VEGETARIANS AND SPORT

29/11/2019

It is quite popular these days to shift away from the meat and what comes from the animal world. However, we have always advocated the benefits of animal proteins, compared to the supposed lack of efficiency of vegetable proteins. So, is it possible to combine your sporting ambitions and a vegan diet?

Great athletes such as Carl Lewis, Martina Navratilova and Surya Bonali are vegetarians. It is therefore possible. But are they exceptions or is it possible for any athlete to reach his best level while remaining vegetarian?

Of course, whether vegetarian or not, the right balance in the diet is essential. It is therefore essential to separate vegetarian and vegan diets. There are many ways to see vegetarianism. Some exclude any form of meat but allow themselves to eat fish, milk or eggs. Vegans either exclude anything that comes from the animal or goes even further who broadens his consumption philospohy to the rest of his life and will not use any product that comes from the animal world, be it wool or leather.

Of course, if you can incorporate fish, milk and eggs into your diet, it’s not really a problem for optimal sporting development, because you have all the quality protein you need. Without these elements, it becomes already more difficult but not impossible. You'll find a lot of protein in soy and its derivatives (like tofu or soy milk). Most specialists, while they don’t exclude vegetarian diet, are really not in favour of veganism, which they consider to be a factor of deficiencies in omega 3 (fish), vitamin B12, but also in certain minerals such as iron.

Of course, if you can incorporate fish, milk and eggs into your diet, it’s not really a problem for optimal sporting development, because you have all the quality protein you need. Without these elements, it becomes already more difficult but not impossible. You'll find a lot of protein in soy and its derivatives (like tofu or soy milk). Most specialists, while they don’t exclude vegetarian diet, are really not in favour of veganism, which they consider to be a factor of deficiencies in omega 3 (fish), vitamin B12, but also in certain minerals such as iron.

So, if you opt for a vegan diet, supplements will be essential to your progression, especially if you are a bodybuilder, powerlifter or strength athlete. Your protein intake should, in this case, be more important and can then come from protein shakes or capsules. QNT recently launched VEGAN PROTEIN, a lactose-free, sugar-free, soy-free protein shake made from pea and rice proteins. Such a product, which contains 70 g of protein per 100 grams is an essential support for a vegan athlete who can therefore compensate for its lack of protein by a contribution from a "milkshake" (with water, of course). 

It is important to know that some of the amino acids that our body needs must be fed through the diet. Certainly, the human body can transform a lot of amino acids according to its needs, but not all. So if you go for a vegetarian diet and even more for a vegan diet, you should take care to bring a good combination of all the amino acids you need. The easiest solution is, of course, the supplements, but you can also get a good result with a clever mix of "cereals + legumes + vegetables" or "cereals + nuts and oleaginous fruits + vegetables" For example: Rice + red beans + tomatoes, or Bulgur + chickpeas + zucchini, or Semolina of couscous + almonds + carrots, or Pasta + peas + tomato sauce.

Of course, the more you shift your diet towards veganism, the more supplements you will need. Spirulina is an alga that contains many essential elements for vegetarians: Protein (50 to 70% of its weight) but also iron and zinc.

In conclusion, we can’t say that it is impossible to become a sportsman or perform as a vegetarian or vegan, but it seems a little more difficult. The control of its protein intake is essential for an athlete, and the support of supplements is a definite advantage if not essential. What is certain is that from the outside, one might think that such a drastic choice requires even more control than a classic diet.

What do you think?

Posted in: Lifestyle, Nutrition, Health

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