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Pros & Cons of a Vegan Diet for Weight Loss & Cycling Performance?

Moderator: Tonton

27 Mar 2014 09:07

Vegetarians do not eat chicken. Or fish. The clue is in the name.
User avatar King Boonen
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28 Mar 2014 01:39

King Boonen wrote:Vegetarians do not eat chicken. Or fish. The clue is in the name.


Not quite true. There are different levels of what is considered meat and/or non-meat.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vegetarianism
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28 Mar 2014 01:58

durianrider wrote:I rode with Team Sky a couple hundred miles in Jan. They are playing with plant foods to increase performance. Endothelium cells produce the NO2. High carb low fat vegan diet best support endothelium cell health. I call it 'nutritional blood doping'.


Interesting. You've got me looking into endothelial function.
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28 Mar 2014 04:13

hiero2 wrote:Not quite true. There are different levels of what is considered meat and/or non-meat.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vegetarianism


Not quite true. From the article:

"Vegetarianism is the practice of abstaining from the consumption of meat – red meat, poultry, seafood and the flesh of any other animal; it may also include abstention from by-products of animal slaughter."

"Semi-vegetarian diets consist largely of vegetarian foods, but may include fish or poultry, or sometimes other meats, on an infrequent basis. Those with diets containing fish or poultry may define meat only as mammalian flesh and may identify with vegetarianism. A pescetarian diet has been described as "fish but no other meat". The common use association between such diets and vegetarianism has led vegetarian groups such as the Vegetarian Society to state that diets containing these ingredients are not vegetarian, due to fish and birds being animals."

Semi-vegetarian and pescetarian are not vegetarian and this distinction is plainly made in this article.
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28 Mar 2014 04:35

durianrider wrote:I rode with Team Sky a couple hundred miles in Jan. They are playing with plant foods to increase performance. Endothelium cells produce the NO2. High carb low fat vegan diet best support endothelium cell health. I call it 'nutritional blood doping'.


Your usual opinion-based, non-scientific rubbish, DR.

The results of nitric oxide on athletic performance are inconsistent over decades of research. The best results are in untrained athletes, but these are still inconsistent, and there is no effect in trained athletes. From the most recent publication on nitric oxide and atheltic performance (Bescos et al: The Effect of nitric-oxide-related supplements on human performance. Sports Med, 2012): "Several studies using NO donors have assessed this hypothesis in a healthy, trained population. However, the conclusions from these studies showed several discrepancies. While some reported that dietary supplementation with NO donors induced benefits in exercise performance, others did not find any positive effect. In this regard, training status of the subjects seems to be an important factor linked to the ergogenic effect of NO supplementation. Studies involving untrained or moderately trained healthy subjects showed that NO donors could improve tolerance to aerobic and anaerobic exercise. However, when highly trained subjects were supplemented, no positive effect on performance was indicated."

There is only one paper I can find on endothelial health, nitric oxide production, and vegan diets, and this paper by McCarty reports an increased risk of strokes in vegans because vegan diets down-regulate IGF-1 which decreases nitric oxide synthase and thus endothelial health and increases the risk of strokes in vegans: "IGF-I acts on vascular endothelium to activate nitric oxide synthase, thereby promoting vascular health; there is reason to believe that this protection is especially crucial to the cerebral vasculature, helping to ward off thrombotic strokes. IGF-I may also promote the structural integrity of cerebral arteries, thereby offering protection from hemorrhagic stroke. These considerations may help to explain why tallness is associated with low stroke risk, whereas growth hormone deficiency increases stroke risk--and why age-adjusted stroke mortality has been exceptionally high in rural Asians eating quasi-vegan diets, but has been declining steadily in Asia as diets have become progressively higher in animal products. There is good reason to suspect that low-fat vegan diets tend to down-regulate systemic IGF-I activity; this effect would be expected to increase stroke risk in vegans."

Other papers report the beneficial effect of cocoa polyphenols, black and green tea, red wine, pomegranate, walnuts and superoxide dismutase on endothelial function and nitric oxide production. No paper that I can find mentions improved endothelial function and/or nitric oxide production with a vegan diet. Any diet that causes inflammation, which includes carbohydrate-based diets, will results in endothelial damage and potentially arteriosclerosis.
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28 Mar 2014 10:35

hiero2 wrote:Not quite true. There are different levels of what is considered meat and/or non-meat.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vegetarianism


No, there aren't. There are people who just give up red meat, or will only eat fish, but there are not different levels of what is considered meat.

