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Olympic star shares celiac disease diagnosis and gluten-free diet secrets

Lana Bandoim's picture

It is estimated that 0.5 to 1 percent of the global population has celiac disease. However, diagnosis can take years, and symptoms may not appear immediately. Eve Muirhead recently shared her experience with celiac disease and the gluten-free diet. The Olympic star has a bronze medal in curling, but she believes the disease has affected her athletic abilities over the years.


Eve Muirhead shares that she was diagnosed with celiac disease after several months of being sick and searching for answers. She admits her diagnosis process was shorter than the one most patients experience. However, she had the classic symptoms of the condition and had access to good doctors. The Scottish curler suffered from cramps, pain, bloating, weight loss and fatigue.

“I had been training super hard for the Olympics, so I don’t know if that played a role. One minute, I was fit and well and could eat anything and then I couldn’t. I was probably only ill for a few months before I was diagnosed – I know a lot of people can be ill for much longer. What was happening had to be affecting my performance. My results weren’t going down but I was going down myself. When I look back now, I see what a nightmare it really was,” Muirhead said.

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Eve Muirhead credits the gluten-free diet for the return of her energy. She mentions that she feels better on the diet and is grateful she was diagnosed correctly. Muirhead admits that sticking to the gluten-free diet is a challenge. In addition, she has noticed that if she accidentally consumes gluten now, her reaction to the protein is worse than before she was diagnosed. She believes her body is more sensitive to small amounts of gluten, but she does not want to stop the new diet.

However, staying on the gluten-free diet has not been an easy process for her. She occasionally cheats on the diet and quickly regrets the decision. After eating several slices of pizza that had gluten, she suffered from severe pain and cramps. As she looks back on her Olympic career, Muirhead worries that her illness affected her performance. She wonders if an earlier diagnosis could have helped her earn more than a bronze medal.

Read more about celiac disease:
Doctors ignore proper celiac disease diagnosis and care
Celiac disease tripled in children in last 20 years