Dec. 20, 2021

"Plant-Based and Vegan Diets in Sport & Exercise" with Dr Nanci Guest

"Plant-Based and Vegan Diets in Sport & Exercise" with Dr Nanci Guest

Episode 165 of the Institute of Performance Nutrition's "We Do Science" podcast! In this episode, I (Laurent Bannock) discuss "Plant-Based and Vegan Diets in Sport & Exercise" with Dr Nanci Guest (The University of Toronto, Canada).

Discussion Topics Include:

  • Overview of Plant-Based and Vegan Diets in Exercise and Sport
  • Defining "Plant-Based", "Plant-Focussed", "Vegan", "Vegetarian" diets etc
  • Plant-Based Diets and Impact on Athlete Health and Performance
  • Facts vs Myths as it relates to Plant-Based Diets and Protein Quality
  • Practical Considerations in Transitioning to Plant-Based Diets for Athletes
  • Conclusions / Summary: Context Statement

Podcast Episode Transcript: Download PDF Copy

Key Paper(s) & Resources Discussed / Referred to:

Related Podcast Episodes:

Check out our other podcasts, publications, events, and professional education programs for current and aspiring sports nutritionists at www.TheIOPN.com and follow our social media outputs via @TheIOPN

Transcript

EPISODE 165

 

[INTRODUCTION]

 

[00:00:00] LB: Hi and welcome to, or welcome back to if you're a frequent follower or listener even of the IOPN “We Do Science” podcast, the Institute of Performance Nutrition’s podcast. This is episode 165. And I am Laurent Bannock, Dr. Laurent Bannock. And I'm just so excited to be getting back into doing these podcasts. If you've been listening, following for a while, you'll know that I haven't been putting out that many episodes of late. And it's been a while since the last episode. And I can only apologize, but I've been busy. I'm also a practitioner amongst my many things that I do. And it's been a bit of a crazy year to put it politely. 

 

But for me, in my work as a practitioner, I've been engaged in a number of tournament's in elite football, elite soccer, which has taken up a huge amount of my time, which I love. But I also love doing these podcasts. And it's just such an awesome opportunity to have really fascinating to me and to you, hopefully, conversations about all things sport and exercise nutrition, exercise physiology, metabolism, and so on, with a view to all of us, including myself upgrading knowledge so that we can take everything to the next level with whatever it is that you do. 

 

So today, I had a fascinating, or another fascinating chat, with Dr. Nanci Guest. Yes, she's been a guest on this podcast before where we talked about her PhD work in nutrigenomics. But this time around, Dr. Guest and I focus on plant-based and vegan diets in exercise and sport. And this is a huge topic area. You'll all have heard about this topic. It's just massive. There's a lot of people that have a lot of views, a lot of emotional ties. A lot of myths exist. And, of course, with the world, the way it is, there's great interest in doing what we can that's good for the planet. And there's obviously the ethical side of that, and so on. So there's all sorts of angles here. 

 

But this is We Do Science, and what we want to do is actually look at the science, the evidence, and in particular, in the context of sport and exercise nutrition, primarily through the lens of the researchers, the practitioners, and people that are using this information to further develop what it is that we know from an evidence-based stroke, evidence-informed perspective in our work with athletes, teams, and research in the labs, and what we teach students and so on. 

 

So anyway, I love this conversation I had earlier today. We got into this fascinating area of plant-based, plant-focused, vegan, vegetarian. We unpack those terms, both from the perspective of what they mean, the implications for health. Remember, athletes are also human beings, and health is the primary focus there, of course. It should always be that. But also, of course, how it affects training adaptations, performance and all those areas that we are looking to engage with our sport and exercise scientists, sports nutritionists, dietitians, nutritionists, strength conditioning coaches, sports scientists, and athletes, and so on. 

 

I guess probably the real big area in this topic of the many areas that we discuss is, of course, the idea that it perpetuated about protein being the better source of protein, the more superior sources of protein from animal source foods, like milk proteins, for example. Being a reason why perhaps athletes may not want to engage with a plant-based diet. That's a myth. That is an outdated idea. You'll have heard me and various guests talk about in previous podcasts where we focus on protein, which has been quite a few episodes, where plant-based proteins are an absolutely acceptable source of protein and amino acids. It just gets a bit more complicated for reasons that we'll discuss in the podcast as it relates to the simple fact that not every food has every nutrient that the body needs. And this is very much the case with certain isolated plant-based, plant-sourced foods. So we’ll into that and talk about the importance of a balanced diet, whatever that means, and how you can combine various components within the diet to have an absolutely adequate plant-based diet that can support your proposed or your required adaptations to training, performance and so on and so forth. 

 

So I don't really want to ruin it for you, but we do get into the evidence. We talked about practical components. Dr. Guest is not just a PhD in nutrition. She's a registered dietician. Has worked with a vast amount of teams and elite athletes. So she is, I feel, the best person for me to have this conversation with. And I know that you're going to very much enjoy this. 

 

Now, before I let you drop in and listen to that great conversation, let me just quickly plug what we do at the IOPN, which is, our focus, my team and I, we’re entirely focused about the training and the development of sport and exercise nutrition professionals, practitioners. Yes, we're deeply rooted into science and evidence. We do some of our own. We've got our own publications and so on. But we're all about teaching practitioners, not just researchers or whatever. That's our unique stand, is bridging the gap between science and practice. And of course, at the forefront of that is our program or diploma program, which is an advanced level professional practice. It's practice-led, practice-focused, postgraduate level advanced program, 100% online. Although we will be returning to optional taught sessions in Edinburgh in Scotland, where we're based now, once this pandemic, whenever that happens, passes. But it is 100% online. 

 

And if you're looking to take part in that program, you might be a dietician, you might be a sports nutritionist thinking, “Do I need to do this? I've got a Master's. I've got my degree.” Yes, because we focus on the bits that you either didn't get any education on or you've got very little education on just because of the fact that you can't do everything on your master’s or your degree, just don't have time, you've got to fit in the curriculum that you have. Well, we fill that gap. Or you might be from a professional strength conditioning coach, nutrition coach, personal trainer type background. And if you've got the right kinds of high-level professional certifications, there's a way for you to get onto our program as well. And we will radically upgrade your knowledge in general and then advanced nutrition on our program too. So we have a route and a path for you, as well as other avenues to MSc in PhD pathways, which we'll be announcing next year in 2022, which is super exciting. 

 

And if you want to do that, go ahead and enroll for the –  I think the next cohort is February 2022. And if you do that by the 25th of January, I believe it is – 25th of February, sorry, you'll get a 10% discount. No, it's January, isn't it? So go ahead and check that out. Also, while you're there at our website, you'll come across our software, our SENPRO System, which is, I guess, a digital toolbox of resources to help support practitioners’ work with their clients, their athletes, manage their practice, communicate with their clients, and get the very most out of their work as practitioners. And we've also now, literally in the last few weeks, released our clients app available on your portable devices, iPhones, analog and whatever, which is specifically there to help clients interact with you as the practitioner, and communicate, and track what they're eating and their diet, and so on and so forth. 

