Vegetarian and vegan runners do not perform better or worse than omnivores
A meatless dietary pattern and even a diet without any animal protein does not make runners perform better or worse than omnivorous athletes. German sports scientists from Leibniz University Hannover report this in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. The researchers determined the performance of omnivore, vegetarian and vegan recreational runners and could not detect any differences.
The researchers recruited 3 groups of recreational runners aged 18-35. One group had an omnivorous diet, another groep had a lacto-ovovegetarian diet and yet another group of runner were vegans. The athletes trained equally intensively.
Each group consisted of about two dozen athletes.
In a laboratory, the researchers got the test subjects to cycle as fast as they could on a cyclometer.
During the exercise test, the athletes in all three groups generated the same amount of power [say: speed]. You can see some small differences in the figure below, but they were not statistically significant.
During the test, the researchers measured the amount of glucose and lactic acid in the test subjects' blood. Again they found no significant differences between the groups.
"The results suggest that there are no differences in exercise capacity between vegan, lacto-ovo-vegetarians and omnivorous recreational runners," write the Germans. "Given current data we conclude that a lacto-ovo vegetarian and also vegan diet might be suitable alternatives for recreational athletes."
"Further long-term intervention studies are needed to clarify the influence of a vegetarian and especially vegan diet on an individual's exercise capacity."
J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2019 May 20;16(1):23.
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