If you eat meat you are not a vegetarian.
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29 Apr 2014 17:49

One of the best ever Aussie Rule's footballers just keeps getting better ... on a paleo diet. Before DR starts to criticize the comparison of a professional footballer with other endurance sports, roaming positions like Gary Ablett plays will regularly run 20-25km in a 2hr game (let alone all the training during the week).

http://www.theage.com.au/afl/afl-news/gary-abletts-paleo-diet-the-secret-to-his-success-20140325-hvmir.html

http://www.theage.com.au/afl/afl-news/how-gary-ablett-became-just-a-little-bit-more-perfect-20140429-zr1f0.html
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04 May 2014 09:45

elapid wrote:One of the best ever Aussie Rule's footballers just keeps getting better ... on a paleo diet. Before DR starts to criticize the comparison of a professional footballer with other endurance sports, roaming positions like Gary Ablett plays will regularly run 20-25km in a 2hr game (let alone all the training during the week).

http://www.theage.com.au/afl/afl-news/gary-abletts-paleo-diet-the-secret-to-his-success-20140325-hvmir.html

http://www.theage.com.au/afl/afl-news/how-gary-ablett-became-just-a-little-bit-more-perfect-20140429-zr1f0.html


Paleo diet is a fad, the article even stated he doesn't actually follow it properly. An athlete will perform poorly if they strictly follow the paleo diet. It's a good start in that it cuts processed fake food, but to low on carbs for my liking.
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04 May 2014 11:30

I rode 400k with a vegan yesterday and got my legs ripped off.

No issues with fitness or energy levels.

It was me who was hanging on for dear life all the way round.
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04 May 2014 16:28

No arguments with vegan diet per se (or any diet for that matter, hence the paleo diet post). DR is obviously a very good cyclist, as are other vegans. But there are plenty of very good cyclists (and athletes) consuming diets with varying protein and carbohydrate and fat contents, and from plant and animal sources, and performing just as well or better (and worse) than vegan athletes. DR is passionate about being vegan, which I have no issue with, but when his passion spills over to unenlightened denigration and intolerance of the dietary habits of others because of DR's good results alone (he is a walking anecdote) and all of his anti-non-vegan rheoteric remains unsubstantiated then I will take issue with this stance.

@ bike_boy - Paleo diets are not a fad. Every "fad" diet from the late 1800s onwards has centered on high protein, low carbohydrate diets. The latest of these have been Paleo, Atkins and South Beach diet. One of the problems with this thread has been the confusion of whether we are debating nutrition for endurance sports or diets for weight loss. For the latter, most of the evidence points towards low fat diets being ineffective for sustained weight loss and low carbohydrate (particularly refined/processed carbohydrates), high protein diets being the most effective.
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14 May 2014 11:35

bike_boy wrote:An athlete will perform poorly if they strictly follow the paleo diet.


On what grounds? Depends on the effort I guess, long enough and you may need glucose to keep you going?

Aus cricket doctor:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMuD4Z-Oxys
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long time vegan-vegetarian + cyclist

04 Jun 2014 16:29

I became intrigued by your posts (DR et al) and, as a long time cyclist (prob 250K+ miles lifetime with ~140K miles in last 20yrs) and 40+ yr vegetarian-vegan, felt compelled to offer a perspective of the 'older vegetarian-vegan athlete'. Recently, I've become a bit more aware of the importance of gut biota and cross training which are key misunderstood components- from both fitness/weight loss perspectives and an overall health standpoint. Further, folks in different parts of the world might find that just eating fruit or super high carbohydrate diets for enhancing fitness/weight loss to be counterproductive/unhealthy. It is entirely possible to have a vegetarian or vegan diet full of junk foods (ie, chips, cookies, soda, etc.) without animal products. Thus, a diet with these compositions would be unlikely to produce much health or performance benefits. For instance, I recently ran a 10K in a pretty food savvy part of the world- the snack bag after was chock full of non nutritive crap (candy bars, chips, soda with HFCS, etc). Frankly, the organic bacon smoothies offered by the spectators along the route might have been a healthier snack choice.

