Lately it seems that more and more professional athletes are going gluten-free. From Olympic swimmers to tennis legends, sports stars have found that living gluten-free gives them a competitive edge, literally helping them achieve gold.
Well, add another professional football player to the list of gluten-free athletes. It was recently revealed that Green Bay Packers running back James Starks has adopted a gluten-free diet in order to improve his game. The running back had taken a long time to recover from injuries in the past, including both shoulder and hamstring injuries that threatened to ruin his career. Starks consulted a nutritionist, who suggested that eliminating gluten from his diet could help in recovery and athletic performance. It is reported that the Green Bay star has gained weight and feels in better athletic shape than before (despite his toe turf injury from an August 9th preseason game).
While it is not confirmed in reports that Starks is actually allergic to gluten, it is evident that the diet is beneficial to many athletes in their quest to decrease fatigue, muscle stiffness, bloating, and gastrointestinal issues. Even exercise physiologist to the Garmin-Transitions pro cycling team, Dr. Allen Lim, recommended a gluten-free diet to the entire riding team, whether they had confirmed issues with gluten or not. The cyclists found that the gluten-free diet allowed for “all-around better digestion,” improving performance through better sleep and faster recovery times.
For a professional athlete, a gluten-free diet may only offer a slight edge if they don’t suffer from celiac’s disease. But if a running back can sprint faster, a cyclist pedal harder, and a swimmer glide more smoothly, why shouldn’t we all go for the gluten-free gold?