The Protein and Energy Intakes of Vegetarian Athletes
University of Wales
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The aim of this research project was to investigate the dietary intake of vegetarian athletes with attention to protein and energy intake. This was to investigate whether it is possible to source a protein rich diet as a vegetarian in order for vegetarian individuals to be successful and improve performance without sacrificing a diet that is based on moral, religious or health-promoting ideals. The participants (n=7) were identified as being major vegetarians (n=5) or minor vegetarians (n=2). The participants consisted of 2 males (age=24.0 ±1.4 years, body mass index [BMI] =23.2 ± 3.8) and 5 females (age =24.2 ±4.1 years, BMI=20.3 ±2.1). The study used an individually designed questionnaire to collect information regarding their lifestyle, vegetarian and sporting background and a three day weighed food diary, which contained all food intakes in terms of quantity and time. The main findings of the study were that the primary motives for the athletes to observe a vegetarian diet were animal rights (86% participants) and health (57% participants). None of the participants thought that being vegetarian had a negative effect on their performance and the most frequently perceived benefits of a vegetarian diet were related to health (71% participants) and energy (57% participants). Mean energy intake was below recommendations at 74.7 ±15.0% reference nutrient intake. The mean protein intake exceeded basic recommendations (0.8 g.kg-1) at 133.3 ±34.7% of the reference nutrient intake but did not reach the recommended intake for athletes (1.6 g.kg-1) at 68.0 ±18.9%
BA Enterprise Project
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