Celebrity trainer Jörn Giersberg knows his way around when it comes to building muscle and losing weight. What is the opinion of the sports scientist on the subject of “weight training and still vegan”? Is it even possible to strive for more muscle mass with a plant-based diet or should veganism be seen as a trend?
Jörn Giersberg: “Vegan muscle building is possible, but not optimal. Without meat there cannot be a complete amino acid balance. It makes sense to use different sources of amino acids (proteins). The combination of animal and vegetable sources is particularly essential. If you leave out one or the other side, you deprive yourself of an important part of the amino acid spectrum. “
Exactly. Animal products also have a higher biological value. This means that the amount of protein ingested is converted more effectively into the body’s own structures. The value for whole eggs is 100. Vegetable proteins, on the other hand, have a maximum value of approx. 70. So you would have to eat more to get the same amount of available protein. Obtaining this amount from natural foods makes the diet more demanding.
What are the advantages or disadvantages of a meat diet?
“There are never pure advantages to a one-dimensional diet and veganism is one-sided in my opinion. It is true that less fat, uric acid and cholesterol are absorbed through the plant-based diet. For example, cholesterol is needed for hormone production. There are, however, disadvantages! Due to the lower biological value of the plant-based diet, more must be eaten in order to cover the protein balance.
Why is that a problem?
Because this makes reaching for supplements more likely. Unfortunately, people think that they are doing themselves something good if they eat tons of powder just because protein and vitamins are mentioned. Incidentally, this does not only apply to vegan products! It’s really crazy how radiation the people are from the industry and its advertising claims. Diet supplements cannot be the solution! People can’t tell me that veganism is so healthy – and then I see them eating lots of chemistry. “
Is veganism more of a trend in weight training or is there more to it?
“There are always examples of successful implementation in sport. Years ago I met Bill Pearl, a very famous bodybuilder who also ate a plant-based diet and was successful with it even before Schwarzenegger. For the broad mass of the population, however, this is not an issue. From my point of view it is and will remain a trend. It will certainly be more. People are increasingly turning to herbal products. Food is also changing and improving. However, I do not believe that animal nutrition can be replaced by this.
In my experience, extremes never last – at least not for the masses. There are always people who rigorously follow certain diets. Few of them, however, want to limit themselves permanently in life or worry about food. For ecological and ethical reasons, veganism naturally makes sense. Nevertheless, animal nutrition is of great importance for our health, which cannot simply be brushed off the table. I am definitely in favor of not consuming meat as often and not fattening it up, but not doing it completely is not a solution either. “