Another chapter of the epic saga that is the battle between pro- and anti-vegan bodybuilding opinions is unfolding on David Laid’s Instagram page.
This week, bodybuilder and fitness influencer David Laid became one of many bodybuilders in the modern era to endorse a fully plant-based diet. This is obviously a contentious issue for some, since many bodybuilders swear by veganism, while still more swear absolutely against it. It definitely flies in the face of a lot of conventional wisdom about bodybuilding — that you need a ton of protein which can only be gotten through a meat-rich diet. Check out some shots of David Laid’s physique below and judge for yourself.
Clearly the man is ripped beyond belief, but at what cost? As he explains in the post, after about a month of a purely vegan diet, Laid said he had “definitely lost some weight” but that he had plans to continue because he “feels much better and [has] way more energy.”
One of the heaviest criticisms leveled against vegans who say this is that their fatigue may not come from eating meat at all. The food industry in the US is barely regulated and many meats sold at supermarkets these days are loaded with additives and preservatives that will make any athlete sluggish. So, many vegans who say they have more energy on a plant-based diet may not have been eating as well as they thought they were back when they were eating meat.
Proponents of a plant-based diet argue that it’s cleaner and actually healthier for the body. Many of the longest living people in the world do not eat meat and there is a lot of evidence linking excessive red meat consumption to serious diseases like high blood pressure and other cardiac problems. Many bodybuilders rely on fish as a source of protein, but even then, a significantly higher amount of fish has to be eaten in order to get the same amount of protein out of it as you would with red meat.
For a bodybuilder to make veganism work, they have to consume a truly senseless amount of fruits and vegetables. Many people feel that such a restrictive diet doesn’t work for them simply because the lure of junk food proves too great. If you’re eating lettuce and nuts all day long, salty snacks like potato chips and pretzels become irresistible at the end of the day. If you eat meat, and get a little bit more enjoyment out of your life, you’re less likely to succumb to those cheat foods. However, a pro-veganism argument against this is that as a non-meat eater, you don’t even have access to some of the worst offenders in the greasy foods category: cheeseburgers, pepperoni pizza, and the like.
Clearly it works for some people and doesn’t work for others. It’s interesting to see where this new trend in the bodybuilding industry will take us, since it was relatively uncommon in eras before now for bodybuilders to be on plant-based diets. Many people are able to have successful careers as bodybuilders on a vegan diet, but only time will tell if they can make it last.
*All images and media courtesy of Instagram.