Protein is essential for muscle building and recovery. Recently, many athletes have decided to turn to vegetable proteins. These have many benefits for sport but also have disadvantages.
What are plant proteins?
Animal proteins are, as their name suggests, derived from animals. Most of the time, these are animals intended for livestock, having a very significant ecological impact.
In an ecological, health or simply out of conviction, some sportsmen and athletes become vegetarians or vegans. Their protein sources come exclusively from plants and, in some cases, eggs and dairy products.
Since the animals are fed vegetable proteins, the idea is to take the protein at the source and not pass through the animal.
Some examples of plant proteins:
- grains (quinoa, brown rice, spelt, oats, rye, buckwheat)
- legumes (lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, split peas, green beans, broad beans)
- grains (walnuts, flax, sunflower, sesame)
- certain vegetables (broccoli, asparagus, spinach, mushrooms, cauliflower, pepper)
What are the benefits of plant proteins?
Due to a change in diet (vegetarian, vegan), plant-based proteins are mandatory. However, whether you have a specific diet or not, it is very important to consume it. They are essential for maintaining good health and guarantee optimal performance.
Plant proteins are more economical. Some are much cheaper than buying meat. Vegetable proteins are multiple and can be purchased in large quantities. They offer great savings for people who are unable to regularly buy meat to meet their protein needs.
It's no longer a secret that the environmental impact of meat is considerable. Livestock are very resource intensive, particularly water-intensive. Deforestation and greenhouse gases are disastrous ecological consequences. Athletes concerned about these issues are therefore turning to plant-based alternatives, which are more respectful of the environment.
Although meat is rich in protein, it also promotes bad cholesterol, cardiovascular disease and bad fats. While meat is responsible for many inflammations, vegetable proteins can reduce them. Indeed, they are rich in antioxidants and fatty acids.
Consuming plant-based proteins helps you stock up on essential nutrients such as fiber, vitamins and minerals. They restructure muscle fibers and accelerate the recovery process. Their low level of saturated fats makes them particularly interesting for controlling fat consumption and limiting weight gain. They are therefore ideal to consume while drying out.
Are there risks of deficiencies?
Although vegetable proteins seem to be the solution to many health and environmental problems, they have disadvantages compared to their animal counterparts.
What worries most bodybuilders is their concentration of amino acids, especially essential amino acids, those that the body cannot synthesize.
Few plant proteins have it, but among them we find quinoa and soy, two relatively accessible sources. However, apart from these two sources, plant proteins are incomplete and must be varied very often.
However, scientific sources agree that animal proteins are more digestible than plant proteins. In France, the SCCD (Score Comique Corrigé de la Digestibilité) measures the quality of proteins, from 0 to 100. While animal proteins have a score of 100 by the body, the most digestible vegetable protein is 69 .
The figures obtained should be taken with caution because, depending on the foods and their cooking, the results vary greatly. Above all, we remember that, to maintain the quality of proteins, you must favor gentle cooking of your food.
According to ANSES, the French population eats enough protein. For a sedentary person, plant proteins do not cause harmful consequences. For a high-level sports person, on the other hand, the needs will be different. Indeed, it is not simply about evolving and increasing performance, it must also be able to last over time.
To prevent the risk of injury, taking collagen is strongly recommended. However, collagen is exclusively of animal origin, which deprives vegetarians and vegans of protection for their joints.
A solution nevertheless exists, the amino acids of collagen. As effective as collagen, collagen amino acids can be synthesized or of plant origin. They fully align with the beliefs of vegetarian athletes and protect tendons and joints from injuries.
Vegetable protein powder
At Nutrimuscle, we do not offer plant-based protein powders. Why did you make this choice when our competitors offer them?
Today, vegetable protein powders available on the market are sold for 1.5 to 3 times more than the cost of their production, which is lower. The raw material undergoes chemical treatments which are not without consequences for health. Despite the image that protein powders send back, the processes for making such a product do not respect the health of the consumer.
Plant proteins are less well assimilated, so they must be consumed in larger doses. Until there is a viable solution for the health of the athlete and the chemical processes are not pure, we will not offer a vegan alternative to our proteins. We want to offer an effective and pure vegan range, so it is not possible to do “vegan marketing” on products that are dangerous to health.
In sport, protein requirements increase considerably. We must therefore ensure that we respond optimally to this demand in order to improve performance. Although a vegetarian or vegan diet has many benefits, it is important to vary the sources of protein in order to provide all the amino acids necessary for the proper functioning of the body and to consume more of them than animal proteins.