What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein naturally found in grains like wheat, rye, as well as barley. Gluten contributes to the texture and shape of foods made from these grains.
What is Celiac Disease?
Celiac Disease is an autoimmune condition that leads to reactions when eating the protein gluten. Symptoms include, but are not limited to gastrointestinal distress (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea), abdominal pain, a rash, and malnutrition.
Should I Avoid Gluten?
Those with diagnosed Celiac Disease, gluten ataxia, non-celiac disease gluten sensitivity (gluten intolerance), or wheat allergies should avoid gluten! Otherwise gluten is safe to eat and there is no need to avoid it!
Research supports that there are no improvements in performance resulting from abstaining from gluten in non-celiac athletes. Further, research in the Gastroenterology and Hepatology Journal supports that gluten-free foods do not offer a “nutritional advantage” over gluten-containing foods.
Gluten-Free Athlete Tips:
- Check food labels. Gluten “friendly” and gluten-free are not the same thing. The safest bet is always certified gluten-free!
- Consider food prep and processing. Foods that may naturally be gluten-free may become contaminated with gluten through prep.
- Communicate! Let others know about your allergy, especially at restaurants.
- Don’t cut out grains! Just swap for new ones.
- Be consistent with gluten-free fueling! It may be tempting to reintroduce gluten into your diet, but if you’re diagnosed with Celiac Disease, the treatment is lifelong a gluten-free diet.
Brands We Love:
There are plenty of gluten options for fueling! Some personal favorites are – Kind, Purely Elisabeth, Canyon Bakehouse, Kodiak Cake GF Pancake mix
Grains that are Naturally Gluten Free: corn, rice, quinoa, tapioca, buckwheat, flax, millet, amaranth, sorghum
*sourdough has low gluten content due to fermentation but is not 100% gluten-free
Want to know more? Check out this post on Gluten Free Fueling Options on our NWW Coaching Instagram. Book a FREE call with a registered dietitian to ensure you are eating enough calories to support your training and recovery!
- Devrim-Lanpir, A., Hill, L., & Knechtle, B. (2021). Efficacy of Popular Diets Applied by Endurance Athletes on Sports Performance: Beneficial or Detrimental? A Narrative Review. Nutrients, 13(2), 491. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13020491
- Niland, B., & Cash, B. D. (2018). Health Benefits and Adverse Effects of a Gluten-Free Diet in Non-Celiac Disease Patients. Gastroenterology & hepatology, 14(2), 82–91.
- What is Celiac Disease? | Celiac Disease Foundation
- What Is Gluten and What Does It Do? | Johns Hopkins Medicine