|VEGANISM: How Lewis Hamilton’s vegan diet could affect his pursuit of a fifth Formula One title
Lewis Hamilton announced his intention to go vegan in September, which has raised questions on how this could affect his career and health, as many athletes are now opting to go vegan. David Rogerson, a sports nutritionist at Sheffield Hallam University, says it is difficult to predict how Hamilton will fare on a vegan diet, his comments have been mentioned in Yahoo News, Daily Mail, Belfast Telegraph, Evening Express, Press and Journal , Irish News, Independent Ireland and Evening Telegraph.
Citing an increased awareness of his carbon footprint among his reasons, Lewis Hamilton announced his intentions to go vegan in September – and now he’s Formula One world champion, again.
Of course, the two are not necessarily related, but might veganism have a part to play in Hamilton’s future in the sport? And if so, what obstacles does the four-time world champion have to overcome?
What challenges will Hamilton face?
“There’s no real alternative to fish, and there’s no really good alternative way of getting omega 3 in your diet either,” he said. “You can get it from some plant food but it’s converted really badly in the body.”
He also said: “You need to make sure you’re getting plenty of high-fat foods in your diet, good fats, so avocados and oils as well. Otherwise you’re just existing on whole grains and vegetables which is not going to give you any calories.”
That said, Hobson was keen to point out that, with a Formula One team supporting Hamilton especially, it’s more than achievable to make the switch successfully.
“It’s about getting the balance right,” he said. “As long as you get the balance right, I think you can make it work for anything.”
What benefits might Hamilton experience?
“One of the things that probably is a benefit is that it’s much easier to keep your weight down if you’re following a plant-based diet,” he said.
“I’ve worked in Formula One and a lot of the drivers are really trying to minimise their weight so they’re faster in the car.
“You’re cutting out so many calories from your dairy, from your eggs, from your meat, although obviously it depends on how much you were eating before.”
F1 also demands intense concentration, but not everybody agrees whether or not Hamilton would see a change in that department.
“In terms of sports performance there may be improvements in cognitive function as a result of consuming more antioxidants from foods such as berries, and omega-3 from foods such as walnuts and chia seeds,” said Debbie Smith, a lecturer in applied sport and exercise nutrition at Leeds Beckett University.