluid retention - is this true? Also, drinking water helps reduce fluid retention that may have been caused by toxin build up (from additives etc in food) or prior water starvation (where you've been drinking a lot of soft drinks, coffee etc and not pure water). Again, is this true? Thanks for your help! Shrappers


Our expert says...

Hello, Shrappers, and thanks for your fluid retention queries!

Firstly, yes, people with coeliac disease, or gluten intolerance, may experience quite bad puffiness and water retention as one of their symptoms. If there is a chance that you might have coeliac disease it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis, which can only happen if you are still eating wheat at the time of the diagnosis.

Some people may also experience more vague, less serious intolerances to foods, including wheat, that could cause bloating, but these are so much harder to pinpoint. The use of a food and symptom diary will help though, and you could use the “My diary notes” section in your Food Diary to help you.

As for your other queries – “toxins” is a vague term and more accurately it’s only high levels of salt in your diet that have really been documented to make you hang on to water (up to an extra two to three pounds, in fact). That's a substantial amount you can lose by swapping from a high to a lower salt diet!

As far as soft drinks, coffee and tea not counting as proper “fluid”, this is now known to be a myth and though you have you watch their calorie content, all these drinks can actually hydrate perfectly well.

I hope this helps!

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