 

Anyway, you can learn all about that, again, at www.theiopn.com. And you can get a 14-day free trial. So you don't even have to pay anything to go check it out. But it is there to help you be the most effective practitioner you can be and have the highest level of impact you possibly could have with clients or even with teams. So anyway, theiopn.com. 

 

So anyway, that's enough plugging at what we do at the IOPN. I hope you now enjoy this conversation I had with Dr. Guest on plant-based and vegan diets in sport and exercise. Take care and enjoy. 

 

[INTERVIEW

 

[00:08:40] LB: Hi, and welcome back to the IOPN, Institute Performance Nutrition “We Do Science” podcast. And my guest today is Dr. Nanci Guest. Hi, Nancy. How are you doing?

 

[00:08:52] NG: Hi, Laurent. Excellent. Thanks for having me.

 

[00:08:55] LB: It is it is my pleasure. And I'm excited to have you come talk to me today for a number of reasons. We have done a podcast a number of years ago, which was more down the nutrigenomics path, if I recall correctly, which was an area that you were doing your PhD in. Is that right? If I remember? 

 

[00:09:15] NG: That's right. Yeah. That was the focus of my PhD work, caffeine specifically.

 

[00:09:21] LB: And that was awesome. So I'm just going to refer everyone. And there'll be a link to that in the show notes. But we've met, obviously. Or it’s not obvious to listeners, but we've met in the past. It’s one of the great things about conferences, pre-COVID. Remember that everyone? 

 

[00:09:35] NG: Yes. 

 

[00:09:36] LB: Real human beings. 

 

[00:09:36] NG: I miss conferences.

 

[00:09:37] LB: I know. I know. Me too. But we're going to do the Zoom thing for our podcast today. So listen, Nanci, another area that you're not only passionate about, but extremely knowledgeable to the extent that it's not an area that you're just well-read in. It's an area that you have also done some research. And I have a number of current and upcoming publications, which is in the area of plant-based, and vegan diets, and exercise, and sport. And this is such a great time for us to be doing this. I know that we're now at the tail end of 2021. Gladly press reset on ’21. Not sure ‘22 is going to be a whole lot better. But one thing that is an area or a focus, when we stop thinking about COVID all the time, is obviously health and well-being. 

 

And one really big area that has been a focus in the nutrition world or the nutrition health and well-being world has been the concept of plant-based or vegan approaches to one's day-to-day eating. But what is perhaps even rarer in that topic, that area, is the specific focus or the relevance, the impact that plant-based and vegan diets may have on sport, and exercise, and athletes. And of course, that's the area that you and I are particularly familiar with working with as practitioners. And a lot of our work impacts people working in that field. 

 

But whether or not there is as much evidence for us to draw upon to make any sound conclusions is something we'll discuss. And unlike some big sort of TV shows, Netflix dramas, whatever, on these sorts of topics that may use different levels of quality of expert or information and may arrive at different conclusions is perhaps going to take a slightly different path from the one that we're going to have today, which of course is the basis of, as I said, your current and upcoming work that we'll see in the peer-reviewed literature. 

 

So anyway, let's just bring this back, Nanci, to you, Dr. Nanci Guest. Just a quick overview as to who you are and your areas of interest as a practitioner as well as a researcher would be really, really great. Thanks.

 

[00:12:01] NG: Sure. Okay. Well, as you know, so I've been in private practice for over 20 years as a sport dietitian, registered dietitian focused on sports, and a personal trainer, a strength and conditioning coach, and a researcher, and a speaker. So a few things going on. I have never really been interested in academia. But I love working with people and I really found my passion with plant-based nutrition professionally just over the past number of years where I saw how there was a real need to have an expert in the area when it came to athletic performance. 

 

So I went vegetarian in 1995 while completing my agricultural science degree, my journey to become a vet. And after visiting several beef and dairy farms, and I witnessed a lot of suffering, even though these were “happy farms”. So for personal reasons, I was vegetarian, and now vegan for just over two years. 

 

As a sport dietitian and nutrition scientist, I thought it was important to never sort of push any of my personal philosophy. It's important to minimize the bias when being a practitioner giving nutrition advice. 

 

So as I say over the past number of years, I realized a lot of athletes were interested in going vegan or interested in a more plant-based diet. And I thought, “This is great. My personal passion.” And now I think the world is ready to accept this on a professional level. So this isn't sort of some type of fringe movement, where it's only based on ethics. And there really is no evidence that this could be an adequate performance diet. But that's not true. And we're having such a surge in not only research, but also food availability. So there's never been a better time to be vegan as of now, just with all the different products coming into the marketplace. And we can touch on that I bet, what ones are better than others? 

 

Yeah, so I've been – Well, I did my PhD over about six years at the University of Toronto. And then now I'm doing my postdoc there. Some work still in nutrigenomics. But a lot of it working with plant-based nutrition, looking at soy. Doing some work around the differences between meat and plant-based meats. And so I'm lucky to be able to sort of transition to doing research around my passion. And this is really me going forward, is trying to use my platform to help more people go plant-based, whether it's fully exclusively, or just eating more plants. So I'm super excited and grateful to be able to be in this space. It’s really such a perfect time. Everything is so topical anything around plant-based nutrition.

 

[00:15:15 00:17:46] LB: I mean, listen, I think I've used this phrase in different contexts before. But you have to be living under a rock if you haven't at least been impacted in some way by people's interest and passion, anger, their anxiety, or whatever, as it relates to this concept of plant-based, or plant-focused, or plant-centric diets, vegan diets, vegetarian diets. 

 

And I mentioned this frequently on the podcast. And when we're talking about athletes, we're not just talking about athletes. We're talking about human beings. And it's important to recognize the individual needs and preferences of all the individuals, the human beings that we're working with. And something that is quite clear, as one of the various themes that exist on this podcast that we really like to focus on, is things like context and relevance. 

 

And that cannot be only from the perspective of the practitioner, like you've just said. You have a personal reason and rationale for following a vegan diet, for example. But as we'll discuss today, there are different ways of approaching this, which will fit into those needs and preferences. But at the core of this is the necessity to understand the evidence that's behind this topic. And in particular, how that relates to sports and exercise. 

 

So before we get into this – And I, myself, I'm not a vegan. I'm not a vegetarian. You know, I have no specific bias here. But I have taken an interest in this of late, particularly in the last number of years working with a lot of football players, soccer players, who have started to present themselves as vegans or plant-based, etc., and not necessarily understanding what that means themselves, which I'll drop in a few examples of some absolutely crazy situations I've found in my own practice with some of the athletes. 

