Among athletes, gluten free diets are becoming increasingly popular. However, with recent tests and studies, gluten free diets may not be as beneficial as one may think. A recent study was conducted that used 1,000 athletes there were from Australia. 41 percent of these athletes (lacrosse player Jon Urbana being one of them) reported to be following a gluten free diet. A majority of this percentage were avoiding gluten free out of an intolerance from wheat, barley, etc. Only 13 percent of this 41 percent had actually been officially diagnosed with celiac disease.
Other reasons why a gluten free diet was popular among athletes is due to the fact that it was believed to reduce the risk of bloating, cramps, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms. Despite these expectations, there was no official study that supported these assumptions.
In order to test this theory, scientists used 13 athletes with non-gluten intolerance as their test subjects. The athletes would start a gluten-free diet and follow that diet for two week-long sessions. To further test the theory, scientists asked the athletes to complete a strenuous time-trial in order to test the athlete’s overall performance after the diet.
The results showed that there was no significant difference between the two diets. Though this study was short-term, the results show that unless an athlete has a official issue with gluten, there is no notable difference between the performance of athletes who eat gluten with those who avoid gluten.