- Crystal Cox/Business Insider
- Bodybuilders and recreational athletes have been trying a vegan diet after the Netflix documentary “The Game Changers” lauded the virtues of plant-based eating for athletes.
- In a video review, two first-time vegans and YouTube sensations known as the “Buff Dudes” found that a month of eating plant-based left them feeling full, with plenty of strength and energy at the gym.
- However, bulking up on broccoli, beans, and other produce left them noticeably more gassy, a common but manageable problem with transitioning to a plant-based diet.
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Following the debut of the documentary “The Game Changers” on Netflix, which aims to debunk the myth that vegan athletes struggle to get enough fuel and protein, athletes and recreational exercisers have contemplated trying out a plant-based diet.
Fitness influencer brothers Hudson and Brandon White, known for their YouTube Channel “Buff Dudes”with over 2 million subscribers, tried the vegan diet for 30 days and recounted their experience in a video watched more than 600,000 times.
The pair has tried other month-long challenges like keto and intermittent fasting. As first-time vegans, they take viewers step-by-step through their journey into plant-based eating, including shopping for veggies, meal prepping, and hitting the gym.
The Buff Dudes focus on incorporating simple, whole-food options like broccoli, spinach, and asparagus, as well as complex carbs like sweet potatoes and oatmeal. They also eat plenty of healthy plant-based fats like nuts and seeds, along with protein sources like quinoa and beans.
Although the brothers find it surprisingly easy to stick to a vegan diet, especially with the help of meal prepping, they find it has a unfortunate downside – gastrointestinal distress.
Switching to a plant-based diet can cause more flatulence a
It’s true that going vegan might lead to an initial gassy phase. That’s because plant-based foods are high in fiber, a type of carbohydrate that the body can’t digest, according to the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health.
While fiber is linked to health benefits like lower cancer risk, stable blood sugar, satiety, and weight loss, it can also make you gassy because bacteria in your gut produce gas as a byproduct of processing fiber.
Certain types of veggies and grains can exacerbate the situation. Broccoli, for instance, is high in complex sugars, which take longer to break down in the digestive tract and produce more gas along the way.
However, research suggests that a plant-based diet can actual change the gut microbiome, promoting the growth of different beneficial bacteria that thrive on a high-fiber, plant-rich diet. This means that the body can adapt over time, eventually helping you get past the gassy phase.
Meantime, drinking plenty of water, especially with meals, can help ease symptoms, according to the T. Colin Campbell School of Nutrition Studies. Eating more slowly can also help. And, particularly for people transitioning from a diet high in processed foods, taking probiotics can also speed the growth of a healthy microbiome for better digestive health.
Finally, transitioning to a plant-based plan, rather than making an abrupt change, can be gentler on your digestive tract. “It’s really important to pay attention to your body, what it needs, and how you’re feeling” when making any major diet change, Robin Foroutan, a registered dietitian nutritionist and representative for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, previously told Insider.
Plant-based meals can keep you full and energized
The upside of all that fiber, and all those complex carbohydrates, is that they can help keep you feeling full and energized while eating meat-free meals.
“I’m pretty happy so far,” Hudson said on the video. “I think having a little bit of additional carbs has really helped me. I feel fuller, very pumped … I feel bigger after every workout, and my strength levels really haven’t decreased, which is great.”
Both the Buff Dudes found a vegan diet helped them felt good, including during their workouts, and was able to meet their nutritional needs, especially with a little bit of planning. Although neither of them decided to stick to the diet, opting to add in eggs, yogurt, and other animal products back in, they recommend giving it a try.
“No matter what kind of lifestyle you choose, you’re going to have something available to you to make sure you’re happy, content, satiated and buff,” Brandon said.