Vegetarian Diets and Athletic Performance

1 Jul

Vegetarian-Diet[1]There is certainly some discussion and controversy as it relates to vegetarian and vegan athletes, and whether their diets are appropriate to support their activity and benefit their performance.

Here’s an informative resource from Thomas M. Best, MD, PhD, FACSM of The Ohio State University — Vegetarian Diets For The Physically Active Individual.

Dr. Best does a nice job of describing the differences among and between (the different types of) vegetarian and vegan diets.

When discussing vegetarians, exercise, and performance, he states that “The currently available evidence supports neither a beneficial nor a detrimental effect of a vegetarian diet on physical performance capacity.”  There is simply not enough evidence to determine whether a vegetarian or vegan diet is beneficial for athletic performance.

One of the most common dietary considerations for vegetarian athletes is the adequate consumption of several key nutrients, including protein, iron, zinc, calcium, and vitamin B12.  Since these nutrients are more commonly found in foods of animal origin, vegetarian athletes must find suitable plant-based alternatives.

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