Getting plenty of protein post-workout is key to speeding muscle growth and aiding recovery—but what type of protein is best?
To find out, Arizona State University researchers tracked the diet and workout habits of 70 elite endurance athletes—43 meat eaters and 27 vegetarians. And surprise! At study’s end, the veggie eaters had virtually the same lean muscle mass as the carnivores and just as much leg strength.
And though the groups’ VO2 max scores showed they were equally fit, the vegetarians’ numbers were 13% better.
The take-home: If you’re getting the right amount of protein per day (0.6 to 0.8 grams per pound of body weight), it doesn’t matter what form it comes in—plant, animal, or supplement.
Not sure how to get more protein-rich veg in your diet? Here are the 8 best muscle-building foods for vegans and vegetarians, as well as the 8 top protein powders. Oh, and check out how much protein you need after a workout.