Contradictions / misinformation on Vegan diet

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Contradictions / misinformation on Vegan diet

Postby will_220 » Sun Aug 16, 2009 10:44 pm

When I dediced I wanted to give up eating animal products, I never realised how many hours of research it would take just to know how to eat properly.

I've read so much crap, It's getting silly now. I JUST WANT A MEAT FREE DIET!

First, by many vegetarian/vegan sources, I was told how Soya had all 8 essential amino acids, and with it's high BV was as good as any meat product.

After tofu wasn't as effective as meat for me, i looked into it only to find another site saying soya is deficient in some of those amino acids and needs to be combined in the diet with other protein sources to "complete the full spectrum of essential amino acids"

OK, fair enough.. so besides Soya what else should i put in my diet to be fulfilled with each of those essential amino acids?

Now this gets funny now...

From http://www.sunnysidenaturalhealth.com/i ... ein_PH.doc

To obtain the essential amino acids from vegetable proteins in good proportion they need to be combined together. Grains contain a lot of tryptophan and not much lysine whereas pulses contain a lot of lysine but not much tryptophan. "



Here they say beans contain "a lot of lysine".

But on the next website, they say the complete opposite!!

http://altmedicine.about.com/cs/dietary ... tarian.htm
Plant proteins tend to be limited in one or more essential amino acids. For example, beans are low in the amino acid lysine, while rice is rich in lysine.


Low in lysine? But I just read the complete opposite?


It has been so frustrating looking into this. Can I believe anything I read? Shall I just give up and eat free range meat, at least I know I am safe there.

Enough of this, I have to now look into the full amino acids profile of individual foods. I never imagined taking it this far or wanted to spend all these hours, but i'm choiceless.

Worlds Healthiest Foods provides a breakdown of what amino acids each food contain. this is Tofu:
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tnam ... e&dbid=129

Amino Acid ---- %of Daily Value
cystine | 31.71

histidine | 20.93
isoleucine | 39.13
leucine | 27.67
lysine | 25.53
methionine | 16.22
phenylalanine | 37.82

threonine | 29.84
tryptophan | 43.75
tyrosine | 31.96
valine | 31.29

It appears Tofu lacks METHIONINE. So where do we get our methionine? What plant source has plenty of Methionine? I certainly can't find any. If WHF is a guide, all plant foods seem to lack methionine.

And another thing, to get a comparable amount of amino acids as a Chicken breast, one would have to consume around 15 ounces of Tofu. That is LOADS, I could never eat that much in a meal.

I feel like giving up, I just don't think this diet can work as well as a meat diet... as sad as that is.

I compete in boxing and martial arts, so diet is very important. This means training twice or sometimes 3 times a day. I need an awful lot of protein to repair my body from these workouts.

But then athletes such as Carl Lewis were successful on a vegan diet? How is it possible?
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Postby damdaman » Mon Aug 17, 2009 12:21 am

Hi there, welcome to the forum and congrats on making a wise decision on changing your diet.

You do not need to combine amino acids to get a "complete" protein. As long as you eat a varied diet (as opposed to the same thing day in and day out), your body can grab the amino acids it needs from various places throughout the week and put them to use. It is a debunked myth that you need to combine proteins in the same meal to obtain proper nutrition on a plant-based diet. The original author of this theory has even since retracted her position and said as much.

This means you just need to eat a varied diet throughout the week, and you're fine. A good mix of veggies, grains, tofu, beans, fruits, nuts, seeds, etc. If you're eating broccoli, brown rice, tofu, almonds, apples, and sesame seeds at some point throughout the week, for example, you can rest assured you're getting all the essential amino acids you need.

As for methionine, wikipedia's page on methionine lists several plant-based sources:

High levels of methionine can be found in sesame seeds, Brazil nuts, fish, meats, and some other plant seeds.[citation needed] Most fruits and vegetables contain very little of it; however, some have significant amounts, such as spinach, potatoes, and boiled corn.


