Does Eating Gluten Free Give Athletes a Winning Edge?

by Melissa Diane Smith

If you think eating gluten free is only therapeutic for people who have health problems and experience uncomfortable symptoms, get ready for a surprise: It just might be a little-used nutritional strategy for giving athletes a winning edge. The cover story in the March issue of Men’s Journal, “Winning Without Wheat,” described how members of a pro cycling team switched to a diet free of gluten (found in wheat, rye and barley) and were pleasantly surprised with the results. They experienced better digestion, improved sleep, speedier recovery, and substantially improved athletic performance.

According to the article, the two people who suggested a gluten-free diet “were banking on the idea that gluten, a composite of proteins in wheat, is responsible for bloating, stiffness, and gastrointestinal distress – huge performance-hindering problems – and the theory that their riders would recover better from grueling stages by avoiding wheat.” One of the two people who recommended the diet is an exercise physiologist who is now with Lance Armstrong’s RadioShack team.


Gregory, Vanessa. “Winning Without Wheat.” Men’s Journal, March 2010, posted online on Feb. 18, 2010 – view article.

Melissa’s Comments:

I missed this article when it first came out, but I wanted to point it out to you now. Little by little, gluten-free eating is spreading to various types of people who never thought this diet would be therapeutic for them. Like many including myself, the members of this pro cycling team found that eating gluten free helps them feel better so they can accomplish more of what they want in life.

Copyright © 2010 Melissa Diane Smith

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