Protein intake for vegetarians
Because an increasing number of vegetarians or vegan athletes have to take care of their diet and protein intake. Vegetarian diets have long been associated with a variety of nutritional deficiencies, including protein deficiency, anemia, and low intake of calcium, omega-3s, and vitamins D and B12. Today, with the latest nutritional science and the wide variety of foods and supplements available to us, a well-planned vegetarian diet can be absolutely right for athletes.
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There are varying degrees or levels of vegetarianism, with strict veganism being the most stringent because it does not consume any animal product, and therefore the one that may pose the greatest nutritional risk. Some vegetarians allow eggs, dairy and / or honey in their diets, but never eat meat or fish.
How to measure the quality of protein in food?
The greater the restriction on food of animal origin, the more difficult it is to meet the quantitative and qualitative requirements for protein. Protein quality depends on its content in essential amino acids. Vegetable protein sources are considered incomplete in quality as they are often lacking in essential amino acids.
However, there are also plant-based foods with a suitable composition of essential amino acids such as soy or quinoa. Ovolactic vegetarians can meet the highest protein requirements by easily consuming eggs and dairy products, while vegan or vegan vegetarians must provide protein through foods such as legumes, soy derivatives (tofu, tempeh), seitan, cereals, seeds, and nuts.
In the past, there was insistence on combining different sources of plant-based protein in every meal to achieve a complete amino acid profile, but today it is known that this is not necessary and that the amount and overall quality of protein throughout the day is important. However, the athlete’s protein quality should be assessed, especially during training after training, and individually depending on the sport and athletic goals.
Should Vegetarian Athletes Take Protein Supplements?
As with omnivorous athletes, protein supplementation is not essential for vegetarian athletes, except in cases of protein and amino acid deficiencies through diet. This fact is more common in vegetarian athletes and more often in vegans. However, protein supplementation can help and make it easier for the athlete to meet your daily needs, especially in those times of training (before or after training), in which fast absorption and easy digestion is something to consider when choosing what to drink.
In addition, these protein and amino acid supplements can be recommended throughout the day or in punctual meals if the athlete is not able to eat the food that suits your needs at the time.
Based on this, your health manager advises vegetarian or vegan athletes to consult a sports nutritionist to personalize their intake and their needs. An experienced dietitian will analyze the type of sport and assess the quality of the protein in the diet, with a focus on post-workout to ensure optimal intake of BCAAs (BCAAs: leucine, isoleucine and valine) and essential.
From Weider, we offer a wide range of products designed to enrich the vegetarian diet with protein. These supplements contain high biological value protein and are easy to digest, made from high quality pea protein, fortified with rice protein and are organic.
What vegan foods can we find on Weider?
Weider offers, among others, the following vegan products for athletes:
- Vegan BCAAs: Each 10g dose contains 8.7g BCAAs (4.3g Leucine, 2.2g Isoleucine, and 2.2 Valine)
- Vegan Protein: Made from pea protein that has been fortified with rice protein, and by combining legume protein with cereal grains, a protein of high biological value and easily digestible is obtained. It provides 23g of plant-based protein for every 30g serving.
- Vegan Protein: Made from pea protein enriched with rice protein, and combining legume protein with grain protein produces a high quality biological and easily digestible protein. It provides 23g of plant-based protein for every 30g serving.
- A vegan joint protector such as Green Flex that improves collagen production and prevents discomfort caused by wear and tear and inflammation.