Gluten free diets have become increasingly popular both in fitness communities and across the board. Besides those who actually have Celiac disease or other types of gluten sensitivities, many people are jumping on the gluten-free trend just for the sake of being trendy. But does going gluten-free actually make a difference for people without gluten sensitivities?
Researcher, Dana Lis, decided to test this theory by having athletes go on strict gluten-free diets and later measure their progress in fitness levels along with any effects on gastrointestinal or digestive issues.
Before starting the experiment, many of the athletes believed starting a gluten-free regimen would improve the digestive problems so common among athletes. Some 90 percent of athletes, especially runners and cyclists who engage in heavy cardiovascular activity, are estimated in reporting occasional bloating, cramps, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal symptoms during or right after exercise.
Lis was tasked with creating a scientific research study that would accurately measure the effects of gluten on athletic performance and digestive issues. This was no easy task because it is hard to fool the participants about the types of food they are eating. Those with the gluten free diet will obviously know they are in that group and psychological thoughts can intervene with the true results. Therefore, Lis and her team of researchers thought of an ingenious idea to create two identical fitness bars, one with gluten and one without. This way she would be able to measure the affects of a gluten-free diet accurately.
After splitting her athlete participants into two groups, having them eat their designated diets and maintain normal training throughout, it was finally time to determine the results. Neither the researchers nor the participants knew which group was the gluten free one.
To her surprise, Lis was unable to measure any significant difference between the two groups at all. Athletic performance remained essentially identical in both groups and the state of their digestive tracts and mood showed little to no variation as well. After completing the study it became evident that gluten free diets have no particular benefits or harms that can be caused. Lis hopes people will learn from this and take a more objective stance on food trends in the future.