Gluten is a naturally occurring protein found in wheat, rye and barley. Gluten in fact is a conglomerate of proteins namely; gliadin and glutenin. Gluten is, in most of the cases a naturally occurring constituent but sometimes it is also used as an accompaniment in processed food. It is often added to ketchup, ice creams where a stabilizing agent is often required. For athletes, there are concerns for sports diets.
Gluten is made up of two protein compounds – gliadin and glutenin – that is found in starch. Gliadin is a toxic component of gluten that causes a few individuals celiac disease. It is noticed that a few people are sensitive to gluten as they have celiac disease. This is a digestive disorder which causes the small intestine not to absorb nutrients thus leaving deficiencies. Symptoms of celiac disease are bloating, pain, diarrhea, fatigue and sometimes anxiety too, but usually these symptoms are not always visible. Many athletes don’t even know it until they have it. It is therefore important to have yourselves checked, so as to diagnose it. The only method to avoid the non-absorption of the nutrients is to avoid anything that contains gluten. Those who have digestive disorders will benefit from a gluten free diet.
A gluten intolerant athlete might have difficulty to adjust a diet which contains no gluten at all but a little research and help would definitely benefit them, providing them with the required and requisite nourishment.
Many nutritional issues might remain for the athletes as far as a gluten free diet is concerned. Athletes have to have a good consumption of carbohydrates, but the crunch occurs when athletes are gluten intolerant. Almost all the carbohydrates rich foods and munchies contain gluten. So athletes with celiac disease might have to keep an eye on the ingredients of everything that they consume so as to avoid any slightest bit of gluten.
Sports-Diet Meal Plan
Following are the energy foods that are rich of nutrients and are also gluten free:
- Dairy Food Items
- Canned Foods and Vegetables
- Vegetable oil
- Canned Fruit Juice
Sports drinks, meal replacement drinks, sports gels and electrolyte powders do not contain gluten so these can be consumed by the gluten intolerant athletes. However sports bars often contain gluten so they must be avoided. There are many potato chips that are gluten free, to ensure how your pack is gluten free, you just have to check the ingredients. Your pack is gluten free if it contains oil, salt and potato in the ingredients.
Pursuing a gluten free diet begins with anything that contains wheat. By avoiding wheat you are in turn avoiding gluten. Since pasta, breads, cakes and bagels contain gluten they can’t be consumed however other carbohydrates rich foods such as white rice, brown rice, corn, potato, oats, pulses etc can be consumed. All the dairy products including milk, cheese, yogurt, butter etc are also naturally gluten free too. Nuts are also very nourishing yet have no gluten so these too can be consumed. Fresh vegetables and fruits are also must have for athletes. Moreover, who can forget fresh fruit juices?
Apart from this, various companies have introduced gluten free products, so you can go and buy them without having to worry about being intolerant to gluten. There are a number of stores with entire gluten free shelves; you can grab anything from there.
A gluten intolerant athlete should always try to go for fresh meals avoiding anything that is canned and processed. A good healthy breakfast with high protein intake would do well. A lunch packed with some home cooked meat along with potatoes or rice to put in those much needed carbohydrates, and a well balanced dinner would definitely help the athlete to get the proper meals without gluten.