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How to Gain Athletic Advantage by Being Gluten-Free

Some athletes are afraid to go gluten-free because they’re worried they won’t get enough carbohydrates in their diets to sustain their intense energy needs. Carbs before, during, and after training or competition are essential to maintaining energy levels and speeding recovery after the event.

Not only is getting the carbs you need as an athlete possible, but being gluten-free can also provide an athletic advantage. After all, you’re not doing your carb-loading with pizza and spaghetti — those are relatively worthless nutritionally speaking. These foods also cause blood-sugar peaks and valleys because they’re high-glycemic-load foods.

The lack of gluten in the diet doesn’t deserve the credit in providing an athletic advantage; it’s more the high-protein, low-glycemic-load approach (that happens to be gluten-free) that counts. This approach has several advantages for athletes:

  • Enabling your body to start processing energy more efficiently from fat stores and to be less dependent on the food in its gut

  • Minimizing the hypoglycemic effect that sudden, intense exercise can cause

  • Increasing the free fatty acids in the bloodstream, enabling you to save muscle glycogen (used for energy) during exercise

  • Maintaining stable blood-sugar levels during exercise, which is essential for the growth of muscle and strength, as well as for the flow of energy

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