I think you're over-thinking the whole thing, personally. The rule of thumb that I've come to live by is "eat whole foods and don't stress about the rest." As long as you're eating real food that you prepare yourself, and not eating french friends, chips, soda pop, candy bars, tv dinners, etc all the time, you'll be fine. The more whole, recognizable ingredients you add, the better.
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Postby aliquis » Mon Aug 17, 2009 2:58 am

Hi, protein isn't the one and only nutrient to rule them all, so I'll make it short for you:

As a vegan you will have to supplement this vitamine:
* B12
You may also want to supplement (especially if you live in a country where the sun only raise low upon the horizon in the winter):
* D
As a women you may eventually want to supplement:
* Iron
I guess it may also be safe to supplement some:
* Calcium

When it comes to the proteins as long as you get plenty I doubt it's that important how perfect they are, for protein synthezies most of what is used is what have been broken down earlier, kinda everything will more or less get wasted anyway and not build new muscle and since you are consuming lots of it I doubt it's that important that you don't get to little of some amino acid vs if you ate very little protein. You don't really need to think much about it, legumes and grains usually complement eachother very good so as long as you eat a varied diet you will get both.
http://www.nutritiondata.com/facts/cere ... sta/5710/2
As you can see there brown rice got an amino acid score of 74 and is low on lysine, you can also click a link to find foods which complement rice.
http://www.nutritiondata.com/facts/legu ... cts/4435/2
Chickpeas, amino acid score 106, high in everything.
http://www.nutritiondata.com/facts/legu ... cts/4424/2
Kidney beans, amino acid score 103.
http://www.nutritiondata.com/facts/legu ... cts/4455/2
Soybeans, amino acid score 116.
Oh, fuck this, I don't seem to find what I was after for. Anyway yes I think grains use to be low in lysine and legumes in methionine. (And eventually quinoa are rich in both, or if it was just rich in what soy is comparable low in.)
Anyway, eat various sources and you won't have to think about it, it will be harder to get loads of protein though. You can always supplement with a concentrate/isolate or free form essential amino acids.

And when it comes to fats most vegetarian fat sources have loads of omega6 in them but you would be better of with balancing that with omega3. So either you can eat flaxseed oil and choose nuts with a decent omega3 to 6 ratio such as rapeseed and olive oil or you can try to limit your omega6 intake by for instance using olive oil which has loads of omega9 instead. You could also supplement with vegetarian DHA capsules if you want to.

Regarding athletes I assume some may just eat a very clean and healthy vegetarian diet and then call it whatever, and they can also take supplements, and in the case of world class athlets some of them probably take drugs.

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He don't look huge either.

And btw, remember, the more you move around, the more energy you need to consume, and the more you will eat. The more you eat the more protein and other nutrients you get with your food. So risk of deficiency probably goes down with a more active life style, not up.

Phelps claimed he ate 10.000 kcal / day or something such, and he probably consume a hell of a lot of energy swimming for hours a day, with requirements like that it's ok for him to eat lots of pasta and energy drinks, and even if his diet looks shitty he may get enough vitamins and so on anyway since he eat so much of that less nutrientdense food.

Good luck and don't worry too much. Eat lots of beans, get your vegetables, fill up with nuts, grains and fruits for the rest of your requirements. Supplement if needed.
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Postby JP » Mon Aug 17, 2009 6:36 am

dude, you are overthinking it!

Relax!

eat a varied diet, thats enough.

All that information is only useful if you take it in context, dont get fooled to think it is very complicated and you need to rack your brains out just to stay alive. It really isnt so.
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Postby offense74 » Mon Aug 17, 2009 8:13 am

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Postby morg » Mon Aug 17, 2009 10:12 am

a good article on protein can be found here
http://www.healthpromoting.com/Articles ... rotein.htm

To tell the truth I had the same worries about amount of protein, protein combination, best quality protein etc for many years, but since stopping stressing out about it, eating a healthy varied balanced vegan diet, and stopping even thinking about if im getting protein in a meal or not, I have had no reduction in weights used at the gym, no muscle loss, and it definately hasnt effected my running.
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Postby Clem Snide » Mon Aug 17, 2009 11:48 pm

JP wrote:dude, you are overthinking it!

Relax!

eat a varied diet, thats enough.


+1 million.

It's not hard!
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Postby will_220 » Tue Aug 18, 2009 12:46 am

Thank you for the responses

damdaman wrote:You do not need to combine amino acids to get a "complete" protein. As long as you eat a varied diet (as opposed to the same thing day in and day out), your body can grab the amino acids it needs from various places throughout the week and put them to use.

It is a debunked myth that you need to combine proteins in the same meal to obtain proper nutrition on a plant-based diet. The original author of this theory has even since retracted her position and said as much.


Researching on this site I have read this opinion many times. For most vegans I have no doubt it holds truth, but for someone taking their fitness very seriously (such as myself) obtaining a full spectrum of amino acids is essential.

Protein synthesis occurs within 30 minutes of a training session. For best recoveries the body needs an abundance of amino acids ASAP (This is why it is recommended to drink PWO shakes; it replaces what you need quicker than eating foods).

