Is a Whole Food, Plant Based Diet Right for You?

by Aaron Hornstra, CSCS

Thanks to the hit Netflix documentary “What the Health”, there has been an increase in popularity and awareness around a vegan or plant based diet.  The positive effects on our environment are undeniable; however, the question remains – Are whole food, plant based diets really healthier for us, and if so how do they affect our performance when training?  Should this particular diet be recommended for athletes and non-athletes alike?  Although limited research has been documented, the latest from the NSCA suggests a plant based diet, in accordance with the American Dietetic Association guidelines, CAN in fact be a viable option for health AND performance.

Whole Food Plant Based Diet

With that being said, over the years, I have witnessed the challenges clients who participate in such a restrictive diet plan face in order to consume an adequate amount of high quality protein required to achieve optimal muscle growth. In addition, per the NCSA article, research shows that those who follow whole food, plant based diets tend to have lower intakes of some very important nutrients including vitamin B-12, calcium, zinc, creatine, and omega 3 fatty acids.  These nutrients play an important role when talking about overall health and performance.

So while the available research shows that a whole food plant based diet can be a viable option for a health and performance, we must recognize that as with any restrictive diet, the client must be especially diligent in order to maintain a well-balanced diet within its parameters.

Here is the latest research article referenced above from the NSCA.
Decide for yourself if it’s right for you!



Categories: Advice & Support Nutrition Strength Training Weight Loss