 

And this is why this conversation today is going to be important, because it's not just about the evidence, but it's also about how that evidence is translated into day-to-day practice and ultimately onto the plate, from science to plate, so to speak. 

 

So, Nanci, look, we're using terms like plant-based, plant-focused, vegan, vegetarian. I think the first thing we should do here is have you explain. What are these terms? And what do they mean? And how are they similar? Or how are they to be differentiated between themselves?

 

[00:17:53] NG: Yeah, sure. Under the umbrella of plant-based, we have vegans, we have vegetarians, and they are opposed to meat or animal flesh consumption. But they do differ regarding the use of animal source foods, where a vegetarian could be lacto-vegetarian, meaning they still consume dairy. Or they could be ovo-vegetarian, meaning they still consume eggs. 

 

So the term plant-based is sometimes used interchangeably with vegetarian and with vegan. So it is a little bit confusing. And although it would be useful to have a solid definition of plant-based, I tend to use it as mostly plant-based, which is like vegetarian, mostly animal-free. 

 

Now, when it comes to a vegan diet, vegan is more of a lifestyle, and it's a justice movement. We don't want to see any oppression, or exploitation, or suffering to animals. And so therefore, vegans not only eat an exclusively plant-based diet, but they also don't wear leather. They don't attend aquariums or zoos. And they're really an advocate for the animals in all ways. And so there's not even consumption of gelatin capsules. So they would have to be vegan capsules. Vegans don't even ingest honey. That's sort of exclusively about the animals. 

 

Now, what's interesting is we're seeing another movement in calling a diet animal-free. And this is because we have our third kingdom – We have our animal kingdom, our plant kingdom, and we have a third kingdom of fungi. And so fungi are not plants. So having a plant-based diet, or even being vegan, it's not clear whether you consume fungi or not. So animal-free certainly means there's no animals. And the reason there's a bit of excitement about the fungi kingdom, as a lot of – And this is where mushrooms come into play. I think, oh, gosh, close to several 100,000 types of fungi. And only about 20% of them actually create mushrooms. Or might even be less than that. 

 

So mushrooms, this form of fungi have a meaty texture. And a lot of this is being made into mycoprotein and used as a supplement. So you may be familiar with a product, corn. And that is from fungi sources, the protein there. So basically, vegan is really sort of a justice movement about the animals. And vegetarian and plant0based are generally mostly about plants, maybe some animal products. And so I try to specify or make it clear. 

 

But throughout my talks, I generally say plant-based or vegan and use those somewhat interchangeably. But I think even vegans, sometimes with travel, or even around the holidays, sometimes some animal products can slip into the diet. And I think we do our best. And I don't like to be so rigid as to really criticize people that end up consuming some form of animal byproducts on occasion.

 

[00:21:25] LB: Yeah. And I think that's why it's important to delve into this concept of what actually do these terms mean. But also, it's not just what they mean to you and me. It’s what does it mean to the listeners. And they will have different perspectives on this. And that is what's so interesting about so many things in life, of course, is it comes down to the interpretation and what gets lost in the interpretation of that. And how we default to a level of convenience? 

 

We've got phraseology like plant-based. And of course, that, as you've just pointed out, is missing out the fungi kingdom, which is ironically where they tend to maybe bridge the gap or have attempted to bridge the gap in the protein sphere, which we're going to come into. So I think that's super interesting there. But one way or the other, there's some gray areas, of course, which might be religion as well, Nanci, isn't it? And people, they're not doing it because it's something that they've decided actually this is a path I'm going to go down. It's a path they feel compelled to go for religious or ethical reasons. It gets rather complicated. So one's relationship with these concepts is going to have a number of different motivators behind them. By either which way, it's big. 

 

And the popularity of this concept of plant-based and vegan diets is exploding, isn't it, Nanci? When you think about this, not just from your own journey, but particularly in the context of sport and exercise, this really wasn't a big thing, as far as I am concerned. And maybe that's just because I wasn't really into it myself. But it seems to me it's exploded onto the scene in terms of popularity. Do you feel that’s a correct statement?

 

[00:23:18] NG: Yes. Yeah, absolutely. Well, we can see that there was quite a surge a couple of years ago, of course, when the famous Netflix Game Changers came out. And I think there were a lot of questions around that time. I think it was many people's first exposure to veganism. And certainly bringing elite athletes into the scene. Now I know there are some criticisms of the movie, or of the documentary, but we shouldn't be looking for science in a documentary to begin with. I think that really caused a ripple effects of people starting to consider things like animal welfare, or animal cruelty. The environmental damage are caused by some of these concentrated feeding, livestock feeding operations, and climate change, and the emissions. And some of this talk about regenerative agriculture. And how much land would we need if we were to have grass-fed beef? 

 

Certainly, in the US, we would lose 90% of our beef if we were to take away these concentrated feedlots or the factory farms as sort of those densely populated farms. And if we turned it all grass-fed, we simply don't have enough room. So I think there was just this new knowledge now circulating. And because this is about sports, and athletics, this have a lot of athletes asking questions. And I think that athletes, especially when they become more successful, and they're professional, or seen as elite, or Olympians, they like to use their platform to share information about something they feel strongly, about something they believe in. They attach themselves to a movement. And I think we're seeing that. 

 

I mean, we see celebrities like Joaquin Phoenix, and his movement in the dairy world, and his promotion of veganism. And then we see some justice movements around racism, and Colin Kaepernick, and taking a knee. And I think a lot of athletes are seeing that the sort of exploitation of animals is another ism, it's speciesism. And then we have our national soccer players. And their goal is pay equity. And this is seen as sexism. So we have all these isms. And the animal justice movement is another ism. 

 

So I find that this is really filtering down to young athletes. And it's interesting, in my practice, I have about an equal number of adult athletes coming to me wanting to be more plant-based or wanting to go full vegan. And the other half is parents coming to me either distraught or outraged that their teenager has gone vegan, and they don't know what to do. And they're sort of framing it as one of these awful teenage phases, similar to smoking weed and drinking, of course, which it's not. And there's nothing wrong with being vegan. It's good for the planet. It's good for the animals. 

 

Now, certainly, we want some guidance when it comes to making sure nutritionally adequate. But I think this brings up another point, and it's addressing these old school notions that you must have animal products to be healthy. And furthermore, you absolutely need them to be successful as an athlete, to repair your muscles to grow your muscles. And this just simply isn't true. 

