Does a Gluten-Free Diet Improve the Sport Performance?

Does a Gluten-Free Diet Improve the Sport Performance?

Regarding physical exercise, would it be good to avoid gluten in order to improve the sport performance even if we are not celiac?

This tendency has been shown after studying the frequency, perceptions and beliefs surrounding non-celiac athletes. Let’s not forget that gluten sensitivity cannot exist without celiac disease.

Gluten-free diets are a necessity of a 5 or 10% of the population due to celiac disease or wheat allergy. However, the reports from the market state that most of the population is following this type of habits without needing to do so.

From a sample of 942 athletes without celiac disease, more than 40% claim that at least 50% of their diet is gluten-free. Surprisingly, the reason to start following this diet was an auto-diagnosis of a disorder related to gluten.

Gluten-free diet

According to the authors, people follow a gluten-free diet because they believe that it helps to lose weight apart from being healthier. In addition, they think that they will relieve the gastrointestinal discomfort and systemic inflammation. Therefore, it would potentially improve their psychological well being and sport performance.

Problems of a Gluten-free diet

However, following a gluten-free diet without adequate nutritional advice can be associated with a series of problems. First of all, an increase in expenditure, +242% when compared to a normal and balanced diet, with its corresponding psychological impact. In addition, an inadequate intake of group B vitamins, fiber or iron.

Fat percentage

It is true that high intensity physical exercise reduces the integrity of the gastrointestinal wall. This is due to intestinal ischemia as a result of the blood redistribution in the splanchnic area to the muscle tissue.

Recurrent gastrointestinal stress, injuries or periods of high intensity can make us more susceptible to gastrointestinal problems. However, there is nothing we cannot fix with proper rest, recovery strategies, individualized diet and work redistribution.

Gluten-free diet impact on sport performance

In the following images, we can see how following a balanced diet or a gluten-free diet does not affect the performance. In fact, there are no differences in the inflammation markers or intestinal problems either:

Gluten markers


This findings are very important and they show how important it is to follow advice based on scientific evidence. Do not change your diet due to non-clinical reasons and make sure that you meet your nutrient requirements. In the end, you will see how your sport performance improves.


Related Entries:

Gluten and Sport Performance Review

Does it improve the performance? - 100%

Doing without nutritional advice - 100%

Better intestinal reactions - 99%

Conclusions - 100%


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About Mario Muñoz
Mario Muñoz
Mario Muñoz is an enthusiast in the field of research, as reflected in each of his articles published with excellent scientific rigour.
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