Revista de Nutrição
versão impressa ISSN 1415-5273
FERREIRA, Lucas Guimarães; BURINI, Roberto Carlos e MAIA, Adriano Fortes. Vegetarian diets and sports performance. Rev. Nutr. [online]. 2006, vol.19, n.4, pp. 469-477. ISSN 1415-5273. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1415-52732006000400006.
Current evidences show benefits of a vegetarian diet for human health. However, when a stricter vegetarian diet is adopted, health risks are confirmed. Vegetarian diets are characterized by a high intake of carbohydrates, fibers, magnesium, potassium, folate and antioxidants and may result in a low intake of amino acids, essential fatty acids, calcium, zinc, iron and cobalamin. Experimental human researches indicate that both vegetarians and non-vegetarians present similar aerobic capacity. Regarding muscular strength and power, researches are scarce but the existent ones do not report significant differences. Cardiovascular risk situations have been confirmed, due to the possible hyperhomocysteinemia given the low ingestion of cobalamin. Vegetarian diets do not contain creatine, resulting in lower muscle reserves of this nutrient among this population. Hormonal and metabolic changes are a possibility in response to vegetarian diets, as well as low levels of testosterone and androstenedione. The immune function does not seem to be affected. Thus, a vegetarian diet is compatible with daily exercising as long as it is well planned in order to avoid nutritional deficiencies.
Palavras-chave : creatine; exercise; diet; vegetarian.