March 26th, 2018

Rise in Vegan Athletes Debunks Myths About Protein Deficiency

Heather+Mills+Alpine+Ski+Racer

According to a report released by Report Buyer, Top Trends in Prepared Foods 2017, in the United States alone, veganism has risen from 1% in 2014 to 6% in 2017. Veganism and plant-based diets have been on the rise in the last few years, as more people are informed on the ethical, environmental, and health impacts of animal agriculture. With the release of the popular Netflix documentaries like What the Health that explain the health benefits of a plant-based diet, and the health issues caused by a diet containing animal products, consumers are becoming increasingly vigilant about what they eat.

The rise in veganism has also become popular among top athletes around the world, as the health benefits behind veganism become more widely known and accepted in sports training.

A new documentary, The Game Changers, explores this recent phenomenon among athletes, and features interviews with some of the top athletes in their respective fields who have optimized their athleticism and performance by adopting a vegan diet.

Common stereotypes of vegans is that they do not get enough protein in their diet to sustain a healthy lifestyle. Patrik Bahoumian, Germany’s former strongest man, helps dispel this myth in the documentary. Bahoumian who holds multiple world records in log lift, keg lift, super yoke, and front-hold, has been a vegan for the last three years. In a video for PETA, he explains “my strength needs no victims, my strength is my compassion.”

The documentary also profiles Nimai Delgado, a vegan who was raised vegetarian from birth, and has never eaten meat. Nimai is certified in fitness nutrition by the International Sports Sciences Association and is an IFBB professional bodybuilder.

Australian Olympian Morgan Mitchell went vegan in 2014, before she qualified for the 2016 Summer Olympics in the 400 meter dash and 4x400m relay. Arnold Schwarzenegger, World class ultramarathoner Scott Jurek and 8-time U.S. National Cycling Champion and Olympic Silver Medal Winner Dotsie Bausch are also featured athletes in the documentary.

These athletes are living proof debunking vegan stereotypes, that vegan diets do not yield enough protein or nutrition compared to diets which include meat and dairy. Several world class athletes in different types of sports, from the NFL to Olympians, are beginning to adopt vegan diets and actively advocate in favor of doing so because of the benefits it yields to performance.

Athletes aren’t the only ones taking notice of the health benefits provided by vegan diets, but doctors and scientists have begun to prove the health benefits of veganism and incorporate it into patient care.

Dr. Kim Williams became the first vegan President of the American College of Cardiology in 2014. He noted in the first six weeks of going vegan, his LDL cholesterol levels were reduced by 50%. Meat, eggs, and dairy are very high in cholesterol and have been linked as contributing factors to heart disease, the leading health problem in the United States. Dr. Williams and other cardiologists have recommended to patients that they adopt vegan diets with very favorable results.

Several studies have also linked meat eating with type 2 diabetes. Cardiologists have demonstrated profound positive impacts of a vegan diet for diabetic patients, in which adopting vegan diets have enabled patients to lose weight and alleviate many of the painful symptoms of their diabetes.

Several meat products have been directly linked to cause cancer. The World Health Organization classified processed meats, such as bacon, hot dogs, some deli meats, and sausage, as carcinogens in 2015. Increased risks of colon, pancreatic, and prostate cancer has been linked to processed meat consumption.

The increasing awareness in the health benefits of a plant based diet is having a big impact on athletes and everyday people.  From scientific studies, to athletes who testify to feeling and performing better while practicing a vegan diet, the evidence is mounting in favor of the various health benefits a vegan diet yields.