Diet-for-AthletesIn the first post on diets for athletes we discussed the benefits of fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean meats.  In the second post we discovered how sugar promotes cancer, causes inflammation, and causes an addiction.  In this last section of diet for athletes we will discuss how gluten affects our bodies.

Wheat, rye, and barley all contain gluten.  Dr Seaman explains that gluten, just like sugar, causes a pro-inflammatory IL-15 mediated immune reaction.  Athletes who carb load, or regularly eat gluten, would have a constant gut inflammation.  This is not something that would benefit an athlete.

Gluten causes the gut to produce a protein called zonulin.  Zonulin disassembles tight junctions in the gut thus allowing gluten and bacteria to leak into our system.  Zonulin production has been linked to several diseases, including:

  • multiple sclerosis
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • type I diabetes
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • systemic lupus erythematosis
  • ankylosing spondylitis
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • mental fog / lethargy
  • ADD

Athletes who want to be the best in their sport should avoid the use of gluten and sugar.  Endurance athletes who plan to carb load will only be causing their body more harm.  Dr Seaman suggests that athletes who want to carb load, or athletes who are looking for better carbohydrate sources, should turn to potatoes.  Potatoes do not contain gluten and have an abundance of potassium.

Thank you Dr Seaman for keeping us up to date on the latest nutritional trends for both athletes and non-athletes.  For additional information or questions please feel free to email me.  Good luck!

Dr Spencer Charlet
Chiropractor in Mooresville, NC