 

And I think we also have this, coming from the coaching community, that somehow masculinity and what it means to be a man is tied in with the consumption of meat. Every man should be able to barbecue a steak, or catch of fish, or go hunting. And I think this is an outdated view of masculinity. And that is something that we really need to address in some of the – More the, I guess, the coaching environment. And so I see this with athletes as well. They come to me and say, “Well, the coaches are like this. And some of – This is maybe more so rugby, football, those types of sports,” but where it becomes uncomfortable for a male to want to be plant-based or vegan. And I want to offer a safe place for this conversation. And I think this is a key area that we need to address. 

 

[00:28:12] LB: Yeah. I mean, look, I'm with you the whole way here. I think I've got one of my various catchphrases on this podcast, but one of them as you can, but should you? And, really, that's just a question of stopping and thinking about stuff and going, “Look, do you really understand this topic? Do you understand the evidence around this topic? Do you have enough information? And are you actually capable of interrogating that that knowledge, that information to arrive at the right kind of perspective, not just for yourself, but being able to get through all of that from a neutral perspective and impartial perspective so that it's helping your clients, your athletes, your teams, whoever it is that you're impacting, make the right reasons so they’d make the right decisions for the right reason?” 

 

And that's why I think this is a really interesting topic, because when we come at it from the perspective that you have, and what I've read in your work so far, and conversations with you in the past, and you've already mentioned this earlier, that this isn't necessarily a panacea for everyone. You can argue for and against that. The point though is, is that this is an effective approach. If we step aside from the ethical arguments, which are powerful, of course. But if we take that neutral perspective as we find ourselves as practitioners, not judging our clients or the people that we're trying to help with their personal sort of preferences and needs and ethical questioning that they are going to have to embrace when they think about doing this sort of thing. But simply what actually are the facts as we have it, where of course, like many topics we get into on this podcast. Actually, there's more than one way of doing something.

 

And like you've just said, an animal protein-centric approach to that is the only source of the protein, or amino acids, or whatever, that's going to help you get bigger, faster, stronger, get those adaptations to your training. And if you don't do that, you're just going to be weak and flimsy is very much an outdated approach.

 

And we've had conversations with various protein experts. Of course, our Director of Science and Research is Professor Kevin Tipton, who happen to be an expert in that subject. We've actually published papers on this recently. Absolutely, it is not the case that it has to be animal-based. And sometimes that perspective is taken where people will use the animal-based research as the strength behind their argument. Well, that's just because that's how the study was done. And it doesn't mean that they wouldn't have arrived at the same or similar results through plant-based approaches, because those studies have not necessarily been done yet. 

 

So this is sort of an area I want to get into with you, Nanci, is what actually do we know about this? And when I say do we know, not do we think, do we hear on Twitter, but what do we actually know about this? But before we get there, Nanci, just quickly remind us about the general mounting evidence that does seem to support the sort of plant-based vegan type of diets for health. Because as I said, whether you're a recreational athlete or a professional athlete, your health is, or should be, your primary concern, I would argue.

 

[00:31:28] NG: Yeah. So a few things to unpack there. So when I’m doing a talk on plant-based eating for athletes, and my disclosure is that I am vegan, I do feel at that point I need to build trust. People sort of sit back and think, "Okay, this lecture is from a vegan. We're going to take bits and pieces from it, but perhaps there are some bias here." 

 

So I do start out by saying today we don't have any robust data showing that all things being equal, switching to a plant-based or vegan diet, is going to improve performance. And so that is sort of my statement for people to feel, "Okay, you're going to bring the science to this talk, in this conversation." 

 

So although we don't have robust and consistent data that provides strong evidence that a vegan athlete could perform better than one who consumes animal source foods, we do have athletes that want to make that switch. And we as practitioners have to respect them and support them. So we sort of can't any longer use the excuse that plant-based diets are inferior to performance. This has been disproven both in research and in the field. 

 

So if we're looking to determine the best strategies based on performance outcomes only, not emotional ties to outdated concept of what's natural and how animal foods are natural, it becomes clear that plant-based eating is a viable option for athletes. But it's clear that you're not going to have this boost in performance by avoiding animal products. So it still becomes about comparison diets. And what is your baseline? 

 

So we have what we joke about the Doritos and Coke vegans they're all about the animals, and they really have no concern for health, and never mind performance. So there's a bunch of nutrients they may be missing that's a poorly planned vegan diet. And then if we're comparing this to let's say a Mediterranean plant-focused diet, still including some animal foods that would be the superior diet. So having a mostly plant-based diet, getting all those benefits and just adding some animal products back into the diet, this is not going to cause adverse impacts to your performance. 

 

So I think what holds true are the consistent nutritional benefits we see from plant foods in general. And we can look back at the health research. So we do know that plant-focused diets, or even exclusively plant diets, have been associated with many health benefits such as lower all-cause mortality, lower impacts when it comes to cardio metabolic risk, so diabetes, obesity. Vegans tend to have lower BMIs. Now this may be good for cardio metabolic health, but this could be problematic for bone density. We know that having a low BMI is an independent risk factor for bone mineral density. And we can sort of talk about that later.

 

But I think we need to emphasize a well-planned plant-based diet. And for some, this is very logical. For others, they don't have sort of a foundation of education, and there are things they don't think about such as B12 being absolutely necessary as a supplement, or that the RDA for iron goes up. We multiply it by 1.8 if you're looking to get iron from a plant-based diet only. So I think one thing the research tells us – And we sort of have – Looking back, there was a study published in 2016, a review that looked at eight studies comparing vegetarians to omnivores. And they didn't see any clear benefit either way. 

 

To me, that's good news, because if you want to switch to a plant-based diet to feel secure that it's not going to negatively impact your performance, yet you are able to enjoy the other benefits, such as the ethics of it, the concern for climate change, the environment, all of the positive things that go with a plant-focused diet without worrying about performance. To me, the fact that they're somewhat equivalent is good news.

 

But as far as uh some of the studies, again, looking at soy versus whey, and muscle growth, or improvements in strength, we're really seeing no benefit either way. So we've had soy and whey go head-to-head in in multiple studies. But we still do have some concerns around protein. But if we look at – We can look at that in a bit more detail. But I think we have a number of publications showing that there really isn't that much difference. 

 

But I think we sort of need to design trials that are much more focused on the specifics. And that's going to give us some more answers and also focusing a little bit more on the foods and nutrients that are included or excluded rather than sort of an overall dietary pattern, which Laurent, can vary widely. So one person's definition of a Mediterranean diet, very different from another. 

 

[00:37:11] LB: Absolutely. I joke about this frequently. One person's definition of a high protein diet might be my definition of a low protein diet, for example. 

 

[00:37:20] NG: Yes, that's right. Yes. 

