The Vegan Athlete- A Myth!

by Kaizzad Capadia | January 05, 2016 Views :

The vegetarian lobby has always tried to wrongfully convince us that the presence of First Class (Complete EAA profile) Animal source Protein in a diet geared towards improvement in performance & body composition is unnecessary.They would like us to believe that the Protein that Pulses like Soy, Dal, Sprouts, Tofu, etc. provide is as effective at protein synthesis as Eggs, Poultry, Dairy, Fish & Meats.

One of their most often cited arguments in favour of Vegan diets & how they do not compromise strength gains is by citing examples of powerful Herbivorous animals such as the Hippo, Rhino, Elephant, Gorilla, etc. & the quick herbivores such as the Gazelle that sometimes outrun the carnivores.

This for a lay person makes a very convincing argument in favour of the myth that being vegetarian does not in any way come in the way of performance enhancement.

In the interest of education & in the interest of not allowing propaganda; examples taken out of context need to be put in the right perspective. Once the perspective is corrected, it is clear that the simple fact - First Class Animal Sources of Protein are far superior than Second Class Vegetarian Sources of Protein when it comes to protein synthesis remains a fact irrespective of the examples of Herbivorous animals that display enormous strength.

I hence present you the right perspective.

The Pro-Vegetarian arguments have always cited examples of superlative physical performance or work capacity being shown by Vegetarians... The flaw here is that they are taking a static view of the performance as is seen on a given day & not a dynamic view of the improvement of performance over a given period of time...

You cannot compare the performances of the Predators V/S the herbivores... When it comes to Anaerobic Short Bursts of extremely high intensity physical performance, the Predators completely beat the Herbivores... It’s because speed & explosive strength are more integral to the survival of Predators than it is to the Herbivores...

Predators will get extinct from starvation if their herbivorous prey proves to be faster or more powerful than them.

As you go higher and higher up the food chain in the animal kingdom (Do not include humans here), you come across more & more speed, power, explosiveness & strength

The speed of a gazelle does not prove that "First Class Animal Protein is overrated" The fact that the predators are so much stronger with so much more muscle per square inch than the gazelle is how one must look at it..

A Gazelles survival does not depend on its strength & there is always abundant food which is stationery just waiting to be plucked by a Gazelle... Whereas a predator’s daily diet depends on its ability to hunt; this includes outrunning & overpowering another animal...

Even from the point of view of Body Composition, the predators are like the Strength Athletes... Bigger & leaner at the same time... A Tiger is probably thrice the size & weight of a Gazelle BUT is still leaner than a Gazelle...

A young Gazelle might outrun an old Tiger or even a very old Cheetah... But that's like pitting an 80 year old meat eater with an 18 year old vegetarian boy. And even in this scenario... in close quarters the old predators will still win... Please also note that a Gazelle can stay alive only while it’s outrunning the Predator... But once caught... it has absolutely no strength to overpower the predator & get out of its clutches... Forget about a Gazelle... you see these Predators over powering animals twice their size as well...

The deers & gazelles that get away have a huge head start& have sensed the predators long before the predators come in striking distance... Also very importantly & animal flees instead of fighting only when it is clear that it will be overpowered by the adversary… One cannot ignore the fact that the Gazelle runs away from the predator rather than fight it.

On any given day if the predators & herbivorous speedsters are lined up for a race & made to sprint 200 meters at the sound of a gunshot, there would be no guessing required as to who would win the race by far...

A Herbivorous Elephant, Rhino, Hippo may prove to be stronger in terms of absolute strength than the relatively smaller cat family predators... But in terms of relative strength... these relatively smaller carnivores are way way stronger than the huge ungainly herbivores. Their absolute strength comes more from their ability to crush things with their sheer weight rather than raw power generation...

Since POWER= MASS X ACCELERATION... it is the Sheer MASS component that is lending towards POWER more than ACCELERATION...

