The last time we started to see why more and more athletes are going vegan . After exploring the more obvious reasons, we’ll go into a bit more detail.
All nutrients are found in vegan nutrition
Plant-based food is wrongly devalued because all the nutrients (proteins, calcium , iron , omega 3 , zinc … except vitamin B12 which is a special case ) are present there. This is the simplest reason why a strictly vegan athlete wants for nothing .
All protein, whether animal or plant origin, is made up of amino acids. And it is very important to understand that there is no difference between an amino acid of animal or plant origin. An amino acid in lysine, whether it comes from a steak or a kidney bean, is an amino acid in lysine. And you can apply it for all nutrients: the bricks that make up food all come from the same company, mother nature.
It is the proportion of the components, the digestibility and the assimilation of food that can vary, but the structure of the components is not different. It is true that some components are present in smaller quantity (eg cereals tend to be poorer in lysine and legumes in sulfur-containing amino acids), but we cannot stop there because the real assimilation of a protein and more generally of a nutrient is influenced by the general quality of the diet.
If a vegan athlete seeks to optimize his meals (whole foods, if possible of organic origin and limit the consumption of processed foods as much as possible), he considerably increases the metabolism of the nutrients he ingests. Which puts him on the same level as an omnivorous athlete. It will even potentially benefit on certain points…
The advantages of being athletic and vegan
The vegan diet, being made up of more plants, is mainly less rich in saturated fat and less acidifying . This logically leads to better transport of oxygen within the body and slower cell aging than with an omnivorous diet. And this is a significant sport advantage in developing endurance and recovering after exertion.
In addition, vegan nutrition will facilitate the loss of fat mass , in part because the general glycemic index of the diet and the caloric density are lower. This is still an interesting point for top athletes since performance depends directly on their weight, their weight / power ratio.
Finally, if we could name one last (there are many others), we could talk about the greater presence of micronutrients in the diet (vitamins, minerals, oligo – elements…). Still not taken seriously enough, micronutrients are nevertheless essential for athletic performance because they play a major role in the body’s chemical reactions and in energy metabolization.
Not many vegan athletes?
Even though there are more and more vegan athletes, they are still a minority compared to omnivorous athletes. The clichés are still present about the impossibility of being athletic and vegan and it is not necessarily easy to overcome this mental barrier.
The most effective way to overcome this mental barrier is to remain open-minded, to be informed (often abroad because we are quite behind in France) and to have your own experience. Athletes are role models for many people. And as explained in the previous article, if they choose to no longer consume products of animal origin, it is no coincidence , it is a decision that was not taken lightly.
Athletes who are vegan and who have equivalent or superior performance to omnivorous athletes should be followed closely, they are the ones who will change mentalities! To go further, you can download now the free starter guide to vegetarian / vegan sports nutrition and bodybuilding by clicking here . Train with the heart, eat with the heart.