The Hemp Connection + tennis

Will a gluten-free diet really help your tennis game?

The tennis world was all aflutter this week over an article in the Wall Street Journal about professional tennis player Novak Djokovich's rise in the tennis ranks in the year following his switch to a gluten-free diet. While there may be a correlation, relatively little in the article directly addressed the direct connection between gluten-free eating and a phenomenal tennis season.

So here are some facts for all of you tennis players looking for an edge, as well as those of you courtside who may wonder if gluten is affecting your hormone balance.

What is gluten?

Gluten is the protein found in many grains, especially barley, oats, rye, and wheat. Statistically, 1 in every 133 individuals is gluten intolerant or experiencing celiac disease. In this condition, gluten irritates the lining of the intestines to the point where the absorptive surface erodes away and can no longer absorb food. It is painful, it causes malnutrition, and it. This photo, courtesy of, shows how the"fingers" of the intestine, where nutrients are absorbed, gradually shrink in size and disappear.

Symptoms of true celiac disease are related to malabsorption: diarrhea, gas, bloating, fatty stools are common. However, they do not occur in everyone. Other symptoms are related to the nutrient deficiencies resulting from malabsorption and can include: weight loss, fluid retention, anemia, easy bruising, nerve pain, muscle weakness, and…yes…infertility.

A full workup to confirm celiac disease includes blood testing, intestinal biopsy, and a challenge with a gluten-free diet to see if the body responds in a healing way. Because the symptoms of celiac disease can also be symptoms of other serious disorders, it is important to not self-diagnose and treat yourself.

It is possible to be gluten sensitive even if you do not have celiac disease. Many women reading this blog may have a gluten sensitivity, and it can be the source of the inflammatory process that is triggering PCOS. Many of our inCYSTer providers have completed LEAP training, which allows them to help you diagnose and treat food sensitivities in a way that is precise and direct. It is a way to shorten the process of figuring out what is truly causing your symptoms, rather than randomly eliminating a food and hoping it will help you to feel better.

Should You Go Gluten-Free?  In the last five years, gluten-free eating has become somewhat trendy. Please don't misunderstand my comment. I know many of you truly ARE gluten-intolerant and gluten-sensitive. But many of you are not. Something that can happen if your primary sources of gluten were baked and processed foods, and you cut those out, you tend to decrease your caloric intake and improve your ratio of carbohydrates to protein. You improve your chances of improving insulin resistance, which may have nothing to do with gluten issues even though gluten intake was altered with your dietary choices.

In addition, inCYSTer and LEAP guru Michal Hogan recently shared with me that if you are NOT gluten sensitive, and you restrict gluten, you can create an sensitivity where none previously existed. So it is really important to make this dietary adjustment only if it is necessary and in an informed way, not because you think it might help when nothing else has.

It's also important to understand that a gluten-free diet is NOT automatically healthier! I belong to several gluten-free discussion groups and have seen chats literally obsessing about ways to keep eating sweets and calorically dense/nutritionally inferior foods while getting around the gluten issue. It's important to understand that whole grains, even those containing gluten, contain other important nutrients such as magnesium and
B vitamins, that will need to be included in other fashions if you eliminate a major category of foods.

For those of you who ARE in need of gluten-free eating, we encourage you to become familiar with Zing Bars, who you've seen us blog about before, who we've interviewed on our radio show, and whose bars are all gluten-free. Zing has also been generous with the PCOS community and their product is one that is insulin as well as gluten-friendly. It's not just a candy bar that's easy on the intestines, as some products pan out to be.

If your first name is Roger or Rafael, you play tennis, and you're wondering if you might make some dietary adjustments to better keep up with that guy on the other side of the net…Zing Bars certainly will help to keep your energy levels stable for good coordination and focus through the longest of matches. But before you switch out a major staple and completely change your diet, be sure to ascertain that it genuinely has potential to help you.

If you're not sure if gluten is your problem, and you'd like to work with someone who can help you know for sure, for a list of inCYSTers who are also LEAP-certified who would be happy to help you work through the maze of information and to do it productively…visit and look for"CLT" behind the provider's name.

celiac disease, diet, energy, food, get healthy body, gluten intolerance, gluten sensitivity, happy, insulin resistance, nutrition, protein, and more:

Will a gluten-free diet really help your tennis game? + tennis