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No poultry, meat or seafood. Do eat
dairy products including eggs. High
Quality Complete Protein Intake not
As above minus eggs.
Complete Protein Intake not usually
a problem with addition of dairy
products to diet.
Higher Intake of calcium and
Vitamin B12 likely for lacto-ovo VG
& to a lesser extent Lacto VG in
comparison to V. (6)
Avoids all foods derived from
animals in any way including dairy
More limited diet.
At a greater risk for not consuming
all essential amino acids and certain
deficiencies often associated
primarily with Vegans.
1.4% of the population in the U.S are
Vegan compared with 2.3% being
Vegetarian. These are results of 2006
Vegetarian Resource Group
National Poll (25).
High Carbohydrate Intake which is necessary to meet
an athletes training requirements.
Higher than average fruit and veg intake which
provides increased levels of antioxidants.
Higher intake of phytochemicals some which can be
Low in cholesterol. Soya Protein and mycoprotein have
been shown to lower cholesterol. (7,8,9)
Lower blood pressure, lower risk of cancer, type II
diabetes, gallstones and lower obesity levels as well as
better control of blood sugar levels. (15).
Studies have shown reduced risk of coronary heart
disease has been associated with VG diets (15).
Iron: non-heme plant sources of iron only
available to VGs. Not absorbed as well as iron
obtained from meat. Good Sources- cooked
soybeans, tofu, pumpkin seeds, lentils, iron
fortified cereals. (15)
Omega 3 fatty acid:main sources fish, eggs and
sea vegtables. Flaxseed oil good source
suitable for VGs and Vs, walnuts, Quorn
Fishless Fingers enriched with Omega 3.
Zinc: navy beans, pumpkin seeds, dry roasted
soyabeans, soybeans cooked.
Calcium: Low Ca= increased fracture risk for
vegans- very relevant to athletes. Reduced
absorption caused by oxylates e.g spinach and
phytates e.g. Bran, nuts, wholegrains (22) protein,
salt and caffeine. (23)
Vitamin B12: No plant food contains B12 in an
active quantity. (15, 22) Good Sources: dairy, eggs,
fortified foods e.g. Cereal.
Vitamin D: Sun exposure dependant and fortified
foods such as cows milk,soy milk and cereals. (15,
Other levels to check are meeting requirements:
Riboflavin, Iodine, Vitamin K2 and Vitamin A.
- Quorn Products.
-beans ,chick peas,
Wheat protein- When
ccombined with pea
protein has higher
PDCAAS of 0.82 e.g.
- beans, chick peas,
High quality meat-free protein containing all
nine essential amino acids.
Low in fat and high in dietary fibre
Fusarium venenatum is the main ingredient
and is a member of the fungi family.
PDCAAS rating is 0.99. Beef is 0.92. (7)
Main ingredient in Quorn vegetarian food
products. Quorn Pieces have highest possible
PDCAAS score of 1.0. (7)
Content per 100g
Reference for figures in table (7). Amounts in mg/100g.
High CHO contentof Vegetarian diet can benefit endurance
athletes in particular by maintaining muscle glycogen stores.
Endurance athletes often underestimate CHO needs and
often consume too much fat in order to meet high calorie
VG diets by nature are low in fat and high in CHO helping
meet the needs of endurance athletes and to avoid too high a
Many triathletes have adopted VG or near VG diets to meet
Dave Scott- 6 time Ironman Triathlon Champion- strict
Vegetarian mountaineer: Hulda Crooks at age 91-Oxygen
uptake capacity equal to a women thirty years younger. (5)
Oldest women at age 91 to climb Mt Fuji in Japan.
Vegetarians (VG) have a lower total creatine
level than omnivores because the primary
source of creatine is red meat. (10)
In theory VG should be more sensitive to CS
than omnivores and could show greater
improvements from CS than omnivores.
Creatine supplementation has demonstrated a
bigger increase in muscle creatine stores when
ingested by VGs. (10)
Studies have also shown increased mental
performance and memory after CS in VG. (11)
Well planned and balanced vegetarian diets
provide sufficient nutrition to meet any athlete’s
Lacto Ovo Vegetarian in particular provides good nutrition for
athletes particularly for endurance sport. (5)
Vegan athletes in particular can have an increased risk of
deficiencies and may require a B12 supplement as B12 is not
sufficiently available from plant foods.(5)
Special attention should be paid by nutritionists and athletes
themselves to possible deficiencies associated with VG or Vegan
diets and if neccessary, suitable dietary alterations made to
ensure satisfactory levels of protein, iron, calcium, omega 3 fatty
acids and previously mentioned vitamins are met.
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