Gluten Free Running

Gluten Free Running?

All it takes is a trip to a grocery store to notice the increasing shelf space devoted to gluten free foods. Many restaurants, both chain and local, also offer gluten-free options on their menus. Additionally, numerous books and websites profess the benefits of a gluten free diet. All of this may leave you, as a runner, wondering whether a gluten-free diet might boost your performance and health.

According to Lara Field, R.D., marathoner and dietician who works with celiac patients at the University of Chicago’s Comer Children’s Hospital, there is no evidence whatsoever that gluten-free eating offers performance benefits. Cutting out gluten for the average person does not ease inflammation or speed exercise recovery, as some have theorized. In fact, a poorly planned switch to gluten-free eating can result in an inadequate intake of vitamins, complex carbohydrates and minerals. “Some people associate ‘gluten-free’ with ‘healthier,’ but a runner who isn’t careful could end up eating a lot of refined carbs and added fats, leading to weight gain.”

Going gluten-free is without a doubt the best option for runners diagnosed with celiac disease (CD) and gluten intolerance (GI). After all, these disorders cause a variety of symptoms like stomach cramping, constipation, bloating and nutrient malabsporption. Cutting out gluten prevents these symptoms.