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Amy Fisher Wednesday, 28 December 2011 07:44 TWEET COMMENTS 7

Zero Tolerance

Face the challenge of running gluten free

Imagine a world where there are no puffy post-run bagels. Or what if you were suddenly banned from your favorite cereal ...

Photo by Chris Hunter

Imagine a world where there are no puffy post-run bagels. Or what if you were suddenly banned from your favorite cereal (the one that always gets you through that hilly run)? Runners with celiac disease face such scenarios. Celiac disease is a lifelong autoimmune intestinal disorder estimated to affect nearly one in 132 individuals in the United States. Gluten, a protein found in grains like wheat, rye and barley, acts as a poison to celiacs, damaging the hair-like projections called villi that line the small intestine. Eventually, the intestines stop absorbing basic nutrients.

If left untreated, the condition can damage the small bowel and lead to an increased risk of certain long-term conditions and autoimmune disorders like anemia, osteoporosis and thyroid disease.

Since eliminating gluten from the diet is the only way to combat celiac disease, it is a huge challenge for trail runners whose diets consists largely of cereals, bagels, energy bars, pastas and other grain-based foods. What's a runner to do?



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