Is A Vegetarian Diet Adequate for Endurance Athletes?

Thanks for coming back!

Now here’s another post for your benefit.images

In this post I want to uncover a scientific article from the
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

I know what you’re thinking. I promise this won’t be complicated and you will understand it, with ease.

I’m going to go over my opinion then some key points.

My Thoughts and Review:

This is one of many scientific articles I will uncover and review for you simply in the future.

I wanted to start with this article because it covers (most) peoples skepticism of whether a vegetarian diet is healthy for athletes.  As an ultra endurance vegan athlete myself I enjoy settling this one by evidence and personal experience. I guess the proof is in the pudding, as they say.

I very much appreciated the points of this review article in the AJCN. I found the concerns and reasoning to be fair. The overall conclusion from the author David C Neiman was that a vegetarian diet is adequate for physical exercise although provides no advantage when carbohydrate intake is controlled for.

The author also notes that a vegetarian diet has the potential of sub-optimal nutrient intake if the diet is too restrictive. But, then also notes that

this concern exists for all athletes, vegetarian or nonvegetarian, who have poor dietary habits.

Like this concern and reasoning, they’re 2 other concerns that were raised in this article followed by fair reasoning.

I’d like to showcase those in the following points:

1. Is the Bio-availability of Zinc, Iron, and trace minerals adequate?

Well in the review, dietary fiber, phytic acid (found in grains), and tannic acid (found in teas) are recognized as reducing the bio-availability of some nutrients. Non-heme iron (found in plants) is also not absorbed as well as heme iron (found in animals).

After, the author states that fruits and vegetables contain vitamin C and citric acid which enhances nutrient bio-availability and states,

Most studies have failed to show that vegetarians have impaired trace element status. It appears that the bodies of vegetarians can adapt by increasing the absorption of trace elements.

2. Do vegetarians get enough protein?

This is pretty straight forward. David, the author states right from the start of the section of protein intake:

All essential and nonessential amino acids can be supplied by plant food sources alone as long as a variety of foods is consumed and energy intake is adequate to meet needs. The American Dietetic Association has advised that consciously combining various plant foods within a given meal is unnecessary.

It’s thought that vegetarian athletes don’t get enough protein but David reconciles by noting that although vegetarian athletes don’t get as much protein as non-vegetarians but vegetarians still

Meet or exceed dietary recommendations for protein.

Conclusion:

Well that wasn’t so bad was it?

I’m glad you made it through that and took some valuable information away.

Those are the key point I’m highlighting about the review article by David C Neiman. There’s much more covered in the article so if you’d like to read it yourself then I will cite it below:

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/70/3/570s.full?sid=f60ef909-62a9-4995-a059-56ec0cba3ada

If you enjoyed this read I would greatly appreciate you passing it on to others who’d benefit from this.

Even better yet, please subscribe.

I’d like to leave you with a quote of leadership:

Leaders aren’t the ones who tell others to do what is needed, leaders inspire others to make the change themselves by being the shining example.

-Anonymous

 

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