Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Gluten Sensitivity and Athletes

Some athletes struggle with intestinal problems that interfere with training and performance. Sensitivity or intolerance to a specific protein (gluten) in wheat, rye, barley, triticale, spelt can reduce the absorption of nutrients and lead to poor nutritional status and chronic low energy levels. Symptoms include indigestion, gas, bloating, abdominal discomfort or pain, diarrhea and chronic fatigue. This inability to cope with gluten in the diet, in its extreme form, is called celiac disease (1).

Performance foods for a gluten-free boost to your performance include:
§       Gluten-free starchy foods: Legumes (chick peas, lentils, kidney beans), potatoes/ sweet potatoes, quinoa, rice/wild rice, corn, buckwheat flour, millet, amaranth, tapioca; some people are also sensitive to oats however this may be due to them being processed in a wheat environment so look for oats that have been processed in a GF environment;
§       Protein rich foods: Greek style yogurt, milk/soy milk, legumes, meat, poultry, fish, tofu and other gluten free soy products, nuts and seeds/nut butters;
§       Omega 3 fats found in fatty fish, canola, soy and flaxseed oils, walnuts;
§       Vegetables, fruits and fruit juices;
§       Snacks such as rice cakes, rice crackers, gluten-free pretzels, corn chips
§       Gluten-free sports foods (gluten-free sport bars and gels)


(drink water throughout the day)
Café au lait
Buckwheat pancakes with berries, maple syrup and butter
Rice cake(s) and hard cheese
Vegetable or dilute fruit juice
Corn flour tortilla stuffed with tuna salad and mixed veggies
Glass of Milk/Soy milk
ü     SNACK
Small apple and almonds, herbal tea
ü     SUPPER
Beef, kidney bean and broccoli stir fry with steamed rice
Peaches with oatmeal crumble topping
Decaffeinated latte
Sport drink, water
Fruit smoothie using Greek style yogurt

1.         Inman-Felton AE. Overview of Gluten-Sensitive Enteropathy (Celiac Sprue). Journal of the American Dietetic Association 1999;99(3):352.

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