Secondary Logo

Journal Logo

Does Exclusive Consumption of Plant-based Dietary Protein Impair Resistance Training-induced Muscle Adaptations?

2873 Board #3 May 31 3:15 PM - 5:15 PM

Hevia-Larraín, Victoria1; Longobardi, Igor1; Lins, Alan F.1; Pereira, Rosa M.1; Artioli, Guilherme1; Phillips, Stuart M. FACSM2; Gualano, Bruno1; Roschel, Hamilton1

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: June 2019 - Volume 51 - Issue 6 - p 790
doi: 10.1249/
F-34 Thematic Poster - Protein Metabolism Friday, May 31, 2019, 3: 15 PM - 5: 15 PM Room: CC-102A

1University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.

2McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada.


(No relationships reported)

Dietary protein consumption maximizes the anabolic response during resistance training (RT) by triggering muscle protein synthesis and providing the indispensable amino acids for a net positive protein balance. Leucine is considered the key amino acid in this process, suggesting that differences in protein quality may influence RT-induced gains in muscle mass and strength. In this respect, despite acute evidence on lower anabolic properties of plant- vs. animal-based protein, the effects of an exclusive plant-based dietary protein diet on RT-induced adaptations are currently unknown.

PURPOSE: To investigate the impact of dietary protein source (plant- vs. mixed diet-based protein) on RT-induced changes in muscle mass and strength in total protein-matched young healthy men.

METHODS: Nineteen vegan (VEG 26±5 y; 72.7±7.1 kg, 1.78±0.05 m) and nineteen omnivorous (OMN 26±4 y; 73.3±7.8 kg, 1.76±0.06 m) physically active young men were enrolled in a 12-week, twice weekly, lower-limb RT program. Daily protein intake was adjusted to 1.6g/kg/day in both groups via supplementing either soy (VEG) or whey (OMN) protein. Leg lean mass (LLM, by DXA) and lower-limb maximal strength (leg-press one-repetition-maximum, 1-RM) were determined PRE and POST intervention. Six 24-hour dietary recalls were performed at baseline (for habitual protein intake determination) and three during the intervention, for monitoring purposes.

RESULTS: Significant increases in LLM were observed in both VEG (PRE=18.9±2.2 kg and POST=20.1±2.2 kg, Δ%=6.4±5.8 %, p<0.0001) and OMN (PRE=19.1±2.4 kg and POST=20.3±2.7 kg, Δ%=6.1±3.9 %, p<0.0001). Similarly, 1-RM was significantly increased in both VEG (PRE=258±59 kg and POST=354±81 kg, Δ%=38.1±15.9 %, p<0.0001) and OMN (PRE=261±63 kg and POST=381±73 kg, Δ%=49.0±21.6 %, p<0.0001). No group by time interactions were found. Finally, total protein intake was similar between groups (VEG=1.68±0.14g/kg/d and OMN=1.72±0.10g/kg/d, p=0.30).

CONCLUSION: A higher protein-content (˜1.6g/kg/day) exclusive plant-based (including soy) protein diet is similarly effective as a mixed-diet in supporting RT-induced muscle adaptations, suggesting that total protein, rather than protein quality, may be more important for muscle adaptation in young individuals.

Supported by FAPESP grant 2016/22083-3.

© 2019 American College of Sports Medicine