Monday, April 18, 2011

Athletes Avoiding Gluten

Gluten free is a dietary lifestyle with a growing number of products designed for people suffering from celiac diseases who risk damage to their gut if gluten is ingested. Certified gluten free packaged goods provide a seal of assurance that the grains and process specifications for these products are safe for celiac sufferers. Although the purchaser can feel confident that they are not risking their health in many cases they are paying 2x's the amount for daily staples such as bread and cereal.

Now researchers at the University of Maryland's Center for Celiac Research estimate that one out of every 20 people has gluten intolerance. Classified as a separate condition from celiac disease, people commonly referred to as gluten intolerant or gluten sensitive present symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain, fatigue, anemia, weight loss and other symptoms similar to celiac disease. Products that may trigger the response in a celiac patient may not in a person with gluten intolerance.

The athlete avoiding gluten because of celiac disease or gluten intolerance is looking for easy, convenient, and nutritious foods that can give them complex carbohydrate fuel. As practitioners we can advise these athletes to make simple culinary swaps such as potatoes for pasta, rice for couscous and cornstarch for flour. However, when they are shopping in their local market they may need some extra help and one that I have found to be very useful is the Gluten Free Grocery Shopping Guide 2011-2012 Edition by Dr. Mara Matison & Mr. Dainis Matison. One thing that needs reinforcement is that the athlete should not avoid ALL carbohydrates, especially while training, but become better educated on how to find palatable choices that deliver their fiber, B vitamin, folate and iron requirements.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The President's Council on Fitness, Sports, and NUTRITION

I'd forgotten about the 50 yard dash, but I can remember the excitement at my grade school about the President's Council on Physical Fitness, championed by then President John F. Kennedy. To now have nutrition as part of the name is exciting and to have three SCAN members represented on the President's Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition (PCFSN) science board is wonderful.

I'm not old enough to remember President Eisenhower's creation of the President's Council on Youth Fitness, but it was started to encourage American children to be as physically fit as their European counterparts. I do remember the first name change and the emphasis that was put on fitness by President Kennedy. He was a young president and seemed full of energy. And I'm pleased that in June 2010, President Obama's executive order added nutrition to the name. The order reads, in part, " recognize that good nutrition goes hand in hand with fitness and sports participation..."

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and former Olympian Dominique Dawes are the new co-chairs. What's exciting for SCAN is the addition of three of our members to the PCFSN Science Board:
  • Linda Houtkooper, PhD, RD
  • Melinda Manore, PhD, RD, CSSD
  • Stella Volpe, PhD, RD, LDN
You can read their bios and the bios of the other Science Board members here. Congratulations to Linda, Melinda, and Stella for their many accomplishments, including this new appointment.

Marie Dunford, PhD, RD
SCAN's volunteer web editor