‘Vegans are Weak’
There has been this popular misconception for a while now, that relates people with vegan diets as being low in performance or being weak because of their diet. And because of this, athletes and gym enthusiasts are unwilling to ditch meat. A new study from Montreal disproves this misconception, that you need to eat meat to be more athletically performing.
New Research: A Win for Veganism
According to the study, it’s now scientifically safe to say; a vegan diet enhances athletic performance. According to the researchers, vegans have higher endurance levels than non-vegans or omnivores. The study was carried put by a group of exercise scientists in the Department of Exercise Science at the University of Québec. They examined muscle strength differences between vegan and omnivore participants.
With 56 female participants, half of them, vegan for two years, and the other half not. The study found out that the vegan athletes had better VO2 Max (which is the maximum rate of oxygen consumption measured during incremental exercise) and also could work harder before reaching exhaustion, what the physiologist call “submaximal endurance” also known as hitting the wall.
The Game Changers
There is a lot of interest and research regarding the effectiveness of plant-based diets in athletics. Documentaries like The Game Changers feature high preforming professional plant-based athletes, and world-class stars like NBA MVP Chris Paul who recently said that eating a plant-based diet helps him keep up with teammates half his age.
The body burns complex carbohydrates as fuel which is found in vegetables, grains, legumes, fruits, and nuts (plant-based diets) and rarely burns protein, which is alternatively found in meat-based diets. Plants based diet has a higher amount of carbohydrates in which the body can absorb fast and get energy readily from it when it is in need of it.
The researchers drew the conclusion that “evidence has suggested that greater carbohydrate intake may be associated with better endurance performance, and this could be due to higher muscle glycogen storage” in the vegan athletes.
The researcher looks at strength, measured on leg and arm press machines, and as well as endurance on a stationary bike. They measured how long the athletes could ride at 70% of their peak power until they reached exhaustion. They also measured body composition and VO2 max. And the vegans came out more performing than their omnivores counterparts. “We are the ﬁrst study, to our knowledge. To show that a vegan diet may be associated with a better submaximal endurance performance. Which is independent of VO2 max levels.”
The VO2 max also called the maximal oxygen uptake. Which shows the amount of oxygen a person can utilize during intense exercise showed that. “Vegans had a significantly higher estimated VO2 max (44.5 ± 5.2 vs. 41.6 ± 4.6 ml/kg/min; p = 0.03, respectively) and submaximal endurance time to exhaustion (12.2 ± 5.7 vs. 8.8 ± 3.0 min; p = 0.007, respectively) compared with omnivores.”
“To conclude, the study showed that submaximal endurance might be better in vegans compared with omnivores. Therefore, these ﬁndings contradict the popular belief of the general population.”
The researchers also added: “other potential mechanisms that may explain the better endurance performance in vegans could be due to favorable oxidative stress. And inflammation proﬁles.”
The study is titled Is A Vegan Diet Detrimental To Endurance And Muscle Strength?