I certainly wouldn't want to get the rest of the amino acids "later in the week" as you suggested.

The body does not store protein, it is used within hours, so it is important for an athlete to get an abundance of the full range of amino acids in the same day.


Hi, protein isn't the one and only nutrient to rule them all, so I'll make it short for you:

Thank you for the detailed post.

Protein intake is still quintessential for any athlete and must be taken seriously. I have read on this forum many times people saying that protein is a "non issue" for vegans. i don't believe this is the truth; especially for athletes. When one meets their protein needs through nuts, seeds, legumes etc... it is easy to start consuming an excess of unwanted fat and carbs which are predominant in these foods.



dude, you are overthinking it!

Relax!

eat a varied diet, thats enough


As I said before, for optimum athletic performance A LOT of consideration must go into diet, especially if one is to cut out all dairy products.

Carl Lewis did it... but then he probably consulted with some of the worlds top nutritionists.
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Postby EceGled » Tue Aug 18, 2009 2:20 am

I was watching a video on YouTube about nutrition for people working out, and the guy also said this... the body does not store protein for long... he suggested eating five meals a day and eating some of each different type of nutrient at each meal.... first veggies, then whole grains, then protein, then fruit.
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Postby Andrewc » Tue Aug 18, 2009 2:33 am

will_220 wrote:Researching on this site I have read this opinion many times. For most vegans I have no doubt it holds truth, but for someone taking their fitness very seriously (such as myself) obtaining a full spectrum of amino acids is essential.


Protein intake is still quintessential for any athlete and must be taken seriously. I have read on this forum many times people saying that protein is a "non issue" for vegans. i don't believe this is the truth; especially for athletes. When one meets their protein needs through nuts, seeds, legumes etc... it is easy to start consuming an excess of unwanted fat and carbs which are predominant in these foods.


As I said before, for optimum athletic performance A LOT of consideration must go into diet, especially if one is to cut out all dairy products.


Take a longer look around this forum, and even other vegan fitness and sports orientated forums and you will find a lot of successful vegan athletes who are not only keeping up with their non-vegan competitors, but also have their diets in order.

You don't need a calculator to measure every meal you have as a vegan. Last time I checked there were more unhealthy omnivores than there are vegans.
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Postby hardcore iv » Tue Aug 18, 2009 2:53 am

Do you have an aversion to protein powders? If you want the perfect amino acid profile for your peri-workout nutrition, nitrofusion claims to be the most perfect of any powder on the market. I don't know where you live, but if we can get it in Australia you should be able to get it wherever you are. Or you could use soy protein. There was a study about 10 years ago with gymnasts using soy protein after their training and gaining as much lean muscle as the group taking whey.

Here are some articles by 'serious' vegan athletes and dieticians that might interest you:

Mac Danzig UFC fighter
http://www.mikemahler.com/articles/macdanzig.html

Mike Mahler: Kettlebell guru
http://www.mikemahler.com/articles/vegan_diet.html

Ryan Andrews: vegan RD and ex-bodybuilder
http://www.mikemahler.com/articles/andrews1.html

Also look up Brendan Brazier's (vegan tri-athlete) Thrive diet
http://www.precisionnutrition.com/athlete-profile-brendan-brazier

There are guys on this board who have put on slabs of muscle on a vegan diet. Building muscle requires more protein than other physical pursuits so it stands to reason that they had more than adequate protein intake.

Vegan diets can work for serious athletes, they have worked for serious athletes and it can work for you! :)
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Postby JP » Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:06 am

will, whats your sport and your competetive history? Not a pissing contest type of question, but a serious one.

The magazines which get majority of their revenues from supplement companies flood their readers with minute details which are largely irrelevant to athletes - even the top level ones (remember when Michael Phelps talked about what he eats?) creating the illusion that the whole issue is very complex and these companies products are standing between you and results.

Its ok if you want to go with it, plenty of people do (though for instance i train with many top level powerlifters, strongmen and weightlifters who laugh at all these details, and hardly ever take a protein shake for instance), but at least recognise that there is another side of the coin... I too used to think about these details a lot but never made as good of gains as i started to get when i stoppped worrying about it :lol: (not related directly, just change of training environment made it all happen)
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Postby SpugFab » Tue Aug 18, 2009 12:23 pm

Remember that fad diets and wacky theories beat out common sense in this. No-one is going to write a book or publicise themselves with the message that "it's not very complicated".

