According to the Vegan Society there are now a whopping 600,000 vegans in the UK, which represents a 400 per cent rise since 2014. Given that so many of us are now happy to eat a meat-free diet, chances are you’ve considered it too. But can a vegan diet and a muscle-building regime ever live in harmony?
We’re here to tell you that can, and what’s more, a vegan diet can actually enhance your bulking credentials. So you’re able to separate fact from all the bull, here are five myths, debunked by science. If any of these are the reason you’re hesitating about swapping to a vegan diet, then perhaps you should rethink your position on going green.
Myth #01 Sticking to a Vegan Diet Is Expensive
With trend-hopping celebrities queuing up to crow about their lavish plant-based lifestyles on Instagram, it’s not surprising that the vegan diet is often linked to overpriced food. Your increased appetite for vegan ice creams, cheeses and imitation meats does come at a cost but, in reality, a normal plant-based diet is one of the most inexpensive and sustainable ways to eat, explains PT Callum Melly.
The best ways to cash in? First, fruit and veg can be purchased frozen or canned, cutting down on costs and reducing food waste with minimal nutritional downsides – another enduring food myth. If you have a bit of time to cook them, grains and legumes are better value dried than canned. Meanwhile, go and visit your grocer – their local, in-season produce will be cheaper than off-season produce at supermarkets.
Bottom Line: If you’re willing to splash your cash on vegan meat alternatives to ease your transition, by all means fill your boots with vegan mayonnaise, coconut cheese and soya nuggets. But they aren’t a necessity; nor do they have many health benefits. Get back to the basics of a plant-based diet with dried, frozen and seasonal ingredients and you will easily trim the fat from your weekly expenses – and possibly your waistline, too.
Myth #02 You’ll Be Hungry and Tired All the Time
Slicing steak from your diet might be a blow, but the simplest way to dispel the myth of veganism’s negative impact on hunger and performance is to remember that elite athletes such as Lewis Hamilton, Jermain Defoe and the UFC’s Nate Diaz have made the switch successfully. And it makes sense. A diet of wholegrains, pulses and starchy vegetables is associated with improved gut health and satiety. A lack of red meat may make vegans susceptible to deficiencies in energy-boosting B vitamins and iron, but these can be supplemented in pill form or, even better, by eating extra portions of leafy greens and nuts. Plant protein is associated with better insulin regulation, too, which stops blood sugar spikes and afternoon energy slumps.
Bottom Line: Greens and grains may not seem satisfying to former carnivores, but the science disagrees. According to the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, fibre
from starchy vegetables and beans increases satiety, curbing hunger and keeping energy levels steady through the day.
Myth #03 You Won’t Consume Enough Protein to Build Muscle
Your favourite macro actually originates from plants. Only our green allies can take nitrogen from the air, break apart those molecules and transform them into amino acids. Essentially, animals have become the middlemen between us and protein, says Melly.
So, you don’t need to consume animal tissue to get your protein fix. Indeed, many plants boast more protein per calorie than meat. Take broccoli: 100kcal contains about 11g of protein, whereas 100kcal of lean steak offers around 6g. Obviously, you’d have to eat a forest of broccoli to reach 100kcal, but the benefits of cutting out the excess calories, fat and cholesterol that come with animal protein are certainly worth chewing over.
Bottom Line: Grains, pulses and vegetables offer a perfectly adequate amount of protein to fuel performance and maximise growth and recovery. The key, however, is to use a variety of sources to ensure you consume the full range of amino acids.
Myth #04 For Strong Bones You Need Calcium from Dairy
Plant-based “milk” is now the go-to for almost 25 per cent of Britons, with sales of oat alternatives surging by 70 per cent. Studies have shown that cutting out dairy can cause deficiencies that lead to aches, pains and more potent DOMS, but you can ensure long-term bone strength by using a calcium-enriched, plant-based substitute in your post-session shake. Most soya-based drinks contain 120mg of calcium per 100ml: about the same as cow’s milk.
Bottom Line: Preventing calcium deficiency and weak bones is simple: drink a calcium-fortified nut milk and make sure you’re topped up with vitamin D. The NHS advises that the sunshine vitamin is essential to metabolising calcium in your diet, supporting a strong skeleton.
Myth #05 Fish Are the Only Good Source of Omega-3 Fats
When someone mentions omega-3 fatty acids and their benefits to your body and brain, the first things that spring to mind are salmon and fish-oil pills. But seeds such as chia and hemp are potent sources of the omega ALA, as well as being rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fibre and protein. For the other two – EPA and DHA – algae supplements will meet your needs. In short, there are scientifically sound, plant-based ways to maintain your intake and take a bite out of your heart disease and Alzheimer’s risks.
Bottom Line: Nuts and seeds are equal to any salmon fillet when it comes to supporting weight loss, joint health, recovery and physical and mental performance. They’re a game-changing addition to your shopping list and will boost protein in any breakfast, from smoothies to overnight oats. It couldn’t be easier to plant the seeds of holistic health.
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Source: Thanks https://www.menshealth.com/uk/nutrition/a30428986/vegan-myths/