More and More Athletes Turning to The ALCAT Test
Many professional athletes are turning to a new coach. It's not a conventional coach, it's not even a human coach; rather, it's a coach that instructs them in personalized dieting, a coach to help increase strength and normalize weight. It's a simple blood test for food and chemical sensitivity called the ALCAT Test. Proponents claim that the ALCAT identifies adverse cellular reactions to foods and chemicals associated with inflammation. Experts agree inflammation causes chronic health problems including obesity.
So why is this of interest to elite athletes? According to Roger Deutsch, test co-developer and author of Your Hidden Food Allergies are Making you Fat, "Avoidance of reactive foods might unblock insulin receptors, so food is burnt for energy and not stored as fat; decrease immune mediated muscle degradation and fatigue, and increase overall metabolic and respiratory function. The results will be individual but all these things can arise from incompatible food triggers."
Two of the most notable athletes to have taken the ALCAT Test are Minnesota Twins' First Baseman Justin Morneau and Boston Red Sox's Designated Hitter David Ortiz. Morneau is a former American League MVP and four-time MLB All-Star. Morneau's experience was chronicled in the StarTribune wherein he states he was planning to 'do everything I can humanly do to make myself feel better.' The StarTribune also states: "While making the medical rounds last fall, Morneau also took the ALCAT Test to see if he had food allergies. He learned his body was sensitive, if not allergic to, sugars, gluten and dairy." Morneau then lost 14 pounds in just a few weeks by following his new diet.
Athletes are always seeking new ways to enhance performance, and diet plays an essential role in their ability to do so. Morneau states, "It's not like I'll choke or die from eating those things, but my body reacts poorly to them. It treats them as something I'm allergic to and fights the inflammation instead of the inflammation from an injury."
The Red Sox David Ortiz was recently featured in a separate article titled, The Skinny on Big Papi's Diet featured on ESPN.com. Even though Ortiz took the ALCAT Test for different reasons than Morneau, he had a similar experience, dropping 20 pounds in two months. Ortiz took the test because his "cholesterol had risen to dangerously high levels." Since taking the test, and following its dietary guidelines, Ortiz said, "The results have been almost immediately noticeable." He goes on to say, "I feel great" and "I can feel the difference when I swing a bat and when I work out, I don't get as tired."
Studies have shown dietary modification and food sensitivity testing to be a viable treatment modality for a number of chronic health problems. Major League Baseball isn't the only professional sport that has utilized the ALCAT Test. Joe Rowgowski, Strength and Conditioning Coach for the NBA's Orlando Magic, has been quoted as saying, "I've seen very good results with the ALCAT Test and often recommend it to the athletes I work with." In addition, Elite European Soccer Club, Juventus, was recently featured in a study titled “Rational Management of Food Intolerance in an Elite Soccer Club”. This study was presented at the International Society of Sports Nutrition: 8th Annual ISSN Conference and Expo in 2011.
So what does all of this mean? This means your fork may actually be the best tool available for maximum performance. For the elite athlete, with all the available supplements, PEDs (performance enhancing drugs) and training methods perhaps it is indeed as simple as Hippocrates said, "Let food be thy medicine." For the elite athlete or the occasional weekend warrior the best medicine may actually be finding out what foods are right for you.