Victorian Institute of Sport

Nutrition Tip | Plant based diet

Monday, 04 November 2019

Plant based diets are getting lots of attention lately, so its time we turn our attention to them and see what all the fuss is about.

Plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains and cereals,  are certainly rich in micronutrients and should be part of a well balanced diet. In fact, most of us could do with eating more of them!  However the currently available research does not suggest any performance benefits to eating a solely plant based diet, and it should be noted that anecdotal reports and stories are not the same as evidence.

As an athlete, following a plant based diet may be achievable, however it requires careful planning and can have its risks if not well done. Animal foods are a great source of good quality protein and other important nutrients.  When these foods are removed from the diet, they need to be replaced to ensure that all of the amino acids, omega 3s, vitamin B12 and minerals such as iron, zinc and calcium, that are also removed, are replaced with other foods.  If not replaced you may be at risk of nutritional deficiencies and/or not meeting performance goals.

If you are still interested in exploring a vegan diet, please reach out to your Sports Dietitian for advice and careful planning.

Likewise, if you’d just like to include more plant foods in your diet…go for it!

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