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Sport and vegetarianism: how to avoid deficiencies if you decide to do without meat?

Can we really do without meat when we are a great sportsman? The answer of an expert.

To achieve good performance and be healthy, athletes must follow a proper diet. Proteins required. But must they necessarily come from meat? This is the big question. “Not necessarily,” says Anne-Laure Meunier , nutritionist dietitian and co-founder of SmartDiet . On the condition however to be warned and rigorous. Explanations.

The role of proteins

Let’s put things in context. “Is considered sports , someone who has at least three hours of active sports per week (ie, an activity that combines muscle strengthening and cadio),” says Anne-Laure Meunier. “When a great sportsman, at least six hours of sport.” The basics being laid, let’s go back now to meat and proteins.What is their role? “Proteins are pillars of our health” , ensures the specialist. “In fact, it’s partly thanks to them that our body is robust and full of energy.” Made up of 21 amino acids(of which 11 are directly synthesized by our body), they are brought by food. And especially by the meat “ .

Combine the different proteins

But not only. There are also proteins of plant origin . The problem ? They do not all contain systematically all these essential amino acids. So you have to mix them to reach a balance. For example, instead of relying on an ox steak, we will mix cereals and legumes and thus mimic animal proteins. We will also be able to compensate with other sources of protein, algae, dairy products, soy or eggs. “Let’s say a big sportsman has to ingest 4200 kcal a day, 20% will have to be protein, which makes an average of about 200g of pure protein per day”she assures. That’s in terms of quantity. As far as the quality of these proteins is concerned, the sportsman will have to – as explained above – combine.

Vegetarianism: how to avoid deficiencies

And for good reason, it must imperatively avoid deficiencies , which may endanger it. “Do not panic, it is not played at a meal close but we must be extremely careful in the medium and long term,” warns the nutritionist. At first, deficiencies will be responsible for skin problems, breathing, concentration, fatigue or lack of energy. But that’s not all. They can cause much worse, “be the cause of serious complications, cancer and death,” says the dietician. Vegetarian and sporty yes, so, but with great rigor. Exit the improvisation.

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