Vegetarian Muscle Power, Strength, & Endurance

Vegetarian Muscle Power, Strength, & Endurance
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Randomized controlled trials put plant-based eating to the test for athletic performance.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Historical examples of successful plant-based athletes range from the gladiators in ancient Rome to the Tarahumara Indians who run 160-mile races for the fun of it: six back-to-back marathons.  But, they weren’t put to the test until the last century or so, purporting to show beyond a reasonable doubt that athletes who regularly ate meat showed “very far…inferior endurance” to even sedentary vegetarians—meaning it’s not like the veg athletes just won because they were training harder or something. There are certainly advantages to plant-based eating, like more antioxidants to combat “exercise-induced oxidative stress”, and the anti-inflammatory nature of many plant foods that may “accelerate muscle repair” and strength recovery.  But, do you have to eat this way for years, or decades, or your whole life to get these apparent benefits?

What if you took a couple guys in Texas, eating their regular Texan diet, put them through “a maximal exercise test,” then asked them to cut out the meat for four days, told them about the existence of bean burritos, then after four days tested again, measuring time to exhaustion, ramping up the treadmill to see how many minutes could they go without collapsing. And there was a significant difference, favoring the vegetarian diet, boosting the time to exhaustion by about 13 percent. Each of the subjects, all five, “had a higher time to exhaustion…following [the] vegetarian diet.”

But, who can tell me the fatal flaw to this study? Anyone catch it? They were all in the same sequence—meat first then veg. And any time you do a test a second time, you may do better just because you’re more familiar with it. If they then went back to eating meat, and their performance tanked during a third test, then you might be onto something, but this isn’t very convincing. And even if the effect is real, it may not be the meat reduction per se, but a function of improved glycogen stores from eating more carbs or something.

If you put athletes to a vegetarian versus omnivorous diet for a 621-mile race—you’ve heard of a 5k? This is a 1000k!—and you make sure to design the two diets so they get about the same percentage of carbs, the finishing rates…are identical, and total times within just a few hours of each other.

Same thing with sprinting: randomize people into veg or mixed diet groups, and no significant difference in sprint power between the two groups. They conclude that “acute” vegetarianism has no apparent adverse effects, but no apparent performance benefits either.

Same with strength training. Measure “maximum voluntary contraction” of both biceps and quads “before and after each dietary period,” and…no significant difference either way. Put all the studies together comparing physical performance in these kinds of randomized, controlled trials, where you have folks eat more plant-based for just a few days or weeks, and: “There appeared to be no differences at least acutely between a vegetarian-based diet and an omnivorous diet in muscular power, muscular strength,…or aerobic performance.”

Long-term, though, a plant-based diet can be conducive to both endurance performance and health. “Whereas athletes are most often concerned with performance, [more plant-based] diets also provide long-term health benefits and a reduction in the risk of chronic disease,” associated with a reduced risk of developing coronary heart disease—the number one killer of men and women—”breast cancer, colorectal cancers, prostate cancer, type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, hypertension, cataracts, and dementia.” Doesn’t matter how shred, if you’re dead.

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Image credit: adobe via adobe stock images. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Historical examples of successful plant-based athletes range from the gladiators in ancient Rome to the Tarahumara Indians who run 160-mile races for the fun of it: six back-to-back marathons.  But, they weren’t put to the test until the last century or so, purporting to show beyond a reasonable doubt that athletes who regularly ate meat showed “very far…inferior endurance” to even sedentary vegetarians—meaning it’s not like the veg athletes just won because they were training harder or something. There are certainly advantages to plant-based eating, like more antioxidants to combat “exercise-induced oxidative stress”, and the anti-inflammatory nature of many plant foods that may “accelerate muscle repair” and strength recovery.  But, do you have to eat this way for years, or decades, or your whole life to get these apparent benefits?

What if you took a couple guys in Texas, eating their regular Texan diet, put them through “a maximal exercise test,” then asked them to cut out the meat for four days, told them about the existence of bean burritos, then after four days tested again, measuring time to exhaustion, ramping up the treadmill to see how many minutes could they go without collapsing. And there was a significant difference, favoring the vegetarian diet, boosting the time to exhaustion by about 13 percent. Each of the subjects, all five, “had a higher time to exhaustion…following [the] vegetarian diet.”

But, who can tell me the fatal flaw to this study? Anyone catch it? They were all in the same sequence—meat first then veg. And any time you do a test a second time, you may do better just because you’re more familiar with it. If they then went back to eating meat, and their performance tanked during a third test, then you might be onto something, but this isn’t very convincing. And even if the effect is real, it may not be the meat reduction per se, but a function of improved glycogen stores from eating more carbs or something.

If you put athletes to a vegetarian versus omnivorous diet for a 621-mile race—you’ve heard of a 5k? This is a 1000k!—and you make sure to design the two diets so they get about the same percentage of carbs, the finishing rates…are identical, and total times within just a few hours of each other.

