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.