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Exercising on a Gluten-Free Diet

Diet and physical activity are inextricably linked: food is the fuel for your exercise. So how does a gluten-free diet influence your exercise?

Whether it’s an aerobics class, walking your dog in the park, or the bike commute to and from your work, you should be moving at least 60 minutes a day [U.S. Health & Human Services Guidelines].  That’s good for your cardiovascular and heart health. Muscle gives structure and strength to your body, as well as it converts food calories quickly and efficiently into nutrients and energy for our use. Endurance exercises, steadily paced-long distance/time activities, feed off your bodies carbohydrate stores, while sprint and muscle building activities are sustained by protein stores.  So what does this all mean when you eat gluten-free?

Gluten, being the protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and spelt, is most commonly found in bread product form. So if you’re not eating gluten, you’re not eating carb-rich bread products, which is where endurance activities derive much of their energy. But carbohydrates come from many other food sources! And our need for carbohydrates isn’t as great, overall, as that for protein and fats. Starchy fruits and vegetables, like apples, potatoes, carrots, and peas, as well as sugar loaded foods, like honey, all are carbohydrates rich. Really, too, we should all be eating plant–based diets. If you’re eating those, you’ll be getting the fuel you need for long-distance, sustained exercise, plus all the natural vitamins and minerals our bodies need. Sources of protein, while grains containing gluten are one, can be found in high proportions in animal products (dairy, beef, poultry), as well as nuts and legumes. You won’t miss much protein then, except in foods like meatloaf and battered fish and poultry, that may get mixed up with bread and flours, and you’ll have to pass. There’s always gluten-free methods of cooking those, however!

So keep an eye on what’s going into your food, then eat, drink, be merry and active!

Thank you, Strong Made Simple, for the insight on the gluten-free diet and exercise balance.

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One comment on “Exercising on a Gluten-Free Diet

  1. […] Exercising on a gluten free diet (thelittleaussiebakery.wordpress.com) […]

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