We need to move moreWe need to move more. How do you find the sport that suits you best? Health journalist Tijn Elferink and behavioral scientist Johnny Buivenga research the pros and cons of different sports. In Part 10: The truth behind super proteins and why your lean muscle appears faster.
In case you haven’t noticed: It’s the fourth day of the week without meat and dairy. One can enjoy the good Oatly and Quorn oats, and the other waits, drooling, for the first bite of fried chicken. But what about the athletes? The sport is meatless up to that point, but for many the cheese is part of strength sports like Nick with Simon.
There is no easier meat and dairy for endurance athletes than for strength athletes. Muscles are made up largely of proteins. Protein is essential for muscle growth. So it is not unreasonable to eat muscle from animals. Steaks, pork tenderloin, and chicken breasts, says butcher Eric Wagmeister. All muscle. Cardiologist and Professor Leonard Hofstra once described the heart as a pulsating steak.
Animal products contain proteins called “high quality” and “superior.” Beans, grains, and even potatoes also contain protein. These proteins are called “inferior” and “inferior”. Who came up with these terms, sports coach and behavioral psychologist Johnny Bovinga wonders. With words like that, they fuel insecurity and perpetuate the protein myth. In psychology, giving guarantees is a good way to combat doubts.”
whole fruit bowl
Guarantee 1: You also get enough protein through a plant-based diet. Protein is made up of amino acids. Just as there are different types of fruit, there are also different types of amino acids. Meat and dairy always contain the entire fruit bowl, while vegetables usually don’t. “Cereal products, for example, contain very little of the amino acid lysine,” says Paul Grotzwegers, a postdoctoral researcher at Wageningen University. “And legumes are low in methionine.”
Vegetarians eat more fiber, more vegetables, and fewer crackers and cakes, and this can help with weight loss.
However, the solution is simple: combine different plant foods, such as grains, beans, and nuts. There are also plant-based products that contain all the amino acids, such as soybeans, quinoa, and potatoes. “But,” Grotsweggers says, “they have much less protein and the protein is also less absorbable. So you have to eat more grains and beans than chicken breast to get the same amount of protein, which can cause problems for strength athletes.”
According to Buivenga, this quickly creates a fallacy, especially in those who want to lose weight. “People think: Without animal products I should eat a lot of grains, rice and beans, which is unhealthy.”
According to Grootswagers, the opposite is true: “Vegetables eat more fiber, more vegetables, and less cookies and cake and this can help you lose weight.” But to avoid misunderstanding: a vegan isn’t necessarily the healthiest. “You can also eat a very unhealthy vegan.”
Guarantee 2: delicious vegetables. “People wonder if a meatless meal is delicious,” Buivenga says. This week without meat and dairy is a good time to find and try delicious vegan recipes. “This is how you prove to yourself that vegan is really delicious.” Look up the recipes in advance if you have some time to spare, because especially if you’re in a hurry, you pick what you’re used to. “If you still have to browse Allerhande at the supermarket, there’s a good chance you’ll come home with a bowl of ground beef.”
Warranty 3: Even without meat you are a real man. The image that strongmen eat meat is slowly changing, but not everyone can agree with the new image of the elite of oat milk. Buivenga says role models matter. “Last time, we were a bit critical about the Nick Schilder vegan washbasin, but it can help in that regard.”
There is no scientific evidence that vegan food makes you a worse athlete
Nothing to the detriment of Schilder, says Buivenga, or perhaps also: “The stronger the man, the greater the effect.” According to protein specialist Grootswagers, who has a Ph.D. in nutrition and muscle quality during aging, Lewis Hamilton and Venus Williams have proven that you can exercise at a high level with a plant-based diet. According to Buivenga, what would help if someone like Badr Hari started eating vegan. Why not, Grotsweggers says: “There is no scientific evidence that plant-based food makes you a worse athlete.”
iron and menstruation
A diet without meat and dairy requires more than just combining protein sources, Grotsweggers emphasizes. “There are all kinds of deficiencies lurking.” Animal products are good sources of vitamins B1, B2, B12 and D, and omega-3 fatty acids. And iron is especially important for women, because they lose it during the menstrual cycle. “In general, exercising and eating vegan is a mystery,” Grotsweggers sums up. “But a sports nutritionist can help you with that.”
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