Vegan diet not detrimental to endurance, muscle strength
A vegan diet appears to have no harmful effect on endurance and muscle strength among healthy young lean women, suggests a study.
“In the general population, there is a popular belief that a vegan diet may be associated with a lower exercise performance due to the lack of certain nutrients in vegan individuals,” the authors said.
To determine whether this popular belief was accurate or not, 56 healthy young lean physically active women (mean age, 25.6±4.1 years; body mass index, 22±1.9 kg/m2) were examined and classified as vegan (n=28) or omnivore (n=28) based on their eating habits. All participants followed either a vegan or an omnivore diet for at least 2 years.
The authors also measured the following: anthropometric dimensions, body composition, estimated maximal oxygen consumption (VO2 max), a submaximal endurance test (70 percent of VO2 max), muscle strength (leg and chest press), and dietary factors.
Physical activity levels, body mass index, percent body fat, lean body mass, and muscle strength were comparable between the two groups. However, vegans had a significantly higher estimated VO2 max (44.5±5.2 vs 41.6±4.6 ml/kg/min; p=0.03) and submaximal endurance time to exhaustion (12.2±5.7 vs 8.8±3.0 min; p=0.007) than omnivores.
“[O]ur study showed that submaximal endurance might be better in vegans compared with omnivores,” the authors said. “Therefore, these findings contradict the popular belief of the general population.”