n International SportMed Journal - Vegetarian diet and athletes : FIMS Position Statement 2009




A balanced intake of macro- and micro nutrients is crucially important for conditioning, recovery from fatigue after exercise, as well as for injury prevention. An increasing number of athletes have adopted vegetarian diets for one or more reasons and actually there is no available evidence to support either a beneficial or a detrimental effect of a vegetarian diet on sport performance. Therefore, it is widely accepted that appropriately planned vegetarian diets can provide sufficient nutrient energy with an appropriate range of carbohydrate, fat, and protein intake to support performance and health. On the other hand, questions have been raised by some investigators regarding unique risks of the vegetarian diet, including oligomenorrhea and amenorrhea, iron deficiency, vitamin B deficiency, vitamin D deficiency, and impaired mineral status. In the present overview those items are described with the aim of identifying intervention warnings for vegetarian athletes.


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