Same thing with sprinting: randomize people into veg or mixed diet groups, and no significant difference in sprint power between the two groups. They conclude that “acute” vegetarianism has no apparent adverse effects, but no apparent performance benefits either.

Same with strength training. Measure “maximum voluntary contraction” of both biceps and quads “before and after each dietary period,” and…no significant difference either way. Put all the studies together comparing physical performance in these kinds of randomized, controlled trials, where you have folks eat more plant-based for just a few days or weeks, and: “There appeared to be no differences at least acutely between a vegetarian-based diet and an omnivorous diet in muscular power, muscular strength,…or aerobic performance.”

Long-term, though, a plant-based diet can be conducive to both endurance performance and health. “Whereas athletes are most often concerned with performance, [more plant-based] diets also provide long-term health benefits and a reduction in the risk of chronic disease,” associated with a reduced risk of developing coronary heart disease—the number one killer of men and women—”breast cancer, colorectal cancers, prostate cancer, type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, hypertension, cataracts, and dementia.” Doesn’t matter how shred, if you’re dead.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: adobe via adobe stock images. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Doctor's Note

This is the final video in my three-part series on vegetarian athletes. In case you missed the other two, here they are: The Gladiator Diet – How Vegetarian Athletes Stack Up and The First Studies on Vegetarian Athletes.

I was honored to be a scientific consultant for an amazing new documentary about diet and athleticism called The Gamechangers. Check it out at http://gamechangersmovie.com/

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

90 responses to “Vegetarian Muscle Power, Strength, & Endurance

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  1. OMG. I loved that ending Dr. G and crew! I know several guys that proclaim that meat and excess protein consumption are necessary to have the best looking body. The tag-line at the end of this video is the perfect response (even though I firmly believe that you’ll look healthier and just as muscular eating WFPB…)

    Great video!

    1. No it does not. But it does mean that long term veg diet could quite possibly increase the length of your life and even more importantly, the length of your healthy life!

        1. Direct quote from the transcript:

          “….you make sure to design the two diets so they get about the same percentage of carbs, the finishing rates…are identical, and total times within just a few hours of each other.

          Same thing with sprinting: randomize people into veg or mixed diet groups, and no significant difference in sprint power between the two groups. They conclude that “acute” vegetarianism has no apparent adverse effects, but no apparent performance benefits either.”

          1. Based on temporary veg diet for those studies it seens. He then said Long-term, though, a plant-based diet can be conducive to endurance performance

            1. Yes, but read it again. The performance “benefits” are in being alive to perform i.e. longer, healthier life. There is no data available (at least so far) to suggest actual speed/strength/endurance benefits. No loss either though so if you live longer and healthier, why not? This isn’t religion. WFPB diet does not have to be 100% “best” in all categories to be worth eating that way. It’s all about goals and priorities. If you really want to be biggest and strongest in powerlifting, so far all the indications are that meat and dairy are required as well as steroids…

              1. I’m wondering if you have sources for your statement that “to be the biggest and strongest in powerlifting,,, meat and diary are required, as well as steroids…” Dr Greger cited several studies looking at strength with the conclusion “There appeared to be no differences at least acutely between a vegetarian-based diet and an omnivorous diet in muscular power, muscular strength,…or aerobic performance.” While there was not consideration of steroids, the studies cited did not support the idea that meat and diary are necessary to be the “biggest and strongest in powerlifting.” Do you have conflicting well-designed studies to support that idea?

                1. My only source is long observation and experience in my own body. And no studies. But I have not seen any studies that demonstrate superior strength and hypertrophy from being vegetarian or vegan. There are vegetarian and vegan MMA fighters and powerlifters. And if you compare them they are smaller and not as “bulked up” as the rest. Some of them are still amazing athletes, like the Diaz brothers in MMA, but that is down to genetic gifts, personality traits, and training.

                  1. “There are vegetarian and vegan MMA fighters and powerlifters. And if you compare them they are smaller and not as “bulked up” as the rest.”

                    You’re making a broad generalization based on your own perspective. So because what you’ve seen, or even just what you’ve remembered and paid attention to, is one thing, you conclude that this is the way it is as a rule. I could counter that by saying some of the most ripped individuals I’ve seen are completely plant based. In a link I posted below, there is a female body builder–one of the biggest I’ve seen and thoroughly ripped–who was a vegan since birth.

              2. Geoffrey, I don’t know where you’re getting your conclusions from….

                “Yes, but read it again. The performance ‘benefits’ are in being alive to perform i.e. longer, healthier life.”

                No, those aren’t “the performance benefits” of plant based diets and athleticism, that is just a point Dr. Greger makes at the end of the video addressing only the short-term studies presented in this video.

