Feb 1, 2019
Okay to Go Vegetarian?

A new scientific review in the journal Nutrients has found evidence that athletes who eat a plant-based diet enjoy better health, performance and recovery. The study was highlighted in BusinessWire.

“It’s no wonder that more and more athletes are racing to a vegan diet,” James Loomis, co-author of the review and Medical Director for the Barnard Medical Center, said. “Whether you’re training for a couch-to-5K or an Ironman Triathlon, a plant-based diet is a powerful tool for improving athletic performance and recovery.”

Plant-based diets are high in carbohydrates, which provide energy during aerobic exercise, and a 2016 study of Ironman triathletes found that less than half of them met their carbohydrate targets.

The study also found that plant-based diets help improve tissue oxygenation and blood flow, as well as reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, thereby helping athletes recover. Susan Levin, Director of Nutrition Education for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, and co-author of the review, recommended a well-balanced plant-based diet.

“Like any endurance athlete, plant-based athletes just need more calories than less active people,” Levin said. “And if they are eating a wide variety of nutrient-dense fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans, they will easily meet all of their nutritional needs.”

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