At 6'2" and just 165 lbs, Florida State quarterback Clint Trickett was consuming 4,500 calories a day earlier this summer to try to put on weight.
It wasn't working.
"I had some blood work done, I had a biopsy," Trickett said during a recent meeting with Florida State beat writers. "And they said, 'You have Celiac disease.' And it started making sense."
Trickett adopted a gluten-free diet and within a month started to see results.
"You just have to stay away from any kind of breaded food," Trickett said. "Already I've seen two pounds a week gained. I've been putting on pounds ever since I changed, so I think it's just going to continue."
A redshirt freshman, Trickett made his first collegiate start in place of injured quarterback EJ Manuel on Saturday at Clemson. Trickett completed 24 of 38 passes for 336 yards, three touchdowns and an interception in the 35-30 loss to the Tigers.
Trickett joins the growing list of professional and amateur athletes who have gone gluten-free and experienced health improvements.
Celiac disease is the most common genetic auto-immune disease in the world, affecting an estimated 1 in 100 people. Successfully diagnosed in just 5 to 15% of cases, it is one of the most commonly missed disorders. More often, symptoms such as IBS, acid reflux or chronic fatigue are diagnosed leaving the underlying cause untreated. The syndrome is triggered by eating gluten: wheat, barley, rye and oats, leading to an immune reaction that causes damage to the lining of the small intestine resulting in malabsorption of nutrients. Removing gluten from the diet and correcting nutrient deficiencies commonly results in improvement or complete recovery from symptoms. Gluten sensitivity is estimated to affect 1 in 10 people, yet is successfully diagnosed less frequently than celiac disease. Like celiac disease, symptoms can vary and affect any organ or body system. Examples include neurological disorders, joint pain, gastrointestinal distress and asthma. A complete list of symptoms can be found in Glutenfreeworks.com's Symptom Guide.