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Muscle Growth and Strength Development Following a 12-Week Resistance Training Program: a Comparison Between Consuming Soy and Whey Protein Supplements Matched for Leucine Content
Sustainability, as it relates to nutrition, affects all aspects of food from systems-level production to consumption. Viability of local food systems in the southwest of the United States has been largely understudied. In order to address this gap in the literature, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 farmers in Arizona and New Mexico to determine best practices, challenges and barriers to farming. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and coded for themes. Many trends were consistent with those reported elsewhere in the US, but the importance of water emerged, a unique need not explicitly noted in other regional studies.
Vegetarian diets are typically more sustainable than omnivorous ones due to using less environmental resources in the production of food. An important consideration with plant protein and vegetarian diets, however, is whether this would affect athletic performance. To examine this, 70 male and female endurance athletes were compared for maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 max), peak torque when doing leg extensions, and body composition. Vegetarians had higher VO2 max, but peak torque was not significantly different by diet. Omnivores had higher total body mass, lean body mass, and there was a trend for peak torque to be higher.
To investigate whether plant-protein can comparably support development of lean body mass and strength development in conjunction with strength training, 61 healthy young males and females began a 12-week training and protein supplementation study. While previous training studies have shown no differences for lean body mass or strength development when consuming either soy (plant) or whey (animal) protein supplements in very large amounts (>48 grams), when consuming around 15-20 grams, whey has contributed to greater lean body mass accrual, although strength increases remain similar. The present study matched supplements by leucine content instead of by total protein amount since leucine has been shown to be a key stimulator of muscle protein synthesis and is more concentrated in animal protein. There were no significant differences between the whey or soy group for lean body mass or strength development, as assessed using isokinetic dynamometry doing leg extensions and flexions.
Cardiorespiratory Fitness and Peak Torque Differences Between Vegetarian and Omnivore Endurance Athletes: A Cross-Sectional Study
In spite of well-documented health benefits of vegetarian diets, less is known regarding the effects of these diets on athletic performance. In this cross-sectional study, we compared elite vegetarian and omnivore adult endurance athletes for maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 max) and strength. Twenty-seven vegetarian (VEG) and 43 omnivore (OMN) athletes were evaluated using VO2 max testing on the treadmill, and strength assessment using a dynamometer to determine peak torque for leg extensions. Dietary data were assessed using detailed seven-day food logs. Although total protein intake was lower among vegetarians in comparison to omnivores, protein intake as a function of body mass did not differ by group (1.2 ± 0.3 and 1.4 ± 0.5 g/kg body mass for VEG and OMN respectively, p = 0.220). VO2 max differed for females by diet group (53.0 ± 6.9 and 47.1 ± 8.6 mL/kg/min for VEG and OMN respectively, p < 0.05) but not for males (62.6 ± 15.4 and 55.7 ± 8.4 mL/kg/min respectively). Peak torque did not differ significantly between diet groups. Results from this study indicate that vegetarian endurance athletes’ cardiorespiratory fitness was greater than that for their omnivorous counterparts, but that peak torque did not differ between diet groups. These data suggest that vegetarian diets do not compromise performance outcomes and may facilitate aerobic capacity in athletes.
Effects of Increased Water Intake on Uropathogenic Bacterial Activity of Underhydrated Menstruating Premenopausal Females
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) disrupt military women’s service obligations and health. Females are more susceptible to UTIs due to their unique anatomical features and hormone fluctuations affecting vaginal flora. During phase 1 of the menstrual cycle (onset of bleeding, menstrual cycle days 1-5), estrogen levels significantly decrease and inhibit the growth of lactobacilli, good bacteria that are essential in warding off harmful bacteria and infections, particularly pathogens of UTIs. To reduce UTI onset, it is recommended to frequently urinate with sufficient urine void volume to facilitate washing out harmful bacteria from the bladder and urethra. While menstruating, increased fluid consumption to support urination frequency and void volume may be critical, as the urethra and urinary tract are more predisposed to pathogenic bacteria found. Yet, there is a lack of research investigating the impact of hydration on urinary tract health during menstruation. The study sought to examine the effects of increased water fluid intake on the uropathogenic bacterial activity of underhydrated menstruating premenopausal females. Thirteen females underwent a 2x2 randomized crossover trial to evaluate the effectiveness of a) additional 1.89 L of water fluid intake and b) maintain habitual fluid intake on two subsequent phase 1 menses. At each phase 1 menses, fluid intake was gathered on days 2 and 5 to determine the fluid amount consumed. First-morning urinations on days 3 and 6 assessed urogenital bacterial activity. Combining data collection days 2 and 5 per intervention (INT) and control (CON), the mean±SD for total fluid intake was INT 2.99±1.05 and CON 1.85±0.89, resulting in a 62% increase, p< 0.001, η2= 0.459. For days 2 and 5, a 48% and 80% increase in total fluid in from CON to INT was found, ps< 0.01. However, only four cultures detected uropathogenic bacteria from four participants, with no patterns between conditions or days, making it difficult to determine the effectiveness of the intervention. Though the intervention results were undetermined, military women’s hydration, menstruation, and urinary tract health remain prominent health concerns. Efforts to assess their fluid consumption and urination behaviors during menstruation and UTI risks are warranted.