The Pro-Vegetarian arguments have always cited examples of superlative physical performance or work capacity being shown by Vegetarians... The flaw here is that they are taking a static view of the performance as is seen on a given day & not a dynamic view of the improvement of performance over a given period of time...

Lame examples of a road-side labourer exhibiting a lot of strength in his daily work of breaking stones on a diet of Rotis & Onions are called lame by me because even this specimen would require optimum levels of First Class Animal Source Proteins in his diet, if he was looking towards IMPROVING his performance over his existing impressive level of physical ability...

It is not about how strong you are without adequate protein... It is about getting stronger than you are currently & that is definitely going to be impaired without optimal levels of first class protein in your diet. Especially when it comes to Sports Nutrition, where the goal is NOT MERELY TO SUBSIST & EXIST... but rather to EXCEL & HUGELY IMPROVE PERFORMANCE & when it comes to improving strength & power... FIRST CLASS BIO-AVAILABLE ANIMAL SOURCE OF PROTEIN simply cannot be Over Emphasized...

Without adequate levels of Protein to create Protein synthesis in the body... you are hugely limiting yourself & you would be limiting yourself & not even know it...

A GORILLA IS IMMENSELY STRONG AND HE IS A VEGAN...

WELL GUESS WHAT?

IF YOU ARE READING THIS BLOG... YOU ARE NOT A GORILLA...

Now let’s talk about the stories vegan propagandists have weaved around Vegans prominent in the sports arena.

A classic case of misrepresentation of facts comes to mind when US Athletics legend, Carl Lewis is cited as the poster boy for Vegan supremacy.

Carl Lewis turning Vegan around the time when he was having his best year in terms of performance will actually help you in understanding of how Vegan diets give the illusion of being good for performance, when in fact they always lead to grave nutrient deficiencies with a dangerous excess of Omega-6 Fatty Acids...

Carl Lewis credited his outstanding 1991 performance in part to the vegan diet he got onto in 1990.

He was quoted as saying:

“My best year of track competition was the first year I ate a vegan diet.”

This sentence is often misrepresented or misunderstood by Vegan propagandists such as yourself.

The astute intelligent reader would ask, “But what about after the first year?”

I present to you a Chronological account of Carl Lewis's performance before and after going Vegan:

Stage I

Before going vegan, Lewis dominated both the sprinting and the long jump worlds.

Stage II

Post 1991, just 1 year after starting the vegan diet, Carl Lewis's performance started to drop in both the sprints and the long jump.

1992 - Did not even qualify for the Olympic team in the 100 m or 200m, qualifying only for the Long Jump & the 400m relay team.

At the 1992 Olympics, he ran a very fast relay and won the long jump. This fact again would be misrepresented by Vegan propagandists such as yourself to prove that Vegan Diets help in performance...

What needs to be accurately stated here was that though he won gold in the Long Jump, his jump was shorter than in 1991. Though he ran a fast relay, he could not even qualify for his strongest events, the 100 & 200 meters.

Stage III

1993, World Championships in Stuttgart, Lewis finishes a very embarrassing fourth in the 100 m sprint and he gave the Long Jump a skip.
200 mtrs, he barely managed a bronze. This was his last medal in a running event

Stage IV

1994 saw him sidelined completely due to injuries...

The above chronicle requires impartial observation–

A World Champion who is a cut above the rest of the world champs, a certified living Track & Field legend turns Vegan in 1990, has his best year in 1991 & then declines into being inconsistent with his performances & then hits oblivion with injuries.

When it comes to Vegan Diets & Increase in Performance... There is not a single study that shows a positive relationship between the two.

This first year or the first 3 months in case of all Vegans is fantastic & gives the perception of better health &well-being which is not sustainable due to the inherent deficiencies being caused.

The scientific reasoning behind this almost set pattern of initial upswing followed by a slippery downhill slide in performance hovers around the inherently high levels of Poly Unsaturated Fats in the vegan diet.

