The Gladiator Diet How Vegetarian Athletes Stack Up


“The Gladiator Diet –
How Vegetarian Athletes Stack Up” Recently, the remains of
dozens of Roman gladiators were discovered in a mass grave. The clue to their identities
were the rather distinct types of mortal injuries they found, like being speared in
the head with a trident. Using just their skeletons
they were able to reconstruct the death blows, show just
how buff they really were, and even try to reconstruct
their diet of barley and beans. You can look at carbon isotopes and
see what kinds of plants they ate; nitrogen isotopes reflect any
intake of animal protein. You can also look at the
Sulphur in their bones and the amount of strontium,
leading commentators to submit that the best athletes
in ancient Rome ate largely plant-based diets. Then there were the legionnaires,
the Roman army troopers, famed for their abilities, also
eating a similar kind of diet, suggesting “the best fighters
in the ancient world were essentially vegetarian.” So, if the so-called
perfect fighting machines, the great sports heroes of the day,
were eating mostly grains and beans, should that tell us anything
about sports nutrition and the preferred diets
of elite athletes? Well, most of the Greeks and
Romans were basically vegetarian, centering their diets around
grains, fruit, vegetables and beans, so maybe the gladiators’ diets
weren’t that remarkable. Plato, for example, pushed
plants, preferring plant foods for their health and efficiency. So yes, the Roman gladiators
were known as the ‘‘barley men,’’ but is that because barley
gives you strength and stamina, or was that just the basic food
that people ate at the time, not necessarily for performance,
but because it was just so cheap? Well, if you look at the modern
Spartans, the Tarahumara Indians, the ones that run races where
they kick a ball for oh, 75 miles just for the fun of it,
running all day, all night, and all day, maybe 150 miles
if they’re feeling in the mood. What do you get if you win? A special popularity with the ladies
(although how much of a reward that would actually prove to be
for a man who had been running for two days straight is questionable; though, maybe their endurance
extends to other dimensions). “Probably not since the
days of the ancient Spartans has a people achieved such a high
state of extreme physical conditioning.” And what did they eat? The same kind of 75 to
80 percent starch diet based on beans, corn, and squash. And, they had the cholesterol
levels to prove it, total cholesterol levels down at an
essentially heart attack proof 136. And it’s not just some
special genetics they have— you feed them enough egg yolks and
their cholesterol creeps right up. Modern day Olympian runners
eat the same stuff. What are they eating over there in Kenya? A 99 percent vegetarian diet centered
mostly around various starches. But as in all these cases, is
their remarkable physical prowess because of their diets, or
in spite of their diets? Or have nothing to do with their diets? You don’t know…until
you put it to the test. In spite of well-documented health
benefits of more plant-based diets, less is known regarding the effects
of these diets on athletic performance. So, they compared elite vegetarian
and omnivore endurance athletes for aerobic fitness and strength. So, comparing oxygen
utilization on the treadmill, and quad strength with leg extensions. And the vegetarians beat out
their omnivore counterparts for cardiorespiratory fitness,
but their strength didn’t differ. Suggesting, in the very least,
that vegetarian diets don’t compromise athletic performance. But this was a cross-sectional study. Maybe the veg athletes were just
fitter because they trained harder? Like in the National Runners’ Health Study looking at thousands of runners:
vegetarian runners were recorded running significantly
more on a weekly basis; so, maybe that explains
their superior fitness. Though, maybe their superior fitness
explains their greater distances. Other cross-sectional studies
have found no differences in physical fitness between
vegetarian and non-vegetarian athletes, or even worse performance, as in this
study of vegetarian athletes in India. Of course, there could be socioeconomic
or other confounding factors. That’s why we need interventional
studies to put different diets to the test and then compare
physical performance, which we’ll explore next.

100 thoughts on “The Gladiator Diet How Vegetarian Athletes Stack Up

  1. Well.. I think mcdougall got it right from the beginning…
    Starch based diet for the win (build around the daily dozen for recent history cause of the nutrionnal deficneies our soil and produces have encountered)
    oh mcdougall you son of a gladiator !

  2. Look at the animal world
    Herbivores can run faster and longer then their carnivore hunters. Most of the carnivore hunters have to hunt in packs. In flat out runs the herbivores can out last the carnivores.

  3. Unfortunately for the animals enslaved and tortured by the meat and dairy industry:
    a) Way too many people have success living on keto.
    b) Not enough vegans care about their fitness and physique.

  4. lol i changed to ketogenic diet and i feel i can go longer on the treadmill and lift heavier. Not only I get leaner and burn more fat, my heart rate goes down drastically. Carbs just real bad for the body, at least for me.

  5. Tarahumara Indians only live to the mid 40s in Adulthood whereas the average Swiss, French, or