                “There is no data available (at least so far) to suggest actual speed/strength/endurance benefits.”

                Yes there are, it’s in the last video. Are there more? Not that we’ve been shown, maybe they exist somewhere. Will there be? I don’t see how not.

                “If you really want to be biggest and strongest in powerlifting, so far all the indications are that meat and dairy are required as well as steroids…”

                Ummm… and what evidence are you basing that off of? …That’s simply not true. Some of the leading athletes in the world are vegan and/or plant based and accredit their diets for improved performance. I posted a link with some of them somewhere in comments here. One woman was voted best female athlete in the world some years ago and she was vegan… I don’t remember her name, I’m not really into following athletes or anything.
                Then you have the collective evidence of plant foods vs. animal foods for human health. It’s common sense to realized that to be the strongest version of yourself, your body should be functioning as optimally as possible and the evidence makes it clear that a WFPB diet is the most suited and best diet for optimal human health.
                Then you have the study in the last video.

                The only conclusion I would draw from these short term studies is that momentarily adopting a plant based diet doesn’t immediately increase strength, agility, and so on and I don’t find that surprising. Nature isn’t pharmaceuticals, the results are authentic but it’s not all at once overnight. Seems like the available evidence is mixed and lacking.

                But if an object is only as strong as its weakest point, it could be considered that a person is only as strong as their weakest point. How strong is “strong” when you can lift record breaking numbers over your head but you’re ready to have a heart attack in a years time or you’re gonna have to stop winning marathons due to arthritis. So I don’t really see how strength could be fully defined as strength without looking at the big picture. Yet another thing about these short-term studies that doesn’t impress me.

                1. I also have to add to your suggestion “If you really want to be biggest and strongest in powerlifting, so far all the indications are that meat and dairy are required as well as steroids…” that this doesn’t even coincide with the studies presented above… The above studies suggest there is no difference, good or bad, on a short-term veg diet vs. a meat diet. So again, I have no idea from where you’re drawing these conclusions.

            2. Yes, Dhf, the last paragraph does say “a plant-based diet can be condusive to both endurance performance and long term health… Commenter Tom Mix, below offers an excellent summary imo. Rich Roll is althletic testament to plant based diets and he has a sizeable podcast library at his website to check out on many topics, including wfpb eating and training.

          2. My question was about the life long vegetarianism or being one for many years and its effect on endurance. The video series makes it very clear that acute plant based diets do nothing to increase endurance, but the wording of the entire video series implies that there is a benefit for those eating plant based for a long time or else since birth.

            1. Yes, the implications are about health and not performance. Also, so far, there is no demonstrated advantage even to health of veg only vs very small amounts (5% total calories) from animal sourced foods.

              1. Geoffrey, from my understanding those eating a diet of 1-2% (going by memory) of their diets consisting of animal products were shown to have the greatest longevity but were beaten out by the seventh-day adventist vegetarians and the “vegans” (not sure if they were vegan but they ate no animal products) among them may have lived the longest. Going by memory from what I learned here and from commenters here sharing information. Also these comparison were able to be made because these societies exist. I think as more people shift to a plant based diet, they’ll be more available to serve as proof as the optimal diet for human health.

              2. I know what you are talking about. It’s the hormone profile that allows the athlete to bulk up more. You get more of those hormones from animal foods. But it’s just not healthy to be bulked up over 250 pounds or so … Dr. Fuhrman has even admitted that this is true. You just are not going to get the needed hormone profile from a vegan/nutritarian type of diet.

        2. Ingmar said (in reply to Geoffrey Levens statement there is no difference in endurance and strength between diets), “yes it does. watch the previous video about the yale doctors”
          ——————-

          Agreed– that is the only way to read the two articles about academic research on the two dietary approaches. Although the research was done in the early 20th century, Dr. Greger found no obvious “holes” or deficiencies in their methodology. The tests were simple, quantified measures of muscular performance (in terms of endurance) by strictly separate dietary groups– those eating an omnivore diet, vs those on a plant-based diet.

          Levens offers his personal experience, but that is not the way science and scientific analysis operates. In fact, the scientific method is designed to filter out extraneous factors that can lead to anecdotes in seeming contradiction to research based findings.

