There are a lot of stigmas out there in the fitness world surrounding the muscle maintaining and building ability of a plant-based diet. While yes, it’s true that animal proteins deliver all of the essential amino acids in appropriate proportions that the human body can utilize, this doesn’t mean that a plant-based diet cannot provide close to the same benefits.
Can I Have a Plant-Based Diet and Still Gain Muscle?
Yes, you can still maintain and build mucel mass on a plant-based diet. Increasing calcium-rich foods (that aren’t dairy of course) while implementing adequate protein throughout the day will set you on the right track. One of the biggest challenges you may face with increasing protein on a plant-based diet is that you’re going to have to eat a bit more than you will with an animal-based diet. Comparatively speaking, animal protein sources deliver more essential amino acids per serving and per calorie than plant-based sources.
The essential amino-acid density of plant-based protein sources is a bit lower than animal protein sources. Per calorie, animal sources provide more satiety per calorie which curb appetite, cravings, and leave a fuller feel. On the other hand, as long as you get more than 10% of your calories from protein, maintain a healthy/active lifestyle and eat a wide variety of foods rich in both macro and micronutrients, you should be able to achieve an appropriate amount of protein and branch chain amino acids to support muscular maintenance and development.
The Best Plant-Based Protein Sources
Supplements for a Plant-Based Diet
It's critical to get the nutrients you need by improving your diet with wholesome, organic food sources. But it's also very important to use a variety of supplement on the not so perfect days, such as Vitamin D, Coq10, and a Multivitamin. In no way should vitamins be viewed as a way to replace a healthful diet. But supplementing when on a plant-based diet can help bridge the gaps in the micronutrient deficiencies that we all have.
Even if you have an amazing diet, there are going to be days that you don't get the nutrients you need. We all have micronutrient deficiencies, and one of the only ways that you can ensure you receive the micronutrient profile your body needs to function properly is through supplementing the essential vitamins and nutrients you need.