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Vegetarian Body Building: The Myths

Posted May 17 2008 10:01am
Do you need to eat meat in order to succeed in body building? Vegetarians are not the typical thin and gaunt images that you see portrayed in the mass media. Rather with complete understanding about nutrition, you can create a diet filled with healthy essentials that could help support your vegetarian body building. There are many misconceptions about vegetarians which is the reason why many people don't associate them with body building.

Proteins Can Be a Problem

w:Collage of varius w:Gray's muscle pictures by Mikael Häggström (User:Mikael Häggström)Image via Wikipedia

Many people believe that without eating the flesh of an animal, you will not be able to get enoughprotein and other essential nutrients. That is a myth when it comes to vegetarian body building as you can easily get proteins from other food sources. Soy products, beans, various grains, eggs and dairy product provide plenty of muscle building proteins.

Of course, many vegetarian body building athletes are drink supplemental shakes with whey protein as well as other important vitamins and minerals like zinc, vitamin B12, iron and more. While meat can provide those items, it doesn't provide enough for the minimum daily allowances for body builders. The same applies with other foods that contain those essential vitamins and minerals. Supplements are important to get enough of the essentials that are lacking in any diet, vegetarian or not.

Difficult Building Strength or Muscle Mass?

Vegetarians actually have a better chance of increasing their strength and size while on their meat-free diet. Vegetarian body building means exactly that - building muscle mass and strength based on a diet filled with fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Eating meats can actually slow down your metabolism because it takes so much energy to digest it whereas with a vegetarian diet, your body actually speeds up its digestion.

Vegetarian body building means being creative with meals to ensure that you have plenty of vitamins and minerals represented in the foods you eat. Many body builders who abstain from meat have consulted with nutritionists to ensure that their diet as well as supplements provides what is needed to maintain and grow muscle mass.

Vegetarianism Not Healthy?

Vegetarianism is actually quite healthy as seen by the much lower cholesterol and blood sugar counts that many vegetarian body building athletes can attest to! Many meats, even the lean ones have the presence of "bad" cholesterol or LDL which can raise cholesterol and therefore, blood pressure. In addition, trans fats and saturated fats are almost a thing of the past when dropping meat from the menu. All the foods that vegetarians eat together with supplemental items can more than provide all of the vitamins and minerals that the body needs to succeed at vegetarian body building.

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