Athletics

Vegetarian and Omnivorous Nutrition - Comparing Physical Performance

Humans consuming vegetarian-based diets are observed to have reduced relative risk for many chronic diseases. Similarly, regular physical activity has also been shown to assist in preventing, and reducing the severity of these conditions. Many people, including athletes, acknowledge these findings and are adopting a vegetarian-based diet to improve their health status.

Physical fitness and vegetarian diets: is there a relation?

The available evidence supports neither a beneficial nor a detrimental effect of a vegetarian diet on physical performance capacity, especially when carbohydrate intake is controlled for. Concerns have been raised that an emphasis on plant foods to enhance carbohydrate intake and optimize body glycogen stores may lead to increases in dietary fiber and phytic acid intake to concentrations that reduce the bioavailability of several nutrients, including zinc, iron, and some other trace minerals.

Nutritional considerations for vegetarian athletes.

With the growing interest in the potential health benefits of plant-based diets, it is relevant to consider whether vegetarian dietary practices could influence athletic performance. Accordingly, this review examines whether nutrients that may differ between vegetarian and omnivorous diets could affect physical performance. We also describe recent studies that attempt to assess the effects of a vegetarian diet on performance and comment on other nutritional aspects of vegetarianism of relevance to athletes.

Vegetarian diets : nutritional considerations for athletes.

The quality of vegetarian diets to meet nutritional needs and support peak performance among athletes continues to be questioned. Appropriately planned vegetarian diets can provide sufficient energy and an appropriate range of carbohydrate, fat and protein intakes to support performance and health. The acceptable macronutrient distribution ranges for carbohydrate, fat and protein of 45-65%, 20-35% and 10-35%, respectively, are appropriate for vegetarian and non-vegetarian athletes alike, especially those who perform endurance events.

Long-term low-calorie low-protein vegan diet and endurance exercise are associated with low cardiometabolic risk.

BACKGROUND: Western diets, which typically contain large amounts of energy-dense processed foods, together with a sedentary lifestyle are associated with increased cardiometabolic risk. We evaluated the long-term effects of consuming a low-calorie low-protein vegan diet or performing regular endurance exercise on cardiometabolic risk factors.

Fueling the vegetarian (vegan) athlete.

Vegetarian diets are associated with several health benefits, but whether a vegetarian or vegan diet is beneficial for athletic performance has not yet been defined. Based on the evidence in the literature that diets high in unrefined plant foods are associated with beneficial effects on overall health, lifespan, immune function, and cardiovascular health, such diets likely would promote improved athletic performance as well.

Low-protein vegetarian diet does not have a short-term effect on blood acid-base status but raises oxygen consumption during submaximal cycling.

BACKGROUND: Acid-base balance refers to the equilibrium between acids and bases in the human body. Nutrition may affect acid-base balance and further physical performance. With the help of PRAL (potential renal acid load), a low-protein vegetarian diet (LPVD) was designed to enhance the production of bases in body. The aim of this study was to investigate if LPVD has an effect on blood acid-base status and performance during submaximal and maximal aerobic cycling.

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