The Vegetarians Guide To Building Muscle

Posted on 02-May-2016 by Kripa Jalan

The Vegetarians Guide To Building Muscle

In the world of bodybuilding, it’s almost a cardinal sin to be vegetarian. You’ll constantly be hit with, “You’re not getting enough protein.” Or “You can’t make gains if you’re vegetarian.” How true are these statement? While a non-vegetarian diet has it’s place, being vegetarian has it’s own benefits. Since time immemorial, vegetarianism has been associated with a healthier and longer life. Not just that, a plant based diet is solely capable of provide your body with most of the nutrients it needs. That too, without factoring in the unhealthy aspects of an animal product based diet, like raising LDL cholesterol (the unhealthy kind). Most animals are raised in overcrowded farms and fed a range of possibly viscous hormones. So by keeping those animal products at bay, you’re likely to have healthier cholesterol levels, consume less saturated fat and eat more fibrous and nourishing foods.

Here’s what the “American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition” has to say:

“Risks of dietary deficiency disease are increased on vegan but not on all vegetarian diets. Evidence for decreased risks for certain chronic degenerative diseases varies. Both vegetarian dietary and lifestyle practices are involved. Data are strong that vegetarians are at lesser risk for obesity, atonic constipation, lung cancer, and alcoholism. Evidence is good that risks for hypertension, coronary artery disease, type II diabetes, and gallstones are lower.” 

Let’s clear something’s up first. There’s a stark difference between being vegetarian and being vegan, the latter is not a short form for the former. A standard vegetarian diet excludes meat, poultry and seafood. While a standard vegan diet, in addition to eliminating the same, also excludes animal products. That entails animal milk and eggs.

Moving on.

The Case for Non Vegetarians:

Vegetarian diets can be restrictive. Not just in terms of the options available, while dining out but also in terms of the nutrients they supply. Rich in whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy and nuts, they pack heaps of fiber, antioxidants, Vitamin C, E and other minerals. However, they are significantly lower in calories, Omega 3 fatty acids and the essential fatty acids EPA and DHA, minerals like Iron and Zinc and Vitamin B12 when compared to meat products.

The Case for Vegetarians:

A study conducted at The Preventive Medical Research Institute in California, found that individuals who followed a low fat, vegetarian diet not just lost more weight than their non vegetarian counterparts, but also managed to keep the weight off for a longer period. The typical non vegetarian diet is rich in red meats. Although high in protein and Iron, they are also high in fat. So what does too much fat in your diet do? It could potentially clog your arteries, hindering Oxygen supply to the muscles. That will in turn mark a significant decrease in performance. At the other end of the spectrum, a vegetarian diet is rich in fiber and complex carbs, foods that will supply plenty of sustained energy and the efficient removal of wastes.

If you’re looking to lose weight a vegetarian diet may be a great option. But if you’re looking to build muscle, the process might take slightly longer. It’s not impossible though. So how do you make the best of the situation?


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