Gluten-Free Nutrition in Endurance Sport

I’ve found myself being asked more and more about gluten free products, and advice on how to fuel your body correctly, now that celiac conditions are being diagnosed more readily. In endurance sport, not fuelling yourself before and during exercise is not really an option.

What’s the problem?

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder affecting absorption from the intestine. The ingestion of gluten-containing foods such as wheat, barley and rye, can result in an inappropriate immune response.  This means that many carbohydrate rich foods such as pasta and bread that are consumed by endurance athletes need to be eliminated. Celiac disease has also been linked with iron deficiencies. Nutrition for endurance events should therefore be planned and researched to give yourself the best chance of success. You need to focus on an iron-rich gluten-free diet.

It is therefore important to be pretty self-sufficient when it comes to fuelling your body. You need to plan for your sessions, making sure you have enough fuel for the job in hand. This can be done with food, water and supplements.  The hard part is finding Gluten-free alternatives which will suit your nutritional demands.

What should I use?

Types of food that can yield a good amount of energy are dried fruits. They’re easy to have in your back pocket and give your body a hit of natural sugars, which can convert to glycogen through your aerobic energy system to provide useable energy to your muscles. They’re easy to access and not a lot of chewing involved either.

Bananas are another good option, providing your body with energy. They are also high in Potassium which is an electrolyte often depleted during exercise.

Rice Crackers are a good source of slower releasing carbohydrates which are ideal to use before training/competition alongside Gluten-free wholegrain cereal/muesli bars. Cream cheese and low fat yoghurt are a good source of fat, and can be a nice savoury option when you don’t fancy any more sweet/fruit flavours which may become sickly after continued ingestion.

The supplement market is finally starting to realise that there is a huge demand for gluten-free products. Brands such as Isopure, Sun Warrior and Arbonne are leading the way with their supplements, giving the option for a gluten-free supplement plan. Gluten-free shakes can be used for post workout recovery, meal replacements and/or pre-exercise energy intakes. There are also bars available that can be used during exercise or in between meals to help build up energy stores.

Gluten-free Supplement Suggestions...

Quest Nutrition Bars


Nakd Bars


These bars are great for using during longer duration sessions, or throughout the day as a snack to increase energy stores.

Isopure Perfect Isowhey

This protein is a great source of protein to use post exercise as a way of repairing damaged muscle fibres and recovering you body systems. You can also use it in between meals as an extra protein source. This could be especially helpful throughout

PhD Nutrition Amino Drive

Amino Drive is a stimulant free pre-exercise energy boosting supplement. You get BCAA’s which will help reduce recovery time, alongside L-Tyrosine, Choline, DMAE and ALC, which are used to increase neurotransmitter production and assist with increase mental clarity and focus throughout exercise.

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