You see PUFA's will in the right measure promote cell membrane permeability creating a short term anabolic environment that is not physiologically sustainable. In the long run (Which is actually not too long), the PUFA deposited in fatty tissue & cell membranes themselves become targets for Free Radical Attack, turning the initial anabolic environment into a highly catabolic one.

The initial perception of your health changing for the better is just that... a mere false perception that will eventually lead to accelerated catabolism.

Carl Lewis like all others that get hitched on to the Vegan diets felt that they were benefited in the short term but the long term effects did permanent damage to his body.

Most Vegans don't experience more than 3-months of an increased sense of well-being before things start to collapse. The saddest part of this is that the hardest working people (Competitive Athletes) who get on to a kind of a diet (In this case - Vegan) tend to stick with them the longest. Athletes have great compliance stemming from inherent discipline.

The first 3 months of feeling better makes them firm believers in this highly UNNATURAL DIET (If I may call it that, since it strictly excludes many beneficial nutrients) known as the Vegan Diet... 
Post these 3 months when their performance starts to decline followed by their health, these believers convince themselves that it has to be some other factor that is causing the decline rather than the Diet itself... Because all they can remember is the way they felt in the first 3 months upon switching to a Vegan Diet... The first 3- Months in most cases are the reason why most Vegans do not make the connection between their deteriorating health & the Diet that is causing it...
When it comes to increase in Protein to adequate levels needed by an athlete & increase in Performance, there are many peer reviewed studies that display the strong connection between them by seeing an improvement in the same athletes.

When it comes to Vegan Diets & Increase in Performance... THERE IS NOT A SINGLE STUDY THAT SHOWS A POSITIVE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE TWO.

All you find on the internet are isolated instances of Vegans performing well at certain world class events. Whether they are performing as per their actual potential or not is conveniently swept under the carpet.

Taking Carl Lewis's example of his performance in 1992:

One could say that being a Vegan he won the Long Jump Gold... But what one should actually say is that despite being good enough to win Gold at the Long Jump, his performance was lower than it was in 1991.

One could say that being a Vegan he won the 400M Relay in 1992... But what one should actually say is that he could not even qualify for his favourite events of 100 & 200M Sprints 2 years post turning Vegan.

How do Vegans lose performance & then finally their health?

  • Vegans at some point in time all become anaemic due to the lack of the highly bio-available Heme-Iron. We all know how this can affect Endurance and Stamina.

  • They have lower Phospho-Creatine levels in skeletal muscles than the Omnitarians (Yes, Omnitarian, which is erroneously termed as Non-Vegetarian). We all know how this can affect explosive strength/Power

  • Vegan diets will also result in lower Carnosine levels & thus affect muscle cell buffering. Funny how we always feel that vegetarian diets will keep us less acidic. Low levels of Carnosine means high levels of Hydrogen Ions which in turn means lower PH thus affecting anaerobic muscular endurance.

  • B12 deficiency is a big problem for vegans & will lead to deterioration of brain function through a deterioration of the nerves. Nerve conductivity is hugely affected with B12 deficiencies.

If you are interested in improving athletic performance then be what a human is meant to be - AN OMNIVORE (The word Omni means "ALL")

Eat your Meats & DON'T FORGET YOUR VEGGIES...

Eat your Veggies & DON'T FORGET YOUR MEATS...

Sometimes the Vegan propaganda crosses a line that enters the domain of conning people. Up until now it could be deemed that the propagandists themselves are convinced about their flawed theory.

But the example that I am citing now as Vegan Propaganda involve taking examples of athletic excellence achieved by people who were NOT Vegetarian in the truest sense of the word, but were conveniently cited to the public as Vegetarian without elaborating on the type of vegetarian.

To further understand this, one must understand that there are more than one type of Vegetarian people & many of these sub-categories of people have one or more animal sources of First Class Protein in their diets. This may still be sounding confusing to you but this following picture of a book cover will make you understand what I am trying to say.

THE ATTACHED PICTURE IS A CLASSIC EXAMPLE OF HOW YOU GET MISLED BY PROPAGANDA... and convinces a lot of people that building copious amounts of muscle is absolutely possible for a Vegetarian. Read on to see how the cover of this book is a classic misrepresentation of facts...