 

[00:37:20] LB: That's the problem, is the lack of definitions exist not just between the various people that are interacting with this topic, with this debate, with the noise that exists out there. But also the various professional bodies, the various seats of expertise differ considerably in their definitions and understanding, which certainly doesn't help, does it? There is an awful lot of confusion, which is a problem of course in this topic. But I think one thing that everyone agrees upon pretty much unanimously is the fact that plenty of plants in your diet, fruits, vegetables, etc., are only to be welcomed and applauded. And again, I guess that kind of – I didn't mean to go into the whole low-carb thing. But that is an area that gets rather interesting when you talk about the value and importance of plant-based foods, whether you're fully plant-based vegan or whether you're high in plant-based and other sources of nutrients and so on. 

 

But either which way, cutting out food groups that provide so much in the form of vitamins, minerals phytochemicals, fiber, etc., is there's really nothing else there. And then an area that we've discussed quite a few times in this podcast of late is the whole microbiome area. Now that is fascinating. And I guess I’ll bang this back to you about this concept of stop talking. I’ve sort of indirectly criticized the sport and exercise feel for constantly focusing on calories, macros, proteins and so on. And we're not just athletes, we're humans, and we eat food. And what we want out of that is more than just the energy and he macros and so on. 

 

With your background as a dietitian, for example, you'll be particularly well-equipped to just quickly go down that path. Why is it important that we eat foods such as plants that are so rich in these things when we're not just considering performance outcomes?

 

[00:39:35] NG: Sure. Yeah. So just to back up, I just want to mention a few of the potential benefits of a plant-based diet. So more research is needed in this area. So right now, we're not seeing a big difference, but we sort of also need to consider some of the benefits that we do see as far as, you mentioned, the high fiber content. And this results in a lower caloric density. So we do know, as I mentioned, vegans tend to have lower levels, body fat and lower BMIs. Also for most athletes, the high carbohydrate content coming from plant foods, helps to maintain glycogen levels. And this, for some athletes, they're wanting to minimize the intake of carbohydrates. And that's possible too.

 

Reducing blood viscosity. So when it comes to endurance athletes, we know that some of these plants, phytochemicals, are improving vascular flexibility and endothelial function. For your cardiovascular system, the more flexible your blood vessels are, the better oxygen economy. We know this from the research into beetroot, and nitric oxide, and our body and the beetroot. It was then on your podcast, of course. 

 

Also this resulting in greater blood flow and oxygenation to skeletal muscle as well as cardiac tissue and how this could benefit performance. And some of the anti-inflammatory components we're seeing in phytonutrients, these aren't present in animal foods. And we have something like ten thousand or fifteen thousand different plant-sourced foods, whereas we tend to recycle the same eight to ten different animal foods. 

 

So really, the variety of nutrients is coming from plants. So as well this reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. And so this is reducing muscle damage, boosting immunity, and helping with recovery. So we know that recovery is paramount. And you working with athletes, high-performance athletes, you well know that some athletes are really suffering from high intensity training, and multiple games, and traveling, and they need a bit more rest. Or we need to make sure that we're offering that nutritional support to mitigate some of that excessive damage caused by exercise and intense training. So those are sort of some of the ways that we're seeing this benefit from these phytonutrients. 

 

But when it comes to the microbiome, we certainly see health benefits. It's unclear as of now whether this is going to impact performance. But as we know, athletes are first human beings. Secondly, they're athletes looking to perform. And I know you've talked about that, and that's something we always need to be clear of, that a healthier athlete is going to perform better. 

 

So some of the benefits of plant-derived nutrition is going to be on the composition and diversity of the human gut microbiota. So we've seen these benefits after adoption of a plant-based diet. And I think it's also important to remember that this human microbiome, it's not a fixed trait. It's something that's a very malleable part of us and something that changes with diet. It changes with exercise. It changes with your amount of body fat, exposure to toxins. So it's a separate community that really thrives on fiber. So the non-digestible dietary plant fibers. And they're stimulating the growth of these beneficial gut bacteria. In essence, they're feeding the bacteria. So acting as pre-biotics. 

 

And I think there's a little bit too much emphasis on problem solving with probiotics, thinking, "Well, it doesn't really matter what my diet is. But as long as I’m taking probiotics, I’m going to have a healthy microbiome." This isn't the case. For one, taking a probiotic doesn't guarantee that you're going to colonize your gut with this probiotic that you're ingesting. When you stop, some of these benefits may be lost. A better strategy is really providing the nutrition that those bacteria needs. And this is going to come from plant foods. You're not going to get these benefits from animal proteins. And there is potentially some deleterious effects with high amounts of protein at the exclusion of plants when it comes to the health of your gut and your intestinal lining. 

 

So even in one recent paper looking at the microbiome, and athletes, and the benefits of exercise, they also saw that there's some speculation that protein powders can sort of promote the creation of these proteolytic bacteria that may damage the intestinal lining by destroying some of this mucosal layer. And this may in turn lead to some of the gaps in cells, and which we know can proceed to leaky gut syndrome. And certainly, if different molecules can get past the intestinal wall, this can cause all kinds of problems. 

 

And when it comes to athletes, we know that gastrointestinal health is critical, because not only do some athletes have IBS, or Crohn's, or various GI issues, but we know exercise in itself is increasing the risk of GI issues. So with runners, for example, your intestines jostling around. We see some bleeding from the intestines. We see a lot of sort of perturbations that are causing diarrhea, or gas, or bloating. So something very important to an athlete is having good gastrointestinal health. And I think we cannot underestimate the effects of a plant-based diet in helping feed and nourish these enterocytes or the intestinal cells, which are promoting this gut health, and keeping that mucosal layer nice and thick. And I mean, you and I have both had athletes with terrible GI issues. And this can really impact training and performance. So I think the microbiome is a very exciting place. And we know that the benefits are much more than not the specific gut health, but we have the gut to brain axis and things like that.

 

[00:46:29] LB: Absolutely. Yeah, I mean, it's an era I’m particularly fascinated in having played my own small part in some of the research on some of these areas. Well, I must have done five, six, seven podcasts with various experts from the concept of the fiber gap all the way through to the gut and gut barrier dysfunction and so on. It's utterly fascinating area. But let's move on from there. I’ll link to all those podcasts. Actually, I think they're well worth getting into because they link very much to everything you just said, which I fully concur with.

 

Look, if there's one area that tends to rustle the feathers of people, perhaps incorrectly due to a lack of updated knowledge on this topic, is the concept of protein. And as I joke frequently, there's nothing like adding protein into a podcast title to get maximum downloads or Google searches. Protein is just such an area of fascination for people interested in sport, and exercise, and physique, and so on. And that is an area that has unfairly added a bias to how people look at the potential benefits of a plant-based or vegan diet because of the perception of the lack of high-quality protein or the lack of the various amino acids that would be required to get adaptations to training and/or the physique that people are looking for that will just shut the door on their idea of potentially going down a plant-based diet. So tell us about what the evidence actually tells us about that, Nanci. This is an area that I think we really should spend some time on if we can. 

