Vegan diet is as good as meat-based diet for athletes!

Animal activists request people to to vegan and not kill animals. Many athletes and celebrities such as Cam Newton, Tom Brady and the like are switching over to a vegan diet. But there is that constant fear that vegan lifestyle may not provide enough calories and proteins. A new research has thrown light on this aspect of the vegan diet. What does this research unveil?

The new research on vegan diet

There is a common misconception that eating purely a vegan diet may cause weakness and nutrient deficiency. This could be particularly detrimental in athletes whose performance might suffer. But a new research published in European Journal of Clinical Nutrition puts all these fears at rest. The study states that a vegan lifestyle does not decrease performance. In fact, athletes on it have a better aerobic endurance than omnivores.

Vegan diet [Source: Getty Images]
The study is from the University of Quebec, Montreal and the researchers state that athletes who eat only plant products are as strong as those who eat both plants and animal products. The research allays all fears related to a vegan diet and performance of athletes in sports.

More details of this Canadian study

The study included 56 healthy, physically active young women. Half of these study participants followed a vegan diet while the other half were on a omnivores diet with meat consumption three times a week. This diet was eaten for at least two years before the study period.

Non-veg food item [Source: BBC Good Food]
The researchers made a note of the strength of the study participants using a leg press and a chest press. The women also had to pedal to exhaustion a stationary bike. And their maximal oxygen consumption (known as VO2 max) was measured. This gave an indication of the endurance and aerobic fitness.

The two groups was matched for body mass, weight, body fat percentage, and the amount of muscle mass. The vegan had a better VO2 max. The researchers were unclear of the reason for this better endurance of the study group. But they had some hypothesis on it.

Reason for the difference in the two groups

The scientists felt that the difference was due to the different macro-nutrients in diet of the two groups. Omnivores had more fat and protein in their food and the vegans ate more carbohydrates. And it is also possible that the high carbohydrate diets provide more glycogen for muscles and hence favor a better endurance.

Besides this, the amount of oxidative stress and inflammation is lower in vegans compared to the omnivores. Leg press was similar in both the groups but chest press was slightly lower in the vegan group. This study is the first of its kind to measure VO2 max and endurance in vegans and omnivores.

Vegan food [Source: Happy Cow]
The study tends to break the myth that vegan diet may not be good for athletes. Vegan people are equally strong as those who eat a meat-based food. So why not go for it!