A1 Effects of a short-term vegan diet on fitness and body composition
Michael Dahlinghaus, Drake Berberet, John Rehfeld
Department of Kinesiology, St. Ambrose University, Davenport, IA, 52803, USA
Correspondence: Michael Dahlinghaus (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Vegan diets refrain from the consumption of all animal products. People may choose a vegan diet for health, performance, or ethical concerns. While the adoption and popularity of a vegan diet has increased among the general population and fitness communities, there has been little research documenting its effect on general fitness (max strength, cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular endurance) and body composition. The purpose of this randomized controlled study was to study the effects of adopting a vegan diet on general fitness performance and body composition in an active population.
Twelve physically active college students volunteered for this study. The respondents were randomly and equally divided into two groups: an experimental (vegan) and control group. Each participant was instructed to track their diet for three days prior to pre-testing, as well as during the experiment using myfitnesspal software. Both groups underwent a pre fitness and body composition assessment. This assessment included height, weight, blood pressure (BP), body fat percentage, one repetition maximum (1RM) back squat, 1RM bench press, push up test to failure (PUT), and a Vo2 max test (1.5 mile run). The experimental group was then instructed to follow an ad libitum vegan diet for three weeks which eliminated all animal products from their normal diet. The control group maintained their normal diet. Both groups were instructed to continue their normal exercise program (exercising >3x a week). After three weeks, both groups underwent a post-test consisting of the same initial assessments. A paired sample t-test was used to investigate statistically significant differences between the pre and post-tests for the experimental and control group.
For the experimental group, mean weight decreased significantly by 3.4lbs (P<.05). There was also a significant decrease in mean caloric (422.5), protein (32.8), and fat (32.9) intake (P < .05). No statistically significant differences were seen for the control group mean values.
Based upon this study, a short term ad libitum vegan diet decreased total body weight with no impact on fitness scores.