What is gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley and rye. Gliadin and glutenin are the two main components of this protein and create the “doughy” texture of breads and pastries. For people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, this protein causes irritation in the small intestine.

Why does GU have gluten free products?

1% percent of the US population has celiac disease. If people with celiac disease eat foods containing gluten, it can damage the inner lining of their small intestine, resulting in an inflammatory response that impairs nutrient absorption. This can result in digestive upset, including abdominal pain and swelling, and over time may cause chronic inflammation. To help our customers make informed choices, we label all of our gluten free products.

Should I go gluten free?

There’s no reason to avoid gluten if you aren’t gluten sensitive or diagnosed with celiac disease. Some people mistakenly think that switching from gluten-based products to gluten free products will result in better health or weight loss. This isn’t necessarily true. Some gluten free foods are just as unhealthy as their gluten-full counterparts (think gluten free cupcakes and pizzas) and contain the same number of calories. That being said, switching from a highly refined carbohydrate diet to one that is more plant-based (swapping standard pasta for spiralized veggie noodles) can boost the nutritional profile of a meal and help fill you up with fewer calories.

How do i know if i'm gluten intolerant?

If you experience any of the following symptoms after eating wheat, rye or barley, there is a possibility you may have a sensitivity to gluten:

  • Diarrhea most days or worse after eating foods containing gluten
  • Severe bloating and or cramps after eating foods containing gluten
  • Regular headaches or recurring migraines that are worse after eating gluten
  • Constipation or irregular bowel movements
is gluten free sports nutrition better for performance?

It depends. If you need to avoid gluten (i.e., if you are sensitive to it) the presence or absence of symptoms associated with eating gluten containing sports products could be affecting your performance. If you are having GI issues because you accidentally ate something with gluten (a sauce you had at a restaurant the night before a big event, for instance), it could negatively impact your race the next day. If you have no issues with gluten, however, there isn’t compelling evidence to suggest any benefits by removing it from your diet in the days leading up to events.

I like coconut stroopwafels, but I'm not gluten intolerant

That’s totally fine! We formulated all of our Stroopwafels to contain the same amount of sodium, carbohydrates, and branched chain amino acids to adequately fuel your performance. Even if you don’t have a sensitivity to gluten, you can confidently choose Salted Chocolate, Coconut or Wild Berries without fear of missing out!

Myth busting questions + answers:

Should I go gluten free? Only if you have an intolerance or food sensitivity to it.
Who should eat a gluten free diet? Those who have an intolerance to gluten.
Should everyone be gluten free? No.
Should you eat gluten free if you are not allergic? Not necessarily! Instead, focus on eating whole foods with minimally processed ingredients to support a diet rich in various nutrients.

3 thoughts on “Navigating Nutrition: Gluten vs. Gluten Free

  1. As someone with Celiac, I really appreciate the transparency you have with your products. I love the gels and energy chews during long runs, but I REALLY love that I can confidently eat your products without risking GI issues 🙂 Thanks so much!

  2. As an athlete with Celiac, I really appreciate how well labeled your products are. Celiac reactions to gluten aren’t just GI symptoms. My arms and hands will tingle and go numb, my whole body shakes, and other neuromuscular symptoms and it takes days to fully recover. Thank you for supporting those of us who need a specific diet!

  3. I am a marathoner and ultra runner with celiac disease and lactose intolerance, and it’s easy to get info from your website, which I truly appreciate.
    Thank Gu.

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