          1. ‘Although the research was done in the early 20th century, Dr. Greger found no obvious “holes” or deficiencies in their methodology.’
            That’s not really correct He did not critique the study at all nor did he seek to do so. If he had he might have mentioned that there was no control for weight height smoking drinking ec in that study He reported the study as a teaser but didn’t try to do a critical review

    2. Geoffrey says “no it does not” but that is only because it hasn’t been put to the test, it doesn’t mean that it won’t. It seemed to be implied that it might and I don’t see how it couldn’t when you consider what goes on to the human body on a plant based diet vs. an omnivorous diet.
      I know from personal experience it has dramatically increased my overall health, energy levels (DRAMATICALLY), and strength and I’ve been vegan for years. So, do the studies presented here mean what you’re asking… well no because they don’t even address the long term, but it might. Considering a plant based diet regrows telomeres, improves arterial function, improves blood pressure, and dramatically improves and protects health overall, I would find it impossible to believe that a long term plant based diet would not show a greater increase in physical strength and endurance.
      These short term studies bother me for so many reasons… Based on just what I got from the video, it seems like it’s basically just cutting out the meat… what about the eggs and dairy? And what about eating whole foods? And what about eating the RIGHT whole foods similar to Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen recommendations? Has eating a whole foods or primarily whole foods plant based diet ever been put to the test? And what about the long term? I mean, a body could stop consumption of animal products and still be digesting them some time later. Our cells take weeks to turnover and arteries just don’t clear up in a week or so. These are just a few examples of why I find the studies presented in this video short sighted. And what about the microbiome? It takes a while to change your microbiome and I would imagine that would play a huge role in health in a great number of ways. I’m not an expert by any means, but I would imagine that we wouldn’t begin to see the full benefits of a plant based diet until our bodies have adjusted to it.

      I’m disappointed this is the last video and there won’t be a fourth on a long term study. But I guess we’ll have to wait a while on that. Having switched from vegetarian (eating dairy and eggs but no meat) to vegan and therefore completely plant based to a whole foods plant based vegan, I can confidentially say I know that it makes you stronger and more energetic and faster… totally anecdotal but I’m sharing my personal experience and confidence from it, not trying to convince others or stake a claim.

      1. Similar to my thoughts. From what we know previously about how plant based diets effect the body and the time it takes for those effects to be realized when switching to a whole food plant based diet, it makes sense that a short term plant based diet intervention would not significantly change endurance performance. There are some plants that could change it in the short term (high nitrate vegetables like beets or fennel seeds, see previous videos). Another fact that comes to mind is the arterial health of vegans versus omnivores, especially the studies comparing that of sedentary vegans to the only group they could find with similar biometrics, marathon runners. I think also about why you would expect improved endurance, because your blood supply is able to more effectively reach your muscles and maintain homeostasis. I am hopeful that Dr. Greger and the team find a study comparing endurance strength of long term vegans versus omnivores.

      2. I don’t know why you are disappointed.

        I am not disappointed if athletes using performance enhancing drugs perform better than athletes who do not use such drugs They come at a high cost to health – cycling and Lance Armstrong bodybuilding weightlifting shotputting etc all come to mind. Would it really matter if we accept that animal foods fall into the performance enhancing drug category?

        Diets that produce healthy longevity don’t have to be diets that maximise height athletic performance muscularity fecundity wound healing or whatever In fact if we look at the famous traditional Okinawan diet that produced so many centenarians it was a diet that also produced a population with an average height of only about 5 feet ….. or so I believe

        As fara as I am concerned at least a WFPB diet doesn’t have to be perfect – just optimal for good health and longevity

  2. Unmentioned flaw in the “burrito test” is that almost 100% certain, if you just tell someone to eat bean burritos instead of meat for a few days, those burritos will contain lots of lard, esp in Texas! Maybe that was controlled for in the experiment?

      1. Jon Griffin, from the transcript: “asked them to cut out the meat for four days, told them about the existence of bean burritos, then after four days tested again,” No mention of ‘vegetarian’ at all….and for most people, “cut out meat” they will still eat poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy…. I’m just going by how Dr Greger reported it.

        1. This is from the Gonzalez study itself: “After
          the initial visit and test, the subject was asked not to consume proteins from meats
          for four days, and was instead given suggestions of other foods from which to
          obtain protein requirements. Following the four day vegetarian diet, the subjects
          returned and performed another maximal exercise test with the same variables
          being recorded.”
          https://rc.library.uta.edu/uta-ir/bitstream/handle/10106/9291/Gonzales%20Poster.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

          So likely yes, they were eating milk, eggs, and perhaps even lard if the researchers where not clear in their instructions. Sounds like they just cut out meat.

          1. Thank you Claire! That is info I was curious about. Most people I know consider beef/lamb/pork to be meat and all else “not meat”.

        2. “and for most people, ‘cut out meat’ they will still eat poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy….”

          Not to mention EXTRA cheese… Oh how I remember my vegetarian days ordering from taco bell…. “minus the meat and extra cheese and extra sour cream” So gross. So sorry to the cows </3

    1. As a lifelong weightlifter and father of a former pro football player I know that for the athlete the long term health benefits of a diet are not a
      consideration but, rather, the decision as to which diet to follow is that which will aid in maximum increase in strength and endurance.
      The important takeaway from this video is not that vegetarian is not superior to meat eating but, rather, that there is no advantage to eating
      meat. If the athlete does not give up anything by being a vegetarian he/she may then choose the one with the long term health benefits.