 

[00:48:11] NG: Sure. Yeah. Yeah. So first of all, a big shout out to Luke Van Loon's lab for being a real leader in publishing some really nice studies and reviews in the area of plant-based proteins. So I think, first of all, plant-derived proteins are comprising a large part of our daily protein intake, whether you're an omnivore or not. And I think it's becoming more important with respect to global needs in the future of where we're going to get our protein, and from sustainable sources, and looking at proteins that are requiring less water, land and energy in comparison to animal source proteins. 

 

But I think there's generally sort of three or four different areas of concern. So we know that most plant-derived proteins have a lower essential amino acid content when compared to animal-derived proteins. And this is usually lysine and methionine. However, there's also considerable variation in the amino acid composition between various plant-based proteins. So we sort of can't group plant-based proteins all into one. So one concern that people have is the lower absorbability of plant-based proteins and seeing that this may be attributed to some of the anti-nutritional factors in implant proteins, such as fiber, the polyphenolic tannins, and things that can sort of block or hinder the absorption. 

 

And what we can do to address this is plant-based protein powders are going to be helpful here. So these are concentrated sources, like a plant-based protein isolates or concentrate. Now, we know that smoothies and shakes, these are very popular in the form of whey traditionally with athletes and those looking to gain muscle. So there's nothing wrong with choosing a plant-based powder. 

 

Now, what we can do with some of the proteins that are – Plant proteins that are lower in a particular amino acid, this is another issue. People are concerned that it's low in a certain amino acid or many amino acids. We can have protein blends. So if you combine pea, which is lower methionine, and you combine that with brown rice, which is low in lysine, you do have a complete protein in that powder. And this is a concentrated source. And you can get plenty of protein, 30 grams per serving, the same as you could from a whey powder, for example. 

 

And then also consuming – So again, sort of focusing on either low total protein content. So if that's the case, you can consume more. So rather than having one cup of lentils, if you have one and a quarter cups of lentils, you're going to easily hit that 20, 22 grams of protein. Now you can also, when it comes to creating powders, you can extract proteins. So Stu Philip's lab, of course, did the one study showing that potato protein, which is actually equivalent in leucine to whey protein, which most people wouldn't know, you can extract that protein and put that in a supplement. It would take a lot of potatoes to reach a certain level of protein. But still, you can extract it and concentrate it. And then we have within meals. And I think this is one of the most important take-home messages, is that we don't just eat a slab of a tofu or a cup of beans when we're looking to get some protein from a plant-based diet. We eat mixed meals, not single foods.

 

So I have some of this in the article you'll link, where let's say we have a stir fry that has tofu, and a peanut sauce, and there's some broccoli in there, some sesame seeds. For about 600 calories, as a meal, we can get about 40 grams of protein. And we actually have more leucine and more protein than you would get in four ounces of beef or chicken or three large eggs. So because this is a mix of different sources, and you're getting that combination that's going to give you that superior amino acid profile, there's not a problem with that, even if you just had tofu on its own. 

 

But of course, if somebody is looking to have a sole source of just nuts, or just vegetables, or just beans, this is going to be problematic if that's all you ate. But I really don't know anybody on a plant-based diet that is not ingesting a variety of plant-based proteins throughout the day over several days, even in the same meal, which again is not necessary. And then we can also look at fortifying plant-based products with the single amino acid that's needed. And again, with protein powders, I think it's a good habit to get in that one shake in a day to just give you that boost of protein, and then a lot of other nutrients. Of course, as you know that can get into a smoothie. A couple handfuls of spinach, maybe some avocados, some peanut butter, some chia seeds, some berries. So as I’m sure you are, we're big fans of smoothies to begin with. Yeah, I don't see a problem with reaching your protein needs.

 

[00:53:38] LB: But you see, I think one thing that becomes illustrated in this conversation is that there's this obsession with more is better. Oh, animal protein is higher in leucine than blah-blah-blah-blah. Or this product has got more vitamins in it than you would ever find – This super high dose, super-duper supplement has got far more levels of vitamins, and minerals, and antioxidants than you could ever get through your rapidly depleting and nutrient value diet. 

 

But actually what they're not saying is, is it adequate, rather than high or low, which then brings about high is good, low is bad? It's more of a case of is there sufficient is there adequate amount here? And, of course, when you look at it from that perspective, therein lies your own. So you can achieve pretty much everything through a variety of different food sources, which brings us back to this central point of these outdated animal protein, dairy protein biases, which is not in keeping with the evidence. But more importantly, with what is actually relevant as it relates to the actual training adaptation outcomes, for example. 

 

Quite simply, the facts are you can achieve a robust muscle protein synthesis, a response to training, of course, being the primary influence and the support that you achieve through diet when you allow for sufficient energy intake, of course, which can be through a variety of food sources. Plant-based foods – 

 

[00:55:22] NG: There are some studies though that I can sort of go through.

 

[00:55:24] LB: Yeah. Good. Do it. 

 

[00:55:25] NG: Yeah. And I think that's important. We don't want to miss out on what's in the published literature. Again, a few studies from Luke Van Loon's lab. So something very recent, I think just published in the last month, is looking at an RCT where they had healthy young males ingesting either 30 grams of milk protein, 30 grams of wheat protein, or a blend of 15 grams of milk and wheat. And they actually found that the muscle protein synthetic rates following the ingestion of these three different supplements did not differ. So very fascinating that you could get the same benefits from wheat. And even though the leucine was a little bit lower, you could see in the blood values that, over time, the leucine was higher in the blood of the milk versus the wheat, or the combination, and then a few other amino acids. 

 

But in the end, over time, the muscle protein synthesis was the same. And then there's another also recent study looking at leucine and essential amino acid concentrations, and looking at chicken versus a plant protein. And they added, I believe, lysine to the plant protein. And that was sort of the missing amino acids, and they found also similar rates of muscle protein synthesis. 

 

And then actually probably the best study we have to date is by the Brazilian group that was really the – And Stu Phillips was a co-author here. It was really the first study that didn't just look at supplementing a soy protein versus a whey protein, because they were not considering the rest of the diet. What does the rest of their diet look like? So this was the first study of taking actual vegans for, I believe, at least three years have been following a vegan diet. And then omnivores, which were eating a variety of animal source proteins. So they took these two groups and they also added a supplement. So a vegan diet plus a soy shake, an animal-based diet plus a whey shake. And I believe this study was over 12 weeks. Yeah, so three months, where we're looking at different outcomes. And so this was considered a high protein diet. So 1.6 grams per kilogram of body mass. And this is really now seen to be the magic number, that if you're achieving 1.6 grams per kilogram, your source of protein really has little relevance. 

