The subject of my last post was “Bread” or more specifically what happened when I gave it up. The results were that I lost a fair bit of weight, felt better and still performed well. However, this led me to think more about why bread might actually do that. Sure it’s not very healthy, it’s processed and contains very little actual nutrients but still can it be just bread’s fault?

The main ingredient of bread is wheat. I’ve had a look at quite a few and unless you buy speciality bread the first item on the ingredients list is wheat meaning it’s got the largest content. Wheat has a protein that you’d have heard of; gluten. Other grains that contain gluten are barley and rye, although corn and oats have their own protein type which is similar. The reason you’ll have heard of gluten is that it is up there as having one of the largest group of people either allergic or intolerant to it, you’ve probably seen the large spaces supermarkets are now dedicating to it.

Another reason you’ll have heard of it is due to the increase in popularity of a diet consisting of no gluten. I think the highest profile athlete I can think of to have adopted a gluten free diet is Chris Froome, needs no introduction! I’m not going to get into the how’s and why’s of the gluten free diet as, like almost all fitness and dieting strategies, there will be a personal preference to it. It may work for some and it may not for others. What I will tell you though is my story regarding it…

To recap, I gave up bread it worked well, then realised I may be being slightly short sighted about the whole situation. It is entirely possible that gluten is the cause and not the other ingredients or process involved in putting bread together. As a child I was very intolerant to both dairy and wheat products, and as an adult I thought I’d grown out of it. I drink milk with no adverse consequences. I ate bread and other products containing wheat for years not realising that I probably still had a problem. It wasn’t until I started to look in greater detail at the reasons why I dropped weight and felt better from giving up bread that this became apparent.

The results have slowed down. I am still losing weight even though I’m eating a fuller diet as my training is back in full swing. My performance remains undamaged from doing this. I suspect I dropped a lot of retained water from eating a food I was intolerant to, which would account for rapid weight loss. Time will tell if this aids my performance as my training for specific events is just getting going.

Whether or not I am really intolerant is of little importance. I’m not at risk from eating products containing gluten but I am healthier without so I’m not rushing to the doctors to find out. I also mentioned that corn and oats have their own specific protein type similar, and to clarify this while they do they are slightly different and as such aren’t usually associated with the same problems as the other gluten. I’ve not got any plans to test out if dropping the others works I’m happy to continue on this path.

Giving up gluten will be hard. Not because of cravings and such, for me bread was the majority of my gluten intake but because it is literally in everything! Read the label, even some products contain it as it can be used to bind ingredients together. Go clean and simple is my advice. Soup is a perfect example, most soups be it tinned, dried or fresh brought have gluten in them – make it at home it won’t (hopefully!)…

As with my bread article the message I wanted to give out is clear; don’t expect different results from trying the same methods. Could you be intolerant to something, not necessarily gluten? Try it out and if you need any help get in contact.

Thanks for reading

Pav