Vegan diets: practical advice for athletes and exercisers - Protein

Vegan diets: practical advice for athletes and exercisers - Protein

With the growing popularity of the vegan way of life, a lot of athletes and exercisers decide to change their lifestyle as well and to become vegan. However, being an athlete and being a vegan can have some challenges that need to be accounted for when designing a nutritious diet. This means there need to be paid attention to the intake of nutrients that are excluded due to the elimination of animal products from the diet. These nutrients are the macronutrient protein and the micronutrients vitamin B12, vitamin D, iron, zinc, calcium and iodine.

Macronutrient: Protein

The consensus of the debate about whether athletes require greater amounts of protein than non-athletic populations appears positive. Vegan athletes however appear to consume less protein than their omnivorous and vegetarian counterparts. For their protein supplementation they need the be aware of the quantity and quality of the protein consumes. One problem: plant-based protein sources are often incomplete, missing important essential amino acids, and typically contain less Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) than their animal-based equivalents.

With this statement in our mind, we have developed our protein supplements. In our research to find the right source of protein we focused on beans, legumes, seeds and nuts. These foods are rich sources of Essential Amino Acids (EAA) and can ensure adequate BCAA are consumed to support recovery and adaptation from training.

Consuming a wide range of plant based protein sources

The most important lesson is to consume a variety of plant based proteins in order to meet the protein and amino acids requirements. That is why we have combined several protein rich plant based foods. We use vegan friendly foods such as pea protein, lentil protein, cottonseed protein, pumpkin seeds protein, potato protein, etc.

Supplementation with protein might be of interest vegan athletes, particularly if achieving sufficient protein via wholefoods is either difficult or inconvenient. By doing so, they can keep the biological value due to the presence of all essential amino acids in the protein supplements.

Emerging data is beginning to support the efficacy of plant-based-protein powders at improving recovery from training and fostering muscle hypertrophy as part of a resistance training program.

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