Friday, October 10, 2008

New York Times Spotlights Gluten-Free Athletes

Climber Dave Hahn and endurance athlete Mimi Winsberg both improved performance after being diagnosed with celiac disease and eliminating gluten from their diets, reports Anna Seaton Huntington in the New York Times article "A Debilitating Disease That Is Often Unknown" (October 9, 2008).
"It was like doping," Winsberg, 42, said. "Suddenly I was running six-minute miles instead of nine-minute miles. Before I had placed in the bottom third in triathlons. Four weeks gluten free, and I placed second in a triathlon. It was like reverse aging. I went from feeling 38 to 28 to 18."
Chiming in is Dr. John Reasoner of the United States Olympic Committee: "In six to eight weeks, if they’ve followed the diet, it’s night and day."

Also in the article, Dr. Peter Green continues to disseminate the key message that "Celiac is grossly underdiagnosed in this country." How is it diagnosed? Huntington writes that "Celiac disease is diagnosed through an inexpensive panel of blood tests" though it is confirmed through endoscopic biopsy.

Tomorrow Winsberg competes in the Ironman World Championship Triathlon in Hawaii, an event that involves a 2.4-mile ocean swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile coastal run. The article asserts that she could hardly have considered participating had she not discovered that being gluten-free was crucial to her well-being.

Thanks to Laura S. for the lead!


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Interesting note, I'm a fan of his activities and indeed he improved a lot.