Arian Foster’s vegan decision shouldn’t impact performance

Texans running back Arian Foster announced on Twitter last week that he was going vegan.

And while it may sound unusual (especially for a guy who lives and works in Texas), a sports nutritionist said it shouldn’t be a problem for him to maintain his strength.’s Paul Kuharsky talked to Jessica Bennett, a registered dietitian at Vanderbilt University’s nutrition clinic who works with the school’s athletes.

“The biggest challenge for them is if they get injured, getting the muscle strength back,” Bennett said. “It’s definitely possible to get enough protein, but you have to have the resources. He probably has the resources to do it properly.”

Without meat or dairy, Foster will have to fill up on beans, tofu and legumes for the 175 grams of protein he’ll need in a day. A three-ounce serving of meat has roughly 25 grams, while a half-cup of tofu has 19. A half-cup of black beans has seven grams.

Bennett said protein shakes will help, so long as Foster and the Texans are careful to use regulated supplements that don’t violate the league’s banned substances list.

Foster would be far from alone in the practice. Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez and Patriots running back Tony Fiammetta have also decided to forego eating animal products.

And as long as he has no qualms with carrying a leather football, he should be just fine.

(Photo credit: Full Custom Gospel BBQ)

29 responses to “Arian Foster’s vegan decision shouldn’t impact performance

  1. Personally I believe a plant based diet is the most healthy option. I am not against this vegan thing for most people, however for a professional athlete it can’t work. The amount of soy he will have to consume will drop his testosterone levels significantly, so how will he build mass?

  2. yes, the only good protein shakes are based on whey, which is a vegan no-no.

    The best solution is to have someone talk him out of veganism back down to vegetarianism.

  3. I’m too lazy and don’t care enough to look it up but I don’t think Tony Gonzalez is still vegan. I’m pretty sure he said it didn’t work well with his football life. Burgers for life bro.

  4. Three things:

    1) Who the hell is Darin Gantt?
    2) Are PFT guys required to have an extra letter in their last names?
    3) What is “especially for a guy who lives and works in Texas” supposed to mean?

  5. I’ve gone vegan before and am vegetarian now. There is no shortage of non animal protein sources. I’m in the best shape of my life, am much bigger and stronger than any of my meat eating friends, and I laugh at people who think eating animal flesh makes you manly and strong.

  6. Oh Great! Get him signed to a long term contract and he goes Vegan on us! He will never hold up to the grind and the pounding. Rescind his contract until he eats a Cheesburger! At least eat chicken and turkey Arian!

  7. I can almost absolutely guarantee you that it will. I have experimented with a little bit of that nonsense myself and I now adhere to the diet shown at the end of the brilliant documentary “Fat Head” which just so happens to destroy all vegan arguments. This man is a fool for doing this, and I am upset with him but glad to know this before fantasy football starts. he is moved down to 8 on my board and I wont take him. im now thinking of Ben Tate as a big time sleeper.

  8. I do agree though it can only be done with access to very high quality soy proteins, but I believe this to be against the human bodies natural mechanics which is why he is now an afterthought to me.

  9. Warhammer is absolutely correct. During my vegan phases I’ve noticed I’m typically getting more protein and higher quality protein than my fast food friends.
    The only problem I’ve ever had with a vegan diet is getting enough time to cook/prepare the food.

  10. Campbells beans before the goal line play.Hell, he’ll fly through the goal posts! Wheeee!

  11. As a vegetarian, I applaud him. Anyone who says that vegans can’t be pro athletes are uneducated about food. I’m in the best shape of my life without meat in my diet. Ive never met an educated vegan who was sickly.

  12. Being a Vegan athlete is not only old news but very doable and practical. It’s ignorant to think that things like adding mass are not possible. Every sport including the UFC has guys doing this successfully.

  13. I wasn’t born a vegan, and neither was anybody else.

    The only other “vegan” athlete I know is a cyclist, and he eats salmon.

  14. Have to combine protein sources to get a solid amino acid balance as many plant based proteins are incomplete/of low biological value on their own.

  15. 2 all the green people…u can not play at this level in the NFL and produce as he’s expected being a Vegan or Vegaterian. Big difference ina 9 to 5 office job as a “Vegan” and a pro athelete who has to break tackles 4 a living…

  16. Dude’s pining for a Volkswagen Golf commercial, where he’ll appear wearing sandals with socks while dumping his guitar in the back of the hatchback.

  17. A lot of top athletes are vegans. One of the greatest ultra marathon runners, Scott Jurek is vegan. And he’s won the western states 100 7 times on a vegan diet. So this tells me if someone can run 100 miles on an all plant based diet and win that many times. Arian won’t have any problem doing maintaining his strength and stamina throughout the upcoming season

  18. wow lame “leather football” backhand…. umm its really hard to be vegan id rather not eat another animal …. but im weak minded and most fake meat stuff tastes pretty terrible….. i appreciate the concept… but as far as the football comment.. umm bro… we all use terrible terrible products…. rare metals… iphones… most of our clothes….. all of the stuff is unavoidable…. lets be realistic…

  19. My nephew who is a highly successful personal trainer with his own gym who also provides people with tailored diets and who was a scholarship football player says that there is no way for a pro athlete to get enough of the right kind of protein to be at his or her best if they are vegetarian let alone vegan. He said there are necessary proteins one can get only from meat.

  20. Need proof that human beings SHOULD have a diet featuring BOTH plants and meat? Look no further than the human mouth. The teeth in the human mouth feature teeth for grinding plants AND tearing meat. Why oh why would our teeth be made to do both? Probably because we are meant to eat both.

    Soy is the ONLY complete non-animal based protein but too much soy has been proven to lower testosteron levels in men. Testosterone is required to maintain and build muscles, something a football player is in great need of, injured or not.

    Who came up with Foster’s protein goal per day as 175? For a an NFL RB that weighs 225-235 lbs, I can’t imagine a diet recommended by the team dietician having any less than 225 grams of protein.

    For anybody else defending veganism and sports that require muscle mass… do a Google search on vegan natural bodybuilders… not impressive is it? It’s extremely difficult to build or maintain any type of muscle mass as a vegan.

  21. It’s not true that soy is the only complete non-animal based protein. Pistachios, quinoa, and many other plant foods have a complete protein profile. It’s also easy to combine plant sources to get complete protein. You just need to get lysine-rich foods (like beans) within 24 hours of methionine-rich foods (like pasta)… Another great vegan athlete is Carl Lewis.

  22. And oh yeah. peoples bodies respond differently to things..I mean, Hershel Walker goes days without eating at times, skips on water and is probably one of the all time BEST athletes on the face of the planet. He doesn’t Power Clean, Deadlift, Bench, Squat, Pound meat, etc….to be his size and speed and he is still a monster at his age now!

    People have fasted as they played in playoffs and regular season games before in all sports…the will of someone whose is strong can triumph science any day…just as faith does.

  23. The people who can succed at veganism are those who do one of two things: either hire a personal chef or devote the time and effort to cook all their own food. It also requires you to meticously watch what you intake, so you don’t ingest animal products and are receiving proper nutrition.

    On that note, vegan arguements that we were designed to only eat plants is hilarious. You have incisors for a reason, and even your genetic forebarers ate meat.

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