You don't need meat to build muscle, vegan protein is 'just as effective'

Meat eaters will shake their heads in disbelief, but a study has now found that vegan protein works just as well as animal protein when growing muscles.

Researchers at the University of Exeter identified that fungi-derived mycoprotein – better known as by the brand name Quorn – is on par with animal products in supporting muscle building during resistance training.

The study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, is the first to explore if a vegan diet rich in mycoprotein can support muscle growth to the same degree as an omnivorous diet.

It comes as a more adults are adopting vegan and flexitarian diets, with latest figures showing there are some 7.2million adults who now follow a meat-free diet.

Dr Alistair Monteyne, the researcher who conducted the trial, said: ‘We now have a strong body of evidence, perhaps more than is available for any other alternative protein source, to show that mycoprotein is an effective protein food to support muscle maintenance and growth.’

Two groups of adults were given high protein foods, one with animal products, the other with Quorn, and result showed ‘comparable increases in muscle mass and strength in response to both diets, with no significant differences between the two’.

The group on the omnivorous diet gained 2.6 kg of whole-body lean mass, while the vegan group gained 3.1 kg.

Both groups also increased the size of their thigh muscles by the same amount (8.3%) over the course of the trial.

Dr Alistair added: ‘It is well established that muscle building can be augmented by adhering to a high protein diet.

‘However, it was previously unclear as to whether non-animal derived diets and non-animal derived protein sources, such as Quorn’s mycoprotein, could support muscle building during resistance training to the same extent as omnivorous diets and animal-derived protein sources.’

Now we have the answer.

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