Going Gluten-Free Fails to Boost Athletic Performance
Many athletes are going gluten-free in hopes of boosting their performance, even without a diagnosis of celiac disease that requires eliminating gluten. A small but well-designed Australian study finds they're likely to be disappointed: Researchers used specially formulated sports bars and controlled diets to test gluten’s effects on the performance of 13 competitive cyclists. The participants didn't know which week they were going gluten-free and which they were getting gluten-packed energy bars. The results, published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, showed no significant difference in strenuous time trials after each weeklong session.
"An athlete's nutrient intake and timing are so critical to performance," commented researcher Dana Lis of the University of Tasmania. "I hope that people learn to be more objective in terms of what they hear and read about gluten-free diets and nutrition in general."