Vegetarianism, exercise and sports. Experiments with athletes

At present, our society is deluded and believes that eating meat is very important for sustaining life. In this regard, the question arises: can a vegetarian diet provide the amount of protein necessary to maintain life and strength? How strong is the relationship between what we eat and life expectancy?

Dr. Bergstrom from the Institute of Physiology in Stockholm has done a series of very interesting experiments. He selected several professional athletes. They had to perform work on a bicycle ergometer with a load of 70% of their physical capabilities. It was checked how long it would take for the moment of exhaustion to come, depending on the various nutritional conditions of the athletes. (Fatigue was defined as the inability to withstand a given load further, and also as a state when muscle glycogen stores began to be depleted)

During the preparation of the first stage of the experiment, the athletes were fed a traditional mixed food consisting of meat, potatoes, carrots, margarine, cabbage and milk. The moment of exhaustion at this stage came on average after 1 hour 54 minutes. During the preparation of the second stage of the experiment, the athletes were fed high-calorie food, consisting of a large amount of proteins and animal fats, namely: meat, fish, butter and eggs. This diet was maintained for three days. Since with such a diet, the muscles of the athletes could not accumulate the required amount of glycogen, exhaustion at this stage occurred after an average of 57 minutes.

In preparation for the third stage of the experiment, the athletes were fed food containing a large amount of carbohydrates: bread, potatoes, corn, various vegetables and fruits. Athletes were able to pedal without exhaustion for 2 hours and 47 minutes! With this diet, endurance increased by almost 300% compared to eating high-calorie protein and fatty foods. As a result of this experiment, Dr. Per Olof Estrand, director of the Institute of Physiology in Stockholm, said: “What can we advise athletes? Forget about the protein myth and other prejudices … “. One slender athlete began to worry that he did not have such large muscles as the fashion required.

Companions in the gym advised him to eat meat. The athlete was a vegetarian and at first rejected this offer, but, in the end, he agreed and began to eat meat. Almost instantly, his body began to grow in volume – and shoulders, and biceps, and pectoral muscles. But he began to notice that with an increase in muscle mass, he loses strength. A few months later, he could not press the barbell 9 kilograms lighter than his usual – before the change in his diet – the norm.

He so wanted to look big and strong, but not to lose strength! However, he noticed that he was turning into a large “puff pastry”. So he chose to really be strong rather than appear so, and returned to a vegetarian diet. Quite quickly, he began to lose “dimensions”, but his strength increased. In the end, he not only regained his ability to press the barbell 9 kilos more, but was able to add another 5 kilos, now pressing 14 kilos more than when he ate meat and was larger in volume.

An erroneous external impression often serves as a defense that eating a large amount of protein is desirable and important. In experiments with animals, young animals fed on enriched protein concentrates grow very quickly. And this, it would seem, is wonderful. Who wants to be skinny and small? But everything is not so simple. Rapid growth beyond what is normal for the species is not so helpful. You can quickly grow in weight and height, but destructive processes for the body can begin just as quickly. Food that promotes the fastest growth is not the best way to prolong life. Rapid growth and short life are always intertwined.

“Vegetarianism is the key to health”

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