Food intolerance is becoming increasingly prevalent, and increasing numbers of athletes have celiac disease. This poses challenges as dietary recommendations for exercise are largely based on gluten-containing carbohydrate-rich foods. The K4 cycle race covers 384 km around the Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand. Lack of sleep, darkness, and temperature variations pose a number of nutritional challenges. Limited food choices present those with celiac disease with even greater challenges. This case study describes the intakes of one such athlete during training and competing in the K4. Nutritional intakes were obtained during training using weighed-food records and during the race via dietary recall and the weighing of foods pre- and postrace. As simple substitution of gluten-containing foods for gluten-free foods leads to increased energy intake, alternatives need to be considered. During the race, insufficient energy was consumed to meet the nutritional guidelines for endurance performance. This was probably due to the nature of the course, racing conditions, the consistency of gluten-free food, and, toward the end of the race, sensory-specific satiety.
The authors are with the Dept. of Human Nutrition, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.