By Bridget

Photo from CBS News

When you’re living a gluten-free lifestyle, “carbo loading” doesn’t exactly have the same ring to it as it does for the average athlete. Those pasta dinners the night before a big race won’t exactly get you on your game. Just ask Olympic Gold Medalist Dana Vollmer.

As you may have already heard, the newly minted world record-setting swimmer has revealed that she suffers from a gluten sensitivity, which has created stomach problems for her in the past. For the Olympics in Beijing in 2008, Vollmer just missed qualifying, attributing that loss to back and shoulder problems, as well as some stomach issues. Once she eliminated gluten and eggs from her diet she found that her energy levels and swimming ability vastly improved – to a world record setting extent.

Like a lot of athletes who go gluten-free, eliminating the heavy carbs from her diet could actually offer a competitive edge. While its not going to make a mediocre swimmer into a great one, cutting out the wheat could mean the difference of seconds or fractions of seconds on a 100 m event, changing elite athletes from medalists to record setters.

Although every person needs to find what works best for them (like the reported 12,000 calorie-a-day, gluten- and carb-heavy diet Vollmer’s US teammate Michael Phelps follows), it is certainly inspiring to discover that a gluten-free lifestyle could actually help a person achieve their dreams.

Dana Vollmer has not only won a gold medal so far in the London Olympic Games, she has also set the world record for the women’s 100-meter butterfly -looks like that gluten-free diet is paying off!