The most popular vegetarian diets are based on grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits and, to a lesser extent, include milk, dairy products and eggs. Many products commonly used in a vegetarian diet are normally spread all over the world, for example pasta, bread, rice, beans or peas while many other products, not essential for the balance of the diet but still usually used in the preparation of vegetarian meals , on the other hand, they are normally absent in a particular food culture and belong to other food cultures thus configuring vegetarian diets as multi-ethnic diets and without national barriers.
Vegan diets exclude the meat of any animal and all products of animal origin from the diet and therefore fall within vegetarian diets as special cases. In addition to the classic vegan diet, based on cereals, legumes, vegetables and fruit and typically adopted as a food practice in ethical veganism, other diets can also be considered vegan diets which, although they differ substantially from a classic vegan diet both in food principles and in type of foods consumed, do not include the consumption of any ingredient of animal origin, such as those practiced, for example, in vegan raw food, fruit or ehretism.
The Impact of Vegan and Vegetarian Diets on Physical Performance and Molecular Signaling in Skeletal Muscle, published on Nutrients, is an interesting retrospective study on the subject. The researchers explain: "Muscular adaptations can be triggered by exercise and diet.
As vegan and vegetarian diets differ in nutrient composition compared to an omnivorous diet, a change in dietary regimen might alter physiological responses to physical exercise and influence physical performance. Mitochondria abundance, muscle capillary density, hemoglobin concentration, endothelial function, functional heart morphology and availability of carbohydrates affect endurance performance and can be influenced by diet.
Based on these factors, a vegan and vegetarian diet possesses potentially advantageous properties for endurance performance. Properties of the contractile elements , muscle protein synthesis, the neuromuscular system and phosphagen availability affect strength performance and can also be influenced by diet.
However, a vegan and vegetarian diet possesses potentially disadvantageous properties for strength performance. Current research has failed to demonstrate consistent differe nces of performance between diets but a trend towards improved performance after vegetarian and vegan diets for both endurance and strength exercise has been shown.
Importantly, diet alters molecular signaling via leucine, creatine, DHA and EPA that directly modulates skeletal muscle adaptation. By changing the gut microbiome, diet can modulate signaling through the production of SFCA."