Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Nutrition

Nutrition Q&A: Going Gluten-Free

I’ve been on a gluten-free diet, but I don’t feel any better and I’ve only lost 2 pounds in two months—maybe gluten isn’t the culprit?

For access to all of our training, gear, and race coverage, plus exclusive training plans, FinisherPix photos, event discounts, and GPS apps, sign up for Outside+.

Q: I’ve been on a gluten-free diet due to G.I. issues and to try to drop a few pounds. I don’t feel any better, and I’ve only lost 2 pounds in two months—maybe gluten isn’t the culprit?

RELATED: Cut The Gluten Without Cutting Corners

A: I have been seeing a great deal of this in my private practice, so I know many triathletes are in the same boat. A gluten-free diet can be very beneficial (and is imperative) for those with celiac disease, a disease in which any ingested gluten causes inflammation and long-term complications (see a G.I. doctor for a diagnosis). Going gluten-free is trendy now, even for those who aren’t intolerant, but as you noticed, following a gluten-free diet will neither magically help you shed pounds nor ease G.I. woes. If you simply substitute gluten-free versions of your regular foods, your weight will not go down. Or if, like many, you switch to gluten-free and end up eating more high-calorie, high-carb snack foods just because they don’t have gluten, you can gain weight. Also, your G.I. issues may have nothing to do with gluten. I see a much higher percentage of people with irritable bowel syndrome in my practice. Once I help them identify the real source of their problems and teach them how to adjust their diets, their symptoms can decrease drastically. My recommendation is to make an appointment with a board-certified sports dietitian in your area (find one at Scandpg.org) to receive a proper diagnosis. In my experience, even two or three visits with a sports R.D. can make a world of difference in how you feel.

RELATED: A Gluten-Free Energy And Protein Snack

Lauren Antonucci, R.D., is a board-certified specialist in sports dietetics, three-time Ironman and the founding director of Nutrition Energy in New York City.