Djokovic Gluten Free Diet: Does it Really Help Your Tennis?

Written by Senior Tennis Editor Peter Gehr

From celebrity actors, and television personalities to superstar athletes, the gluten free diet has become both fashionable and controversial. This is one of the most talked about diets of the new millennium and the question is: The Novak Djokovic gluten free diet: does it really help your tennis?

I’ve looked at several reputable sources, and have posted articles on this very subject on this blog from time to time, referring to Djokovic’s diet, and Andy Murray later adopted the same diet regimen to see if this would help improve his game.

Djokovic Gluten Free Diet: Does it Really Help Your Tennis?

Djokovic Gluten Free Diet: Does it Really Help Your Tennis?

Djokovic Gluten Free Diet: Does it Really Help Your Tennis?

A recent Time survey found that the restricted diet’s popularity is due to the fact that most people are gluten-free for the wrong reasons. While only about eight to 12 percent of people buy gluten-free goods because they have a gluten intolerance — including the one in 133 who have celiac disease — a recent poll found that almost 50 percent of people asked thought that “gluten-free” meant healthier, and 30 percent bought gluten-free foods in order to manage their weight. And while it’s true that giving up things like pizza, pasta, and bread does mean low-carb, buying products labeled gluten-free doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be sticking to your Dukan diet — the carbs in, say, gluten-free cookies and bagels are still there.

But a gluten-free diet may still be beneficial no matter what your allergies — read on to see why.

A recent study, however, showed that going gluten-free, even when you don’t have celiac disease, may be beneficial. The study looked at over 3,000 individuals and found that those with a gluten sensitivity who didn’t know about it had fewer gastrointestinal issues and general improvement of health when they were placed on a gluten-free diet.

And then there’s the effect you get from just believing a gluten-free diet is helpful. Tennis pro Novak Djokovic has gone from loser to winner (as in, beating-Nadal-style winning) with what his trainer says is the result of a shift to a strict gluten-free diet, which has helped him lose weight and overcome mental blocks to vastly improve his game. And although the tennis star is allergic to gluten, his trainer says that other people may benefit from gluten-free diets, even if it’s only due to a placebo effect, and some experts agree. “If you believe in a cause of your disorder, it becomes the cause,” says David Levitsky, a professor of nutrition and psychology at Cornell University. “We see this in many different studies. If you believe it, you change your behavior in the direction of being cured.”

It’s true that it’s important to realize that gluten-free doesn’t equal low-carb or healthier. You won’t necessarily lose weight from eating a gluten-free diet, and you’ll just be restricting your diet for no reason. However, if you think you may have a gluten sensitivity, eliminating it from your diet may help you feel better (just make sure you stick to whole, unprocessed foods and fresh fruits and vegetables) — whether or not it’s all in your head.

Djokovic gluten free diet: does it really help your tennis? This is a subjective topic, and if it truly is the result of the placebo effect, then perhaps it’s worth trying to convince yourself that it’s really going to help and with the power of mental persuasion and belief the diet can indeed improve your performance, gluten free may just be the diet for you.

Click on the image below for more details on the gluten free diet.

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10 Responses to “Djokovic Gluten Free Diet: Does it Really Help Your Tennis?”

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  1. Great post Peter! It is always good to know what is what is gluten free diet and if it helps to become successful!

  2. stacey says:

    Thanks for sharing this Peter. Really interesting perspective on such a hot topic.

    • admin says:

      It’s a very hot topic, and a diet that should be thoroughly researched before undertaking. Thanks for visiting.

  3. Amanda says:

    Thanks Peter, I’m hearing so much about the Gluten free diet lately, sound like I should investigate it more!

    • admin says:

      Hi Amanda. Yes, there are benefits to a gluten free diet if it suits your particular needs. Seeking the right professional advice is critical in making the decision to go gluten free as although it might be suited to some, for others it can be detrimental. Thanks for commenting.

  4. Charlie says:

    Glad you mentioned the placebo affect as that is what helps 60 % or so according to latest research . Gluten free is very over rated . I have celiac disease diagnosed via blood tests and biopsy 9 years ago . Djokovic I bet doesn’t bother with cross contamination which is very important if you are really gluten free . I have had many health problems due to complications of celiac disease and the gluten free diet , that I haven’t been able to play tennis for 7 years . I have only been too the courts twice for a quick 10 minute knock about unfortunately I cannot play longer or a proper match :( It makes me very frustrated when athletes claim gluten free helps it’s usually BS , especially with Djokovic he always eats gluten after a tournament win , you either have an allergy or you don’t , you can’t pick and choose !

    Hope you don’t mind my negative post but I get fed up or seeing gluten free diet the miracle diet . Never ever see a celiac’s views on it , I wish the gluten free diet was a miracle health cure as I would most probably play and win tennis matches at a local club every day !

    I would also add if you think you have a problem with gluten it’s best to get tested for celiac disease as soon as you can .

    • admin says:

      Hello Charlie. Thanks for your comments–which are appreciated. I didn’t find it negative at all, and it’s great to have your feedback to the article. I wish you well.

  5. Charlie says:

    Thanks Admin :) Let me know if you ever have any questions on celiac disease or the gluten free diet .

    • admin says:

      Hi Charlie. Thanks for your kind offer, and when we address this again, we’d greatly appreciate some input. Cheers!

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