So, IMHO you have to strike a balance. It is true that many high profile athletes (Dave Scott, Carl Lewis, Robt Parish, Adrian Foster/Aaron Hernandez, Scott Jurek, Navratilova, etc) have been vegetarian or vegan. Thus, there's a good body of both evidence over a considerable period of time that it's a workable / successful strategy. What may be missing is how they manage things on a day to day (or longer) basis. For instance, Jurek wrote an article (Competitor magazine) recently where he stated that during the winter/fall months, he ratchets down the training and gains some weight (like 5-10 lbs) to recalibrate his system. A few yrs back I was 60-62kg which was simply too light for the type of riding I do in CO and hard to maintain over a year to year basis (ie, too little body fat to maintain comfort in sub freezing weather). Thus, I allowed myself to gain a few kg which was a more optimal and healthier weight point for me personally. I didn't find it limited my climbing or overall fitness and I felt/looked better for my height.

At different times of the year, different foods (both organic and non organic) are available and plentiful; perhaps necessary for long term health and fitness. For instance, there is more to the calcium and osteoporosis issue than calcium supplements- IIRC it's really more a balance between Ca/Mg and phosphorus based on some of the reading I've done. Robbin's _Diet for a New America_ had a nice explanation on the topic.

While food choices and sports hobbies can be personal, they're also inherently social activities and geared towards optimal health. Further, being able to have some intelligent dialogue about these without entrenched responses from different perspectives is healthy as well.
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04 Jun 2014 18:31

bikedog wrote:While food choices and sports hobbies can be personal, they're also inherently social activities and geared towards optimal health. Further, being able to have some intelligent dialogue about these without entrenched responses from different perspectives is healthy as well.


+1. Well said.
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14 Jun 2014 10:28

Durian, I'm a high carb, low fat vegan. 5'11, 153 pounds. What's your opinion on plant based vegan protein powders? Still too hard on your kidneys?
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14 Jun 2014 10:34

I'll be the first to say Durian is correct. I've been a vegan 15 months, and a low fat, high carb vegan for about 4 months. It's incredible how you can eat and the weight just burns right off. I'm now less than 10% body fat, and seeing veins in my arms and legs I never knew existed.
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14 Jun 2014 20:33

I try to eat less than 30 grams of fat per day, but no restrictions on calories or sugar. However, this article says that fat is one of the most important things for a rider.
http://cyclistsinternational.com/how-to-eat-like-a-tour-de-france-pro/
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20 Sep 2014 04:36

[SIZE="4"]Health officials warn of vegan dangers for kids[/SIZE]

As veganism gains popularity in Switzerland, federal authorities are warning that a diet without animal products carries health risks for young children.
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20 Sep 2014 12:56

StyrbjornSterki wrote:[SIZE="4"]Health officials warn of vegan dangers for kids[/SIZE]

As veganism gains popularity in Switzerland, federal authorities are warning that a diet without animal products carries health risks for young children.


Nonsence. A balanced vegan diet is not only healthy, it is beneficial. If people cannot meet their RDD, just take supplements. They are cheap, you know. And that article is so vague. They state 'dangers', yet only mention B12, and then supposedly quote federal authorities but provide no sources.
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20 Sep 2014 15:35

Eating animals tastes better than food supplements though.
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22 Sep 2014 08:17

Amazinmets73 wrote:I'll be the first to say Durian is correct. I've been a vegan 15 months, and a low fat, high carb vegan for about 4 months. It's incredible how you can eat and the weight just burns right off. I'm now less than 10% body fat, and seeing veins in my arms and legs I never knew existed.


Is the weight coming off because you are vegan or because by being on a low fat / hi carb diet you are having a lower calorie intake than before do you think? (Genuine question not trying to start a flame war).

The reason I ask is that I could see that a similar thing could be obtained if you still continued to eat meat / dairy - for instance skinless, grilled chicken breast (or pork loin) is virtually fat free (and therefore low calorie).

Vegetables (and fruit) are fantastic for weight loss (as long as they are not smothered in butter, cream, etc - which in a vegan diet of course they wouldnt be) - you get full long before you hit your daily target calories.

Also since you became vegan have you trained harder at all or at the same level? Again just trying to judge what is causing the weight / body change - ie is it some 'miracle' diet like the ones the celebs claim or is it just basic physiology : less calories taken in than used up = weight loss.
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