The fact that you find contradictions is evidence that these aren't vital elements, people succeed regardless.

I blame bodybuilding for this insane focus on micronutrient breakdown. With other sports you could eat a solid, varied, clean diet, train hard and see results. You could reach the top with this approach.

But with bodybuilding it was different. You would eat your solid diet, train hard but look nothing like the pro in the magazine. So you look for answers from the pro:

Wannabe: "How do you get so big and muscular?"
Pro: "Ummmm. I eat a lot of protein."
Wannabe: "I eat a lot of protein too. Maybe there's something you aren't telling me?"
Pro: "No, no. Not at all. I'm just 'better' at diet. I eat 37.5% protein, low carb with structured refeeds every full moon"
Wannabe: "Ah I see. My diet just isn't complex enough. I will obsess over it some more and then I'll see results"

Later

Wannabe: "I'm just not seeing the results. Maybe I'm carb intolerant? I feel quite bloated getting the calories in"
Pro: "Remember I take Creatinol Isolate, E-Carnosaur and the proper ratio of Beta-Probonenes. All of which you can buy from my online shop"
Wannabe: "Ah that must be it. I'm not paying enough attention to supplementation."

Later

Wannabe: "Still not working. My diet and supplementation is perfect. I must be a hardgainer"
Pro: "Training is very complicated. A solid routine involving getting stronger on compound exercises isn't enough."
Wannabe: "I will try a new program. Percentages are vital"

And so it goes on.

All this could be solved in the first instance if the magazines had a shred of honesty and pointed out that their models were on bucketloads of steroids and took liberties with their health that no fitness trainer would even consider.

It's sad that these bodybuilding myths seep into other sports. Top athletes don't live their lives this way. Here's England International defender Micah Richards talking about his diet:

http://forum.mancityforum.co.uk/Topic99576-8-5.aspx

Micah wrote:I have my breakfast at home - a bowl of Frosties, Rice Krispies or Weetabix - but I try not to eat too much beforehand.

So I'll just get a Red Bull down me before I get started - we'll come out and stretch then do a jog with Stefano Marrone, our fitness coach.


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Postby Clem Snide » Tue Aug 18, 2009 2:14 pm

^Post of the year.

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Postby damdaman » Tue Aug 18, 2009 6:47 pm

will_220 wrote:Thank you for the responses

damdaman wrote:You do not need to combine amino acids to get a "complete" protein. As long as you eat a varied diet (as opposed to the same thing day in and day out), your body can grab the amino acids it needs from various places throughout the week and put them to use.

It is a debunked myth that you need to combine proteins in the same meal to obtain proper nutrition on a plant-based diet. The original author of this theory has even since retracted her position and said as much.


Researching on this site I have read this opinion many times. For most vegans I have no doubt it holds truth, but for someone taking their fitness very seriously (such as myself) obtaining a full spectrum of amino acids is essential.

Protein synthesis occurs within 30 minutes of a training session. For best recoveries the body needs an abundance of amino acids ASAP (This is why it is recommended to drink PWO shakes; it replaces what you need quicker than eating foods).

I certainly wouldn't want to get the rest of the amino acids "later in the week" as you suggested.

The body does not store protein, it is used within hours, so it is important for an athlete to get an abundance of the full range of amino acids in the same day.


What makes you assume that anyone responding to threads on a vegan fitness forum wouldn't also be a vegan athlete like yourself? I train 6 days a week, martial arts, weight lifting, running, hiking, biking, whatever I can fit in. I only consume protein shakes when I don't have enough time to make a proper meal. Proper meals are always better (again, with a variety of foods).

And like I said, the original author of the book that made protein combining popular has since published the following retraction:

"In 1971 I stressed protein complementarity because I assumed that the only way to get enough protein ... was to create a protein as usable by the body as animal protein. In combating the myth that meat is the only way to get high-quality protein, I reinforced another myth. I gave the impression that in order to get enough protein without meat, considerable care was needed in choosing foods. Actually, it is much easier than I thought.

With three important exceptions, there is little danger of protein deficiency in a plant food diet. The exceptions are diets very heavily dependent on [1] fruit or on [2] some tubers, such as sweet potatoes or cassava, or on [3] junk food (refined flours, sugars, and fat). Fortunately, relatively few people in the world try to survive on diets in which these foods are virtually the sole source of calories. In all other diets, if people ar getting enough calories, they are virtually certain of getting enough protein." [emphasis in original]

-- Diet for a Small Planet, 10th Anniversary Ed.; 1982; Frances Moore Lappé; p. 162
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