 

And so in this study, this 1.6 grams per kilogram, an exclusively plant-based diet. So that would be plant-based whole foods plus your soy protein shake was not different than a protein matched mixed diet of animal source foods and a whey shake in supporting muscle strength and muscle mass accrual. And this suggests that protein source is not affecting resistance training induced adaptations to grow and strengthen muscle. So they had four outcomes in this study. So one was muscle strength. That was a one rep max. The leg lean mass. They looked at that through DEXA. And the muscle cross-sectional area, they looked at that through ultrasound. And then they did a biopsy, so looking at muscle fiber cross-sectional area, and there was no difference. 

 

I think this is really sort of one of those landmark studies that allows us to move forward in designing more of these. And there was even a trend for the plant-based diet to have a higher cross-sectional area when it came to building muscle. And so the biopsy is I think one of those compelling arguments when we're looking at what's happening in the actual muscle. This is a direct measure. So I would encourage people to read that study. It sort of covers a lot, a lot of background as well. 

 

And then we have many recent studies again looking at just everything from soy, to pea, to wheat, to rice. And given enough protein and or adding one of the low amino acids is really creating a similar result. So what this tells us is that as long as you're not a vegan who's only eating one source of protein, you're going to be okay. And it's really about reaching that 1.6 grams per kilogram if you're looking for the optimal in repair and growth. And then just even in my practice, working with some athletes that have been vegan either all their life, I have a couple of athletes that that have never eaten meat ever in their life or any animal uh sort of muscle tissue, and they're just fine. They're building muscle. They're performing at either the Olympic level or some that are top level hockey players in sort of the junior leagues. So it's really building confidence in me to speak out about this in a way that I may sort of shied away from five years ago being a little bit more concerned about the viability in a male athlete that needs to build muscle and needs to be strong and perform at, let's say, a professional level. So that's exciting, and I think for many reasons that we've discussed throughout our conversation.

 

[01:01:11] LB: Yeah. Look, I find it exciting from my own perspective, my own practice, that plant-based diet, as it relates, for example, to the protein debate, is an absolutely viable option. And we should stop worrying about that. Perhaps we should be spending more time worrying about the actual type of exercise stimulus, the frequency, and so on and so forth, which is a whole another argument, of course, and is arguably a particularly more important aspect to that debate rather than worrying about animal source. 

 

But let's just move on from the protein conversation, because people will obviously use that as their main focus on this topic. But people that are advocates of a high plant-based diet, which they might call a plant-focused diet, a Mediterranean diet being an example, would go, "Well, hang on. We're trying to promote a more balanced diet, a more varied diet that includes a number of different food groups, that includes, for example, fish, or maybe eggs, or other such substances." 

 

Now, tell us about this, because again the arguments will be, "Oh, well, fish are particularly significant sources of omega-3 fats, for example. And then we've got other nutrients that are potentially not so easily found in the plant kingdom. Might be more easily found from ocean sourced foods, for example." What are your views on that as a practitioner of vegan, but also as it relates to what the evidence actually tells us about this?

 

[01:02:54] NG: Sure. Yeah, well, I think it's an exciting time when we look at omega-3 fatty acids. There's a lot of research being done in my department, nutrition department, at the University of Toronto, Dr. Richard Bazinet. This is his focus, is DHA. And he's starting some human trials early next year. And they have this new mass spectrometer that actually can – $300,000 piece of equipment that can separate basically the gases – You can separate the isotopes of carbon 13 and carbon 14 after the combustion of fatty acids. And this sort of uh allows us, through these tracers of carbon 13, to see how much of a plant omega-3, so alpha-linoleic acid, ALA, how much of this actually would be incorporated into EPA and DHA. 

 

So depending when you sort of chimed into the talk about the need for fish or DHA from a direct source, we sort of, I guess, probably close to 20 years ago, recognize that the conversion rate looks low. And we would sort of tell clients that, "Listen, you need to take fish oil, or eat fish, because the conversion may be zero, or maybe one percent, and you're just not going to get enough from plant sources." And this would be due to the omega-3 biosynthesis pathway that it sort of halted when ALA is going to form EPA and then on to DHA. 

 

So what what's interesting is that, now, some of these animal studies done in the Bazinet lab, as well some human studies through this tracer method, are showing that DHA tends to be self-regulating. So when studies show that when you keep giving more and more ALA, the DHA levels in humans don't seem to be going up. And so this was sort of concluded that, well, the conversion is poor. Because when you feed more DHA to humans, their DHA level does go up. So this means there's a problem in that pathway. 

 

Now what they're finding with these tracer studies is that plenty of the ALA is going to produce the DHA, but there seems to be a mechanism where DHA stops the progress of making more EPA because it's sort of trying to regulate how much precursor there is. And so there's sort of this negative feedback. And it's really fascinating that – So they're able to determine how much of a plant omega-3 is being made into DHA, which we consider a fish omega-3, and how it really looks like the evidence is growing that ALAs are adequate for our DHA needs. And even if it was low conversion, some other studies have shown that the amount you could produce enough to feed the brain, for example, which a lot of this has been done in animal studies, even if you're converting one percent, this looks like it's about ten times the amount that the brain would actually take up and utilize. 

 

So we tend to think of one percent as being a very low number. But if it's one percent of a very high number, maybe one percent is fine. How much do you need is what the better question is. So that's sort of a bit of a long-winded answer. But it really is looking promising that we're not even needing these aldol supplements that are vegan friendly, because those are, of course, supplying the aldol DHA. But wheat may be just fine with adequate consumption of walnuts, canola oil, chia seeds, hemp seeds, all of those plant sourced omega-3s. So that's good news.

 

[01:06:59] LB: Yeah. Nanci, it reminds me of what again it's these extremes that we go into and how we interpret it. But, of course, if we looked at things like oxygen in the same way or water, if all we did was breathe in oxygen and that was it, that we wouldn't last very long. And if all we did was inhale water, i.e. drowning, we wouldn't last very long either, would we? So I think it's that perspective of, like you just mentioned, more is not necessarily better. The extremes I’ve just given being an example. But it's that question of adequacy. And maybe that's the area that that we need more research and knowledge on, isn't it? Is what actually constitutes is adequate in those areas relative to the sources of these things, like the example you gave of one percent of a very big amount, is going to be more adequate than say five percent of a very small amount.

 

[01:07:53] NG: Yeah, that's right, yeah. We see from some of the other micronutrients that when it is a plant source, the RDA does go up. So for iron, for zinc, you do want to know what those numbers are. And so I think it would be a good idea for any athlete looking into switching to a plant-based diet to sit down with a dietitian that has the knowledge. And that's also what I tried to do in the paper I wrote that you've read, is it's a layout a diet as well. What is what does it look like? Wow what does a meal plan look like that's not packed with some of these supplements or these plant-based meats or some of these processed foods that I think is another issue that leaves people sort of hesitant thinking beef is natural beyond, or impossible meat burger made from plants. This is very processed. This is unnatural. 

