Gladiators ate a diet that consisted of grains, vegetables and barley. Some gladiators were able to consume meat, but this was a rarity because meat was expensive and hard to keep fresh.
Gladiators had to eat foods high in protein and carbohydrates because of their demanding profession. Their owners fed them a couple of times a day because gladiators were a valuable and sometimes expensive investment. Most gladiators ate a vegetarian diet composed of nutritious foods that would give them the energy they needed to fight.
Modern-day scientists have studied the bones of gladiators in order to gain a better understanding of what type of food they ate. Many scientists have concluded that even though most gladiators subsisted off a vegetarian diet, there were abnormalities in the protein levels of some gladiators. This also indicates that certain gladiators may have had access to more meat or that their owners treated them more favorably.
Scientists also found that gladiators had a higher amount of calcium in their bones in comparison to the rest of the population. This difference was due to a mixture of water and plant ashes gladiators would drink before and after combat sessions to help strengthen their bones.