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Plant Based / Vegan Diet

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Tt Gold View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tt Gold Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/14/2018 at 2:02pm
A lot of diets work, but health wise some are horrible.
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Joo Se Kev View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Joo Se Kev Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Yesterday at 2:07pm

Wow guys! I’ve read this whole thread and I must say I’m impressed with the discussion so far. This can be a very controversial topic and all to often I see threads like this go down in flames.

It must be the naturally high intelligence, good nature, and sound judgment of table tennis players making the difference here Wink

I’d like to weigh in briefly, if you don’t mind.

I’ll be leaving any ethical considerations out of my response. I’m only going to be speaking about the potential benefits and drawbacks to veganism as it relates to health and performance.

Let’s also be wary of personal anecdotes; for while an anecdote may feel useful and relevant for the person giving it, I’m sure we could find just as many people with positive anecdotes following a totally different approach (there’s even people who swear by drinking paint thinner for health, for example).

I’ll stick to what the research says and try to present the evidence as objectively as I can.

1. General health/mortality: 

If you compare a vegan diet to the average diet of the general population, there is a clear advantage in favor of the vegan diet. Both in overall health and life expectancy.

This shouldn’t be a surprise though because those who practice veganism or vegetarianism also tend to be more health-conscious in general: they’re usually wealthier, exercise more, smoke/drink less, and eat more fruits/veggies than the average person.

These things are confounding variables that make it difficult to parse out what is causing the improved health outcomes. Is it the lack of meat/animal products or simply the extra fruits/veggies/exercise along with a reduction of highly processed and refined foods that are causing the improved health?

Maybe the meat/animal products are the proverbial “baby” being thrown out with the bathwater?

Indeed, when measures are taken to account for these factors, vegan/vegetarian diets don’t seem to be any better (or worse) for life expectancy than other diets followed by health-conscious individuals (1,2).

2. Performance:

While you might not gain any special performance benefits through a vegan diet, it’s probably not going to hurt your performance either--provided your diet is set up properly (3,4).

Your Omega 3s, vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, iodine, iron, and zinc levels are all things that can be tough to hit optimal ranges of without supplementation. 

Additionally, it may be wise to shoot for a slightly higher protein intake as the quality of vegan-based protein sources is lower on average (leucine, in particular, is noticeably low in most sources).

So, for a vegan athlete looking to optimize body composition, a pea + rice protein powder blend has a very favorable amino acid profile and is a good option if you need to supplement your protein intake.

The literature on soy is somewhat mixed and I would advise males to limit intake somewhat just as a precautionary measure.

The takeaway:

Overall, you can absolutely perform at an elite level athletically following a vegan diet, and there’s plenty of data showing it can be a perfectly healthy way to live (provided the diet is well constructed).

If you want to follow the diet for moral/ethical reasons, or you simply like how you feel on it, then go for it!

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