 

There're some studies starting around that. But I think the great thing about food technology and innovation is that there's no end point. We've sort of done what we can with livestock and the production of beef, or chicken, or pork. But food technology can really take us a long way in applying large amounts of sustainable protein that is healthy, tasty, and inexpensive. And I think that I’m sure you've heard in the news there, but certainly in Canada, where it's in the news every day. The cost of food and the price of everything going up, and it's becoming unaffordable. And so I think a lot of solutions are coming down the pipe. And so it's exciting. 

 

[01:09:38] LB: It is exciting. Yeah. Solutions to people's problems, the world's problems. There's certainly a lot there. But speaking of solutions or enhancements, let's just quickly – Because we can't cover everything obviously. We're running out of time here anyway. I just want to move past health, and is it protein and all this sort of thing, and move on to the concept of ergogenic aids. Because this one is a particularly interesting area. And I guess the really big one is going to be creatine. There're vast amounts of evidence that shows how useful creatine can be in certain aspects of supporting training adaptations and/ or performance. And we've explored that in many different podcasts on We Do Science. 

 

But you cannot escape the fact that creatine does naturally come from – When I say naturally, we would normally acquire it in a food-first sort of perspective through animal sourced foods. So what is the situation regarding creatine and how do you get around that as a plant-based or particularly a vegan athlete? 

 

[01:10:52] NG: Sure. Yeah. So I’m definitely a proponent of creatine. We do see mounting evidence of benefits even beyond that performance. So we know that with regard to performance, it's helping us regenerate that ATP more quickly, which translates into more volume in the gym, or that quicker recovery in in some of those short duration high-intensity bursts of energy. So as far as cognition, immunity, I think creatine is an important nutrient. 

 

But what I think is sort of the elephant in the room is if you're taking creatine to provide an ergogenic aid to enhance your performance, could you really get this from food? Can we really criticize plant-based diets for not having enough creatine because you're not consuming animal muscle tissue? Now, if we look at the amount – So we're generally processing, or the body is utilizing four or five grams of creatine a day, and we're getting two grams or so endogenously and then some coming from the diet. 

 

Now, even though it looks like vegetarians have lower levels, some of this research have been done, lower creatine levels, we don't see this as being impactful to performance because vegetarians and omnivores in a study – Gosh! When was that? This was back in – Oh, yeah, so 2020, where they did a systematic review. And it looks like the benefits were equal, whether your diet was omnivorous, or plant-based, or vegetarian. So what's important to note is that if you want to get ergogenic benefit from creatine, you have to supplement the amount of meat you would need to consume. So given you're not a carnivore, which is not good for athletic performance and many other things, ingesting two and a half pounds of steak per day or 12 chicken breasts is what is seen to be the dietary or food equivalent to what you would need to give you a performance advantage as you would see with taking a supplement. 

 

So we have our traditional 20 grams a day of loading and then five grams a day of maintenance. I like to just go with the five grams of maintenance from the get-go. So I think that's it sort of points to the fact that it doesn't matter what your dietary pattern is. You're going to need to take a supplement if you want that creatine advantage. And so I think that sort of, to me, if it's an athlete, take the supplement. Even a non-athlete, I do recommend taking one or two grams a day. I think it's a good idea. And I really have not seen any drawback to that. So even if someone is just exercising lightly and they're not necessarily pursuing greater athletic endeavors, having some is a good idea. And then we have the [inaudible 01:13:55].

 

[01:13:56] LB: I’m sorry, Nanci. I just wanted to interject there just quickly to point out, because we haven't discussed it, that although, yes, the argument is that know we get this stuff from consuming animal muscle or fish and so on. As you quite rightly point out, that even people that do eat those foods on the whole still will find the need. And the evidence shows that supplementing additional creatine can have substantial benefits. The supplemental form of creatine is not from animals though, is it? It is entirely suitable for a wide range of consumers.

 

[01:14:33] NG: Yeah. Yeah. You can absolutely derive creatine, non-animal sources, yeah. 

 

[01:14:40] LB: Yeah. I just wanted to point that out to the listeners that might be thinking, "Hang on, because the supplements do not come, they are vegan approved, so to speak, aren't they?" So, look, there's many different things I think we could talk about the micronutrients we could go into in more detail. But what I really want people to do is read the various articles that I’m going to link to. I’ve certainly got a number of guests lined up for early next year in 2022 where we're going to be talking about some of the research that we've actually talked about and what they found in their studies as it relates to plant-based proteins and so on. 

 

[01:15:17] NG: Excellent.

 

[01:15:18] LB: Yeah. We'll be continuing to dig deeper into this topic. But you've done a fabulous job here, Nanci, of outlining this topic I think from a very balanced perspective, even if you are a vegan Nanci. 

 

[01:15:32] NG: Yeah, I know.

 

[01:15:34] LB: It's been great. And we could talk for hours, but we don't have that much time. So is there something you'd like to leave the listeners with in terms of some sort of a summary at the end of this discussion forum? 

 

[01:15:45] NG: Yeah. I think keep an open mind. And something that I think is becoming more important to individuals is looking at the impact of their diet beyond what that nutrition is to their personal body. And I think many nations now, in their dietary guidelines, are including the sustainability of certain foods and thinking about, "When we choose a specific diet pattern to follow, what are other impacts besides that to personal health?" And so that is a good reason to open your mind and seeing if this is suitable for you. 

 

And I think it's also important to talk to somebody who is offering plant-based nutrition in practice, because there's a lot of insight there with the transition, those that are concerned about having so much fiber, or beans, or getting gas, or bloating, or how do you navigate all the plant-based products in the grocery store? There are a lot of things that need to be addressed. And I really think it's important to cover those concerns so somebody who is looking to make this transition can feel confident that they're doing it in a healthy way and that they're not compromising health, nor performance, body composition, all of those things. And, again, I encourage people to do some reading in the area and open their mind to the possibilities.

 

[01:17:19] LB: Yeah. Well, just having listened to this conversation with you, this discussion, will go some ways into supporting that and the additional reading and so on will certainly help. So, listen, Nanci, it's been great to talk to you today. I will link to your publications, the other podcasts we've done and other relevant podcasts and to your website, and we'll show people your social media links and so on. You're a great person to follow, and on various aspects of sport and exercise nutrition, but particularly in this area. I’d like to thank you for helping me understand this topic. It's a new area for me, but I’ve learned a lot just from today and reading your various articles and other related research on the topic. And I look forward to talking to you again at some point on this and other topics, Nanci. 

 

[01:18:12] NG: Sounds good. Yeah. Thank you so much for having me. I really hope the listeners found some helpful information. And thank you so much for having me on.

 

[01:18:24] LB: Yeah, you're welcome. Thank you so much. Take care.

 

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