When it comes to performance and more specifically increasing athletic performance you normally won’t hear much about utilizing a gluten free diet. Usually you’ll hear trainers tell athletes to grab some weight-lifting wrist wraps and hit the weights with a vengeance to increase physical performance. While a proper weight training program and weight lifting accessories (If you don’t know what wrist wraps are you can see some at Essential Fitness) will definitely help with performance but many athletes could possibly perform at a higher level by going to a gluten-free diet.
I must say these are all assumptions and I am not a nutritionist, but I’m someone who looks at all this stuff really closely. So the possible reasons that athletes could perform better on a gluten-free diet are as follows.
Undiagnosed Gastric Issues
Celiac disease statistics and the number of undiagnosed issues stagger me every time. There is close to one percent of the United States and Canadian population that are estimated to have celiac disease. The real kicker though is this, of all those issues 95% of them go undiagnosed.
It’s very feasible that some of these athletes probably were or currently are dealing with celiac disease and they don’t even know it. If you were to put these individuals on a gluten free diet and you will see some great things happen.
Athletes That Are Gluten Intolerant
This part can always be a bit of a controversial issue as “gluten level of sensitivity” is a huge fall back term that covers a number of things. Gastric disease drops under this umbrella and there is still some thought out there that gluten sensitivity isn’t a legitimate medical issue. Nonetheless, if an athlete has some gluten sensitivity issues, then their performance could easily be hampered because undiagnosed gastric issues cause much damage to the intestines and affect the digestion of food. This could hamper energy production and performance in a sport or activity.
Eliminating gluten could have favorable results for all
I will say that there is plenty of research that needs to be organized, so before the gluten growers organization comes and sues me. It is possible that wheat gliadin could create digestive tract leaks in the body and cause an immune system reaction in the stomach. Also, these leaks in the body may also lead to damages to various other areas, the more troubling of the areas being the nervous system. Of course as research has pointed out, this could encompass every person, not merely people with potential celiac condition or intolerance to gluten. It shows also showcases that a significant range of endurance to these wheat proteins, ranging from no obvious impacts on gastric condition to relevant autoimmune disorders.
Boosted nutrient absorption throughout!
If these professional athletes had some sort of gluten digestion issue, then by taking gluten out of their diet they were able to soak up even more nourishment. More nutrition = better sensation = better performance. There is also evidence that shows gluten digestion issues can cause non optimal thinking. More brain power = enhanced performance.
Have you had your fill of scientific research? Still with me?
Here’s the less technological reasons these particular athletes could have seen performance improvements.
Removing gluten suggested getting rid of a multitude of refined foods
Let’s be honest. Other than getting used to finding what foods tend to contain gluten, following a gluten-free diet isn’t much more difficult that your typical diet you would follow. While I am thankful to food producers for offering many gluten free foods that taste great, there is still stuff that’s gluten free but still not very good for you. Gluten-free junk food is still junk food, just with a fancy name. Naturally, gluten-free types of foods are simple, can be cost-effective, and are very nourishing. Try and stay to the boundary of the supermarket and keep your nutrition largely vegetables, fruits, lean meats, eggs, nuts, etc. There are naturally more vitamins and minerals in foods like this which will help athletes perform at a higher level.
Going gluten free means you’ll learn more about quality foods
Many times athletes simply take the viewpoint that any and all food is energy. And that’s not all the way wrong in theory but humans function and perform better with quality foods. If we look at our bodies as a sports car, we don’t want to put bad fuel in the gas tank. In the same sense we don’t want to put junk food into our bodies. This is precisely why I think having celiac issues is actually a blessing and not the curse that most people view it as. When you have to be so careful about what you put in your body then you have a better understanding about the effect that food can have on your body, good and bad. .
In my opinion there is a great benefit for all athletes to follow a gluten free or gluten sensitive diet as it can help you perform at an even higher level. You also never know, you could be one of those that has celiac issues but don’t even know it until you go gluten free and notice how great you feel.