How Can A Food Intolerance Affect Your Fitness

Whether you’re a professional athlete or just enjoy staying fit, there’s no question that what you eat has a big impact on your performance. We all know that if you want to be healthy you can’t do loads of exercise and then binge on chocolate, burgers and chips ‘for a treat’ in your spare time; the two go hand in hand so that often means limiting fatty and sugary foods.

However, the offending foods in some circumstances aren’t necessarily junk food; in fact, it could technically be healthy food such as fruit and vegetables. What are we talking about? According to a leading UK charity* 45% of the UK population suffered with food intolerances; which means that nearly half of us struggle to digest certain foods which can leave us with uncomfortable symptoms. If we’re eating foods that we know are healthy in principle but do not agree with our own bodies we’re fighting a losing battle. So if you’re wondering why you’re getting tired quickly or are struggling to shift those last few pounds, the problem could be a food intolerance.
Let us put this into context for you…

Scenario:
You’re a cyclist and often eat carbohydrates such as pasta as you know you’ll need the energy for your ride. However, you find that a few miles into your bike ride you’re getting tired when you know you shouldn’t be.

The problem:

Your tiredness could be a symptom of gluten intolerance. If it is, then your body has been unable to digest much-needed nutrients properly and as a result your body has been unable to cope with the stress you’re putting on it.
However, knowing what you’re intolerant to can be difficult to spot as it can take up to 72 hours for symptoms to show. Additionally, the symptoms themselves might not seem attributable to food intolerance; the common signs include bloating and cramps but can also extend to migraines, mood changes and lethargy.

The solution:

If you have got a food intolerance, then to get your training back on track, or simply to exercise without the pain you’ll need to remove the trigger food or foods from your diet. So firstly you’ll need to identify which foods are causing you discomfort. In the scenario’s case, cutting out gluten from your diet should provide you with more energy.
However, as mentioned in our recent post on diet fads, elimination diets as a whole can be bad for your health. Therefore we recommend only cutting out the trigger food or foods, making sure to replace them with alternatives so that you can ensure your body is getting the right intake of nutrients.

If your exercise is part of a wider regime to try and reach a healthier weight then making sure you’re eating the right foods is extremely important. Believe it or not, having food intolerances can prevent weight loss or even cause weight gain as your body is unable to digest certain foods. That’s why we’ve recently put together our new Ideal Weight Programme that will identify optimal low GI foods that will keep you fuller for longer, taking into consideration too any foods that your body is reacting to.