Table 4: Overview of health advantages to athletes resulting from a well-planned vegan diet1.


Aspects best providing the prerequisites for performance capacity in sports and exercise (abbreviated)2


Aspects showing ideal provision of dietary supply in athletes to deliver various benefits, relevant to competitive athletes (abbreviated)3


↑ Healthiest diet overall, thus best state of health

✓ Good musculoskeletal health

↑ Best health-consciousness

↑ Increased immune function, and thus maximized immune defense (along with less micro inflammation and lower biomarkers of inflammation)

↓ Fewest biological hazards, toxic substances and noxious residues of chemicals from pharmaceutical drugs, industrial toxins, and heavy metals (1:9) in plant vs. animal foods, and least pesticides in plant vs. animal foods (1:14)

↓ Lowest prevalence of allergies; protective against allergic asthma and food allergies

✓/Advantages in prevention of illnesses and diseases, and therapy of sports injuries







✓ Good basis for preserving skeletal muscle mass, to build and develop strength and endurance-compatible muscles, and even to increase muscle mass and strength

↓ Lower rates or even no cases of illnesses/sickness and allergies

↓ Shorter or even no periods of sick leave or rehabilitation from sports accidents or injuries, thus least absence from training with no further stagnation or regression in performance level



✓/Appropriate provision of energy and nutrients supplied by sufficient intakes

✓/Nutrient-dense but low-calorie

✓ Optimum macronutrient distribution, along with ideal carbohydrate-protein-ratio, and maximal antioxidant status

Best supply of: Carbohydrates, beta-carotine, vitamins C and K, folic acid, magnesium, potassium, fiber, phytochemicals, antioxidants (especially polyphenols)

✓ Equal to or as adequate as non-vegan diets in supply of: Protein, vitamin E, thiamin, biotin, pantothenic acid

✓ Vitamin B12 safely provided by fortified foods, products and supplements

✓/↓ No risk or lower prevalence of deficiencies for key nutrients compared to non-vegan diets (on average 3:7 nutrients deficient)

✓ Optimum acid-base-balance, pH-value, highest alkalizing potential (lowest dietary acid load)








✓/Optimal matching of higher energy, carbohydrate, protein and other nutrient demands by higher dietary supply, thus

Enhanced physical potential (at high metabolic rates)

Maximized performance capacity

Gaining advantages over non-vegan athletes considering macronutrient, micronutrient and antioxidant status

✓ Optimum pre-exercise metabolic state (acid-base-balance, pH-value, alkalizing potential/dietary acid load)

Faster replenishment of muscular energy and nutrient stores (increased refueling in-race and post-exercise), thus

Maximized regeneration and recovery process

↓ Shorter time for recovery

✓/↓ Protective against exercise-induced stress, thus lower exercise-induced oxidative stress (aid recovery/regeneration)


✓/ High quality of plant protein (particularly soy)

✓ Plant protein provides all amino acids

✓ Plant protein beneficial to (sustainable) health

↑ Plant protein healthier than animal protein

✓ Total and daily protein intake (10-12%) is adequate

✓ Plant protein (without the use of additional protein supplements) adequate to meet or exceeded current protein recommendations protein needs at all ages, and higher requirements of athletes (when energy intake is adequate)





↓ Diminished muscle soreness, reduced muscle damage and inflammation, better recovery from exercise

✓ Supports protein turnover

✓ Supports metabolic adaptation

✓ Promotes building and maintenance of tissues, increases skeletal muscle mass and muscle strength (hypertrophy)

✓ Remodeling of muscle and whole body protein

✓ Promote repair and renewal of damaged tissue/muscle

✓ Stimulates maximal muscle protein synthesis at rest and post-exercise

Faster or even optimized recovery and/or training adaptations, thus faster regeneration post-exercise


✓ Vegan functional foods (sport-specific supplements of concentrated nutrients) to aid dietary strategies in pre-race, in-race and post-race scenarios, are available from various brands and with different flavors



Increase in physical performance during race

✓/ Promote optimum refueling, maximize restore of body energy stores in-race and post-race, thus aid recovery

↓/✓ Prevent from or reduce gastro-intestinal stress and discomfort, or even aid gastro-intestinal comfort


↓ Lower heart rate

↓ Reduced blood viscosity, thus

Improved blood flow

Improved tissue oxygenation, with fast oxygenation of muscles and brain

↓ Reduced heart rate during exercise




Enhanced physical potential by

↓ Lower cardiovascular burden already at rest

Gain in adaptive potential to cardiovascular stress especially aids heavy training regimens (high in extent and/or intensity) and heavy in-race burdens at high metabolic rates, along with high cardiovascular stress (higher maximum heart rates)


✓ Perception of satiety

↓ Lower BW and BMI

↑ Better BW control/management


✓ Achieves, stabilizes and maintains ideal athletic BW specific to the kind of sports and/or discipline, without calorie restriction


✓/Protective against mental stress and depression

↑ Better state of mood and mental constitution

✓ Good quality of life


✓ Good/optimal for coping with exercise and race-induced stress

1Results gathered, accumulated, and condensed from evidence-based data of large-scale cohort studies, epidemiological studies, original research performed on athletic populations, case studies, meta-analysis, review-articles, systematic reviews, prospective cohort studies, interventional studies, and current position statements. BW - Body weight; BMI - Body Mass Index.

2[13,16-21,24,26,31,84,87,88,94,108,112,113,122,129,141,149,155,156,162,165,170,172,174-176,178,190,198-200,210,211,239-243,249,255,257-259,264,265,308-317,325], [2] (pp. 398, 400, 402, 430), [27] (p. 43), [163] (pp. 15, 65, 67, 74, 77-79), [202] (p. 79), [254] (pp. 778, 788), [326] (pp. 2, 7-8). 3[2,10,11,13,16,19-21,24,26,31,47,88,95,170,173-176,183,223,237,255,264,266,327], [254] (pp. 778, 788), [326] (pp. 2,7-8).