A Vegan does not touch any animal produce & that includes milk & products derived from Milk... Please understand that milk proteins have a high biological value simply because Milk is an Animal Source...

90% of Vegetarians are actually LACTO-VEGETARIAN & if any of them want to become competitive bodybuilders, then they have to consume copious amounts of high quality Whey protein supplements (Whey is a milk protein & has the highest biological value superseding the gold standard set by the "Whole Egg") & thus obviously comes from an animal source - Milk.

They also consume big quantities of Paneer (Casein), again a protein processed from Milk & hence an animal source...

and this is how they satisfy their requirement of Protein...

Bodybuilding can be successfully done on a Lacto-Vegetarian diet that gets the right quantum of first class protein from dairy.

The Vegan Lie gets even more dirty with many highly successful competitive athletes wrongly being called as Vegan & mislead the public at large while consuming not only dairy but also Eggs...

They are not even Lacto-Vegetarians... They are LACTO-OVO Vegetarians...

There is another kind of Vegetarian PESCO Vegetarian or "Pescetarian" that consume, Milk & Dairy products, Eggs & even fish...

But even they are termed as pure vegetarians by Vegan propagandists, especially if the Pescetarian happens to be an accomplished athlete... or a celebrity who is in good shape, conveniently side stepping the fact that his first class protein intake is adequately taken care of by 4 Animal sources...

One striking example of a Pesco-Vegetarian is Actor John Abraham who again is erroneously portrayed by the Vegetarian lobby as an example of successful hypertrophy achieved being vegetarian, which he is not.

The vegan lie continues with this ridiculous categorization of vegetarians known as POLLO-Vegetarians who simply skip Red Meat & call themselves vegetarian while consuming, Milk, Eggs, Fish & even Chicken...

Now coming back to the attached picture:

BILL PEARL (Pro Mr. Universe 1970) and arguably one of the thickest physiques in yesteryear's bodybuilding is again MISUSED by the VEGAN PROPAGANDA machinery as a poster boy for Vegan supremacy...

Bill himself was mistaken & called himself a Lacto-Vegetarian when in actuality he was a Lacto-Ovo vegetarian. He routinely stated his diet kick-started the day with a breakfast of 7 Scrambled Eggs... LOL!!! (Some Vegan huh!)

Bill Pearl met his bodybuilding requirement of protein from:

Eggs, Cottage Cheese, and Crude Protein Powders available in the 70 made from Eggs & Milk...

All this is very disconcerting for an individual like you who would like to trust everything they read on the internet...

Well one thing that always protected me from misinformation was my reliance on pure science facts...

Meats, Eggs & Dairy are a different class of foods that happen to be animal sources of protein and specifically as sources of protein are way superior to incomplete vegetarian sources of Protein (Incomplete from the point of view of Essential Amino Acid Profile)...

Keep the above as a scientific fact in your mind & then you will never be confused about what to rely on to build muscle...

Do yourself a big favour & rely on science... not on people & their opinions...

Cause when it comes to opinions... A wise man once said, "Opinions are like assholes... Everyone has one."

Nowhere does the above phrase apply more than it does to NUTRITION.


-Kaizzad Capadia
Executive Director, NEULIFE
Co-founder & Director - K11 Fitness Academy

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1 Comments
  • The thing is you first need to understand the beliefs behind vegan lifestyle. I am not a vegan but a lacto vegetarian. Not everyone wants to build muscles and look muscular but stick to their beliefs and live as much as they can. Besides, can you please provide substantial evidence behind ur claims regarding vegan diet and longevity of vegan people? I know personally know alot of people who are vegan and much more powerful and explosive than many of your meat eating athletes. Please stop trying to build myths than busting them. Provide people with right knowledge. I am not saying that everything presented in this article is wrong but the overall picture you're trying paint is wrong.

    On: July 16, 2016 By: Shobit Kumar Jain

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