    2. You wondered what speed the tread mill was set at to clarify endurance testing. The research I looked at describing maximal exercise testing on the treadmill involves increasing tread mill speeds so I believe the speed would change (increase) Hope that’s helpful

  3. In addition to the sequence methodology weakness that was pointed out, one of the charts is also misleading but was not called out. The Time to Exhaustion histogram started at 11 minutes with a result that a 13% improvement looked like more than double the benefit. (I trust this was a chart lifted from the research, not prepared by NutritionFacts).

  4. This is great because it answers what I call “The Phelps Paradox, a question I presented the other day.

    This is why Michael Phelps has achieved status as the greatest Olympian ever while consuming an insane amount of animal-food calories.

    So I can now continue to respond the way I have since becoming PB-educated to anyone who uses The Phelps argument to consuming animal foods.

    I respond with: “The Cassius Clay” argument. Sure, he may have been the greatest ever (while he was younger), but that constant pounding to the skull led to his Parkinson’s….kind of in the same way daily and intraday food choices cause chronic inflammation and disease.

  5. It seems that, in this incarnation, Brian Shaw determined to be “The Strongest Man Alive.” But, yikes, to have to pack away all that FOOD day after day! According to his bio, he’s only 36 (and has a wife).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Shaw_(strongman)

    How long will he be able to keep this up? One thing we have in common, though: The dude likes peanut butter. (I don’t buy the Jif brand, though.)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQEJyjKTH9g

    He sorta reminds me of the plant in “Little Shop of Horrors!” “Feed me, feed me!”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLjook1I0V4

    1. I think we can agree peanut butter is awesome. That being said, Brian Shaw does not look too healthy to me. YR, your post inspired me to look up the female athlete who was voted top female athlete some years ago, and was vegan. I got lazy before I even began to search and only came across this collection of some anecdotal stuff from plant-based and vegan athletes: https://www.vegansociety.com/whats-new/blog/ten-best-plant-powered-athletes And this with some impressive plant-based ladies: https://www.livekindly.co/female-athletes-smashing-vegan-protein-stigma/

  6. This video starts with the 1907 study showing detriment to flesh eaters (which Dr. G. touted in his previous video), then showed the 2016 study citing no superiority in veg vs mixed. He did not clear up this apparent contradiction. More details are needed on actual diets consumed in both papers.

    1. By mentioning the 1907 study showing detriment to flesh eaters then bringing up the 2016 study, I believe Dr. Greger is presenting a more updated view with a study using more rigorous research demands. It’s clear Dr. Greger has done a thorough search for relevant studies and honestly reporting that while the earlier 1907 study is not being supported by these newer studies, nor are these newer studies showing any superiority for athletic performance in meat eaters. This seems more of a clarification not a contradiction to me. I do agree it would be good in future studies to have more details on exactly what the diets consisted of rather than (Gonzalez study) “a normal diet consisting of proteins coming primarily from animal” ) Perhaps with these studies researchers wanted to make it as easy as possible for subjects to comply and requiring a diet strictly limiting or requiring certain foods would have made it harder to recruit subjects.(?) I’m just guessing.

      1. “…the earlier 1907 study is not being supported by these newer studies…”Possibly, but in the first video, which centered on the 1907 study, he made a rather science-completed argument, not hinting that the results would be shown to be superseded in a later study (2016). Even in the second (current) video he took no pains to suggest that the 2016 study thus made the 1907 either irrelevant or null and void. I respect him too much to say this is sloppy reporting, but I wouldn’t hesitate to accuse my students of such! :)

  7. To me, the issue is what are you replacing the meat with? I am totally on board with the ethics issues of course. But from a nutritional standpoint, just telling people what Not to eat isn’t helpful.
    That’s why I so appreciate Dr. Gregor’s Daily Dozen. It provides guidelines for people. I also like Dr. Fuhrman’s emphasis on greens, beans, etc. in his GBOMBS.
    Someone mentioned Dr, Wahls curing her own MS, yes, she isn’t a vegetarian. But she does recommend consuming 9 cups of fruit and vegetables a day. That’s a lot of nutrition! How much animal protein would you still want after eating the mandatory 9 cups?

    The average person who comes to me with their health issues doesn’t know where to start. Most of what they have been told is what you Don’t Do. Lower caloric intake, in most cases is necessary due to their weight, but they are also starved for nutrients. Maybe people overeat partly because their bodies are craving nutrients?

    1. “Maybe people overeat partly because their bodies are craving nutrients?”

      I believe that is true. I think when the body isn’t getting enough nutrition, it will stay hungry. Speaking from my own experience, I remember eating so many empty calories… just complete junk, but very high calorie junk, and I’d still be hungry. Those McDonalds days are a good example of that. I’d get a large meal (or rather what they qualify as a “meal”) with a dessert and extra sandwich and despite eating probably well over my days worth of calories, I would be genuinely hungry about a half hour later give or take.
      Wonder if that’s ever been “put to the test” but I think the common sense to it alone is substantial.

