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No effects of a short-term gluten-free diet on performance in nonceliac athletes


Lis, D and Stellingwerff, T and Kitic, CK and Ahuja, KDK and Fell, J, No effects of a short-term gluten-free diet on performance in nonceliac athletes, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 47, (12) pp. 2563-2570. ISSN 0195-9131 (2015) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 American College of Sports Medicine

DOI: doi:10.1249/MSS.0000000000000699


Purpose: Implementation of gluten-free diets amongst non-celiac athletes has rapidly increased in recent years due to perceived ergogenic and health benefits. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of a gluten-free diet (GFD) on exercise performance, gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, perceived well-being, intestinal injury, and inflammatory responses in non-celiac athletes.

Methods: Thirteen competitive endurance cyclists (8 males, 5 females) with no positive clinical screening for celiac disease or history of irritable bowel syndrome (mean ± SD; age, 32 ± 7 yr; weight, 71.1 ± 13.4 kg; height, 177.0 ± 11.8 cm, V·O2max 59.1 ± 8.0 mL·kg−1·min−1) were allocated to a 7-d gluten-containing diet (GCD) or GFD separated by a 10-d washout in a controlled, randomized, double-blind, crossover study. Cyclists ate a GFD alongside either gluten-containing or gluten-free food bars (16 g wheat gluten per day) while habitual training and nutrition behaviors were controlled. During each diet, cyclists completed the Daily Analysis of Life Demand for Athletes (DALDA) and GI questionnaires (postexercise and daily). On day 7, cyclists completed a submaximal steady-state (SS) 45-min ride at 70% Wmax followed by a 15-min time trial (TT). Blood samples were taken preexercise, post-SS, and post-TT to determine intestinal fatty acid binding protein (IFABP) and inflammatory markers (cytokine responses: interleukin [IL] 1β, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-15, tumor necrosis factor α). Mixed effects logistic regression was used to analyze data.

Results: TT performance was not significantly different (P = 0.37) between the GCD (245.4 ± 53.4 kJ) and GFD (245.0 ± 54.6 kJ). GI symptoms during exercise, daily, and DALDA responses were similar for each diet (P > 0.11). There were no significant differences in IFABP (P = 0.69) or cytokine (P > 0.13) responses.

Conclusions: A short-term GFD had no overall effect on performance, GI symptoms, well-being, and a select indicator of intestinal injury or inflammatory markers in non-celiac endurance athletes.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:intestinal permeability, athletes, performance, inflammation, DALDA
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Sports science and exercise
Research Field:Exercise physiology
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health)
Objective Field:Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health) not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Lis, D (Mrs Dana Lis)
UTAS Author:Stellingwerff, T (Dr Trent Stellingwerff)
UTAS Author:Kitic, CK (Dr Cecilia Kitic)
UTAS Author:Ahuja, KDK (Dr Kiran Ahuja)
UTAS Author:Fell, J (Associate Professor James Fell)
ID Code:100864
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:45
Deposited By:Health Sciences
Deposited On:2015-06-02
Last Modified:2017-10-31

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