I’ll be sure to forward this article to my vegetarian gym buddies
Nutritional Tips for Vegetarian Lifters
November 06 2009
Here are some nutritonal tips fore vegetarain lifters:
Low Total Calories in Vegetarian Diets
It has been shown that energy intake is usually lower for vegetarians than non –vegetarians.
Vegetarian lifters should try keeping a count of their total calories and get more energy dense, low fiber foods.
High Carbohydrates in Vegetarian Diets
Almost 50-65% of the total calories came from carbs for vegans and 50-55% for a lacto-ovo vegetarian.
The high carbs are good for endurance athlete but it is not so great if you into lifting. As you will see, the high carbs minimizes the availability of protein in the vegetarian diets.
Low Protein in Vegetarian Diets
Vegetarian diets generally contain less protein than meat diets. Among lacto-ovo and vegan diets, vegans tend to have the lowest protein intake (around 10-12%).
Meal Combing for Proteins
Since plant proteins are incomplete proteins(lacking or insufficient amount of a few amino acids), food combining is recommended to make it a compete protein.
For example, by combing grains & legumes (rice and beans) in the same meal, you get the missing amino acids and make it a complete protein .
Now it is known that you don’t have to have it in the same meal as long as you have a variety of foods throughout the course of the day.
Low Creatine levels in vegetarians
It has been shown that creatine levels are pretty low in vegetarians.
Supplementing creatine to vegetarian diets has shown increase in muscle and strength significantly. So it won’t be a bad idea to use creatine.
Low Iron Absorption in Vegetarian Diets
Studies have shown vegetarians get ample iron, but iron absorption is impaired.
Consumption of fresh fruits, vegetables and juices rich in vitamin C can enhance Iron absorption in vegetarians.
Low Zinc levels in Vegetarian Diets
Total zinc intake is lower in vegetarians compared to non-vegetarians. Also strenuous exercises increases zinc loss from the body.
Like iron, zinc absorption also seems to be a problem in vegetarians. Soaking beans, grains & seeds increases zinc absorption or bio-availibilty.
Vitamin B12, Riboflavin, D, & Calcium
Vegetarians, especially vegans, are at risk of low intake of these nutrients because the main sources of these are animal products.
Fortified foods like breakfast cereals and soy products are the only source of B12 for vegans.
Thank you so much! I am a vegetarian and this was very informative for me!
Anoop | Thu November 12, 2009
Hi Lisa and Mumford,
Thanks for the comments and glad that I could help. I have added a reference too.