What is a plant-based diet?
A plant-based diet is essentially a diet that contains foods that are from plant sources.
It’s important to note that a plant-based diet is not the same as a vegan or vegetarian diet. It is often mistaken as such.
The foods emphasised:
- Whole grains: Brown rice, oats, quinoa, barley
- Peas, chickpeas, lentils
The foods that are limited but not excluded:
- Lean meats
Can you get all your nutrients through plant-based foods?
Yes. Although plant-based can be restrictive in their amount of protein and iron, it is absolutely possible for you to achieve all your nutritional goals through plant-based diets. However, it can be a tough balancing act to hit your protein and iron goals while staying inside a safe calorie consumption lifestyle.
Is it recommended for athletes?
No. Although it is possible to become an elite athlete on a plant-based diet, it will inhibit your recovery. Because of the make-up of protein, which contains 22 amino acids, 9 of which we can only get through food sources, we need to consume enough protein to make sure our muscles can recover optimally. These essential amino acids that help our body recover are only found in small amounts in plant-based protein meaning we either have to eat high levels of this food (more calories) or we will not achieve enough to recover optimally.
Can it help lose weight?
Yes. Because of the make-up of these foods which are high in complex carbohydrates, fibre and water, we have the ability to stay fuller for longer, diminishing our appetite and need for excess food. Because of the slow-burning nature of these foods, it will also help with our ability to burn off our fuel over time resulting in less storage of excess glycogen.