It might surprise you but researchers have been talking about how athletes can develop a lean, muscular body eating a plant based diet for over 100 years. We have many top level athletes who eat only plants (and don’t load up on protein and protein powders). A new study done in Australia points this out once again.
The research was done on 56 men whose age averaged out to 45.5 years (so they weren’t college guys). There were two diets involved both of which restricted calories and were low fat* but one group consumed 17% of calories from protein and the other consumed 35% of calories from protein. This was a 12 week study and at the end of the time both groups lost 9% body weight and had a 4% increase in lean muscle mass. Also, they were similar in terms of strength and aerobic capacity. That’s pretty impressive stuff.
* The low fat part of this diet would also contribute to a faster metabolic rate. I other words foods are burned up faster. In another study overweight people were found to burn calories about 16% faster for three hours after a meal that was low in fat. If you can rev up your metabolism for three hours after every meal you have an extra edge that will keep away extra weight. Yes!!
The Australian study showed that building lean muscle mass and developing strength were NOT a result of higher protein. Think of all the good results that you get when you eat a plant based, low fat, high carbohydrate diet. If you add appropriate amounts of exercise you can have a lean, strong body. If that is your goal… you are already on your way. Check the foods you are eating, your total calories and your exercise level. Knowing these things and adjusting appropriately you can and will achieve your goals.