  8. Wow, what cool F/X!

    Might have trumped the joke with it though and those jokes at that point in the video are the logic points, which you want people to walk away with.

    Nice choice that it lasted a very long time. Camp fire stories?

    Are we in Hell? And what was that little pinging sound?

        1. Nice touch adding Apocalyptic bling to the end.

          New editing software?

          And the font is so fabously subtle. As subtle as an old Charleton Heston Biblical movie.

          I think this is the part where Moses talks to that bush. Right before he breaks all Ten Commandments at once.

          Do you have parting of the Red Sea in there, too?

            1. I like that you are playful.

              I genuinely don’t think it necessarily added emphasis to your joke though.

              You usually have a Selah pause and this one did have one, but it is like you took a powerful sentence and put so much highlighter over it that the eye is drawn to the highlighter and instead of having the sentence become more powerful, it pulled the mind out of the moment like a skip in an old record used to.

              The editor redeemed it slightly by letting the fire play longer and it is a windy sounding fire. It is more stimulating than the script and there is a danger of making Dr Greger and the science seem more boring in comparison.

              Good editing will always enhance Dr Greger, not compete against him. It is like movies with a star you want people to fall in love with, you need to understand who the quarterback is and protect him.

              Yes, I mixed my metaphors on purpose because none of them fit quite right.

              The fire was a cool, very bizarre moment at Nutritionfacts.org and YR missed it because it isn’t explained in the transcript.

              Selah

              1. Sorry for the back-seat commentary.

                I know that it has to be challenging to make creative decisions and that one was unique and I give thumbs up for being attention-grabbing and unique.

                Watching it a second time, I felt even more like I was sitting watching something educational and a symbolic apocalyptic moment happened and it is harder to remember the information in the video, but I did feel like we just shared a Faustian moment or something.

                1. It is like you are watching a science minute and all of the sudden the smell of something cooking on the barbecue brings you out of the moment.

                  1. I vote the ending the most original video moment and memorable. But I won’t remember the studies.

                    Maybe if you had better results in the studies, it would be more balanced.

                    1. I watched the whole video again and analyzed that other people aren’t mentioning it pulling them away from the topic entirely, so it could be my brain issues or that it is a topic, which I am less interested in or that it is a topic whose results went back and forth so my mind was already trying to figure out if there was any benefit and health is the real benefit and the endurance part isn’t erased, but your other videos on athletes get erased as not being found to be legitimate? So before you distract me with the bonfire, I was trying to throw the whole topic and every video out mentally, because it became confusing and I am not an athlete, so I am going dump the whole athlete series in the Boston Harbor with the tea and maybe think about it when Tom Brady gets beaten by vegans.

            1. Yes, I know, but I still give feedback.

              Actually, the fire at the end probably could become a meme for young people. I say young, but I probably mean teenagers.

              I have been watching the channel where they have each age group react to YouTube videos and things like Memes and the young and old don’t like it when things don’t make sense and both of those groups even get creeped out by things which don’t make sense, but the Tweens have a contrary logic and the Tweens love it even more when things don’t make sense and they make memes out of things because they find it so funny that things don’t make sense.

              That tells me that they actually do have logic in their someplace because I find things funny when they don’t make sense, too, and it is like taking your brain for a jog.

  9. I had the longest conversation with a salesman about What not to eat. He asked me about dairy and soy and chicken and oils/fats and yogurt and eggs and turkey and bread/flour and rice and whether friit causes Diabetes and he asked how to heal the gut microbiome, and, no, I didn’t tell him to get a fecal transplant. He told me that after a round antibiotics he suddenly developed colitis and that he gets arrhythmia’s which last for 9 months if he uses healthy fats, but his notion of healthy fats isn’t healthy fats, so we talked about no oil cooking and getting rid of dairy and chicken.

    He was so interested in all of it.

    Halfway through, my coworker showed up and he did “Don’t eat starch”. I didn’t do the pro-starch argument becsuse I think he already got enough information.

    I knew all the answers and it was my dog looking so well that caused him to start peppering me with questions.

    Found out that my co-worker gave up milk. Woo Hoo.

    1. My favorite part was that he stopped and said, “Wow, you really know your stuff. Did you always know all of this?”

      LOL!

      A year of all-nighters on YouTube and I have learned so much!

      Even when not to argue.

      A second person, a friend of the family stopped and visited after and he is doing it. His blood pressure is improving and he is happy.

      1. The salesman had switched back and forth between milk, low-fat milk and soy milk and he had switched from beef to chicken and looked like a deer in the headlights when I talked about chicken workers getting Cancer at such a higher rate.

        Hooray, I really learned something!

        No notes or videos, just me and my brain.

  10. Stephen M Billig comments, “… one of the charts is also misleading but was not called out. The Time to Exhaustion histogram started at 11 minutes with a result that a 13% improvement looked like more than double the benefit. (I trust this was a chart lifted from the research, not prepared by NutritionFacts).”
    —————

    Yes, an apparent “defect” in failing to depict the complete histogram– starting at “zero” percent.

    We can presume the Dr. Greger who regularly points out this frequent defect in graphic presentations would not indulge in the same.

    * FORUM ADMINISTRATOR– You may not have control over this WordPress widget, but if you do, it would be good to retain the original posting screen display if any poster fails properly to complete all information. Most websites and forums provide this amenity, after error detection, simply to spare a prospective poster re-entry of the same information. In my case, after I provided my comment and what I believed complete and correct poster information, I was bounced out of the comment posting screen, altogether. This is an awkward, primitive handling of user comments, and one of the reasons people prefer other posting/forum packages.

  11. After reading a lot of studies and expert reviews, I adopted a vegan diet (I was a vegetarian) because I was convinced that vegan diet will protect my heart from excessive training (I am a 100miler). I adopted a vegan diet to avoid Phidipides cardiomyopathy.

  12. How can the Yale experiments show so much of a benefit, and yet the RCT’s suggest there’s no benefit according to the meta-analysis? Could adjusting the diet to provide equal carbs be the problem? Maybe that’s not a fair comparison, since maybe it makes the meat diet an almost plant based diet since virtually all plant based diets are extremely high in carbs.

    Is there a study design problem here, in which the wrong endpoint is considered? Don’t most of us want to know, does a whole food plant based diet cause a dramatic increase in athletic performance vs. a standard dietary pattern that is NOT plant based?

    1. Neal, the difference is (or at least one major difference), from what I gather is that the Yale experiment used those already eating a vegetarian diet whereas in the studies above, they were all short term.

    2. Neal,

      I love your point!

      Adjusting the meat eaters and vegans diets changed the dynamic.

      Though I will tell you that more and more meat eaters have gone high vegetable.

      Dr. Hyman suggests 75% of the diet be non-starchy vegetables and Dr. Berg recommends 10 servings of non-starchy vegetables per day.

      That is a lot of vegetables.

      My worker is roasting whole heads of cauliflower for dinner and things like that. I might be getting some recipes from him because he eats so many vegetables.

      1. He has lost so much weight eating that way that he really thinks the whole answer was to get rid of starches. The fact he got rid of sugar and dairy and oil and is eating whole heads of cauliflower and is using portion control is what I look at. He looks at not being hungry and thinks it is from getting rid of the starches. I know that I lost my hunger getting enough nutrition and getting rid of sugar. But I stopped craving chocolate when I got enough Magnesium. Once you stop having food cravings, the plans go well, but he genuinely has lost way more weight than I have and he looks so much healthier and I agree with him on most of it but he is vehement against starches. He is against sweet potatoes.

        1. It is conversations like that when I know that I am mostly a moral vegan.

          I say mostly because I can look at my sneakers and the Manuka honey in my house and know that I am not always a moral vegan.

    3. The Yale study was a trial
      RCTs are randomised controlled trials – big difference.
      Also as I think S mentioned most of the ‘flesh abstainers’ would have been lifelong flesh abstainers unlike in the modern studies where participants were randomised to particular diets It is also possible that the flesh eaters in the Yale study were more likely to have been smokers and alcohol users We just don’t know but the results could well have been confounded by unreported variables like these

  13. Hi, Neal Greenburg! You raise some very interesting questions. Unfortunately, not enough high-quality research has been completed to fully answer them. The Yale study, it is worth noting, was from 1907, and would not hold up to modern scientific standards. Even more recent studies have often been small, short, or of flawed design. It would be great to have more high-quality research to consider. Until then, the best conclusion supported by evidence seems to be that, even if a plant-based diet does not provide dramatic performance advantages for athletes, it does not appear to adversely affect performance, and it does appear to have advantages for long-term health compared to an omnivorous dietary pattern. I hope that helps!

  14. I believe until there are further studies which establish in the short term the superiority of of either plant based or meat eating to the other re endurance
    or strength the answer to such an inquiry should be the jury is still out. Vegens, and I am one as I have been following the stricter Esselstyn diet since my quadruple bypass surgery 8 years ago, often come off with an air of moral superiority and superior knowledge, often bordering on fanatacism, which is very off putting to the non vegen, and to try to argue one way or the other when the evidence is clearly not in is just giving ammunition to the non vegen. Anecdotal evidence one way or the other on the issue is not very helpful. For example I talked my step son into going vegen for 6 months. He felt good at the end of the time but felt his strength, he is a heavy weightlifter, was suffering so he went back to eating meat. In the last 2 months since commencing to eat meat his maximal rep has signficantly increased on his bench press, curl, squat, and deadlift. Does this prove the superiority of eating meat for strength? Not really because there could be multiple other reasons for the increase in strength. He knows the vegen diet is better for his health long term but at 23 the long term is not a concern of his right now and I am not about to argue with him or try to get him to change his mind.

    1. Tom Mix, in regards to your step son, the above evidence for the short term speaks against his anecdotal claims of becoming weaker due to lack of meat consumption as the available evidence above shows there is no significant difference one way or the other in the short term. So it’s not as though in his case, we’re only left with anecdotal.

      “and to try to argue one way or the other when the evidence is clearly not in is just giving ammunition to the non vegen.”

      I disagree as long as the arguments or hypotheses are evidence-based. Meaning, I think based upon the collective evidence of the impacts of plant foods vs. animal foods on the human body, it is perfectly reasonable to state why it would be more likely to improve overall athleticism in the long term.

      As for sharing experiences, I think it can be very helpful but undoubtedly does not qualify as scientific evidence.

    2. Tom Mix,

      Yes, Almost evetybody around me is doing the air of superiority diet and most of the PBS doctors seem to do it.

      I have been trying to stop that dynamic, too.

      It is hard because discussions come up which they were taught opposite and I have to care more about them than being right and I have to not be afraid of their health issues, which is the hard part for me.

  15. Now, is there a billionaire present in these comments who’d be willing to fund a long term study? Can’t hurt to ask. You never know where there may be a billionaire lurking with an interest in the sciences just waiting to be inspired.

  16. What about Jack LaLanne’s diet? He ate fish almost everyday along with 10 servings of fruits and vegetables. He also ate egg whites and brown rice. He avoided butter, salt, coffee, and sugar. His mantra was, “If its manmade, don’t eat it! He lived tp be 97. Could 10 servings of fruits and vegetables neutralize the negative effects of fish and chicken?

    I think the human body, at least males, has been commercially manipulated to make us feel that if you are 5′-10” and weigh 150 lbs., that you are a “little guy” and often overlooked for promotions or considered a viable mate by females. Just my opinion.

    1. “He lived tp be 97. Could 10 servings of fruits and vegetables neutralize the negative effects of fish and chicken?z’
      – – – – –

      I would say YES…no question about it.

      I shudder to think how some of the carnies are claiming that veggies/fruits are “poison,” and only the flesh from dead animals has “nutrients.” Raw, especially.

    2. Jack,

      Hard to say because he was into exercise and there would also be genetics, and fish has changed toxicity levels since then, and he was slender and may well have done calorie restriction. My sedentary moderation in eating, mildly overweight relatives have been living into their 90’s. However, they have had heart attacks and strokes and Cancer and Diabetes and other things.

      My sister-in-law’s mother is 86 and smokes and drinks and doesn’t eat vegetables but is just too stubborn to die. She isn’t obese and might do some sort of fasting or somethihg.

    3. Simple speculation I am afraid

      We might just as well argue that it was the physical activity or his genes Of course the fish and egg whites would have provided B12 which would have been missing in a completely vegetarian diet

      George Burns lived even longer than Jack LaLanne and he put his longevity down to drinking martinis and smoking big cigars I think specualting about dietary effects based on a single individual is potentially misleading

  17. S, over the years I have had numerous weightlifters tell me that they gave up vegetarianism for meat because they felt soft and they gained
    strength thereafter. I have not had any weightlifters tell me they gained strength after becoming vegetarians/vegans. I’m not saying there
    aren’t such persons I just haven’t run into any. I do disagree that studies to date definitely show in the short term there is no difference in strength
    between the two diets. I have no opinion as to endurance.l

    1. Tom Mix, interestingly, I have experienced the exact opposite. With my own experience, with family and friends, and with the many people I’ve been able to meet or learn about through animal activism, I have heard, seen, and experienced some impressive stories and results. I actually posted a link above where some of the leading athletes who are vegan or plant based credit their diet for improvements in strength, energy, etc. Also, there’s no existing evidence that would indicate that something in a proper plant based diet would be lacking and a cause for decreased strength, muscle mass, or anything like that–you get enough of what you need and actually get MORE of what you need. But there is quite a lot of evidence as to why physical strength and endurance might increase from a plant based diet from everything to blood pressure to arterial function and so on.
      I also notice that a lot of people say tried going plant based (I hate when they use the term vegan as veganism isn’t a diet) and it didn’t work for them for this reason or that, but so much of that is they either weren’t eating right, or really they just missed the foods they were previously accustomed to and needed to justify eating the foods they already loved.
      It can also take the body some time to adjust. There’s the possibility of detox, not digesting things well because your gut bacteria needs time to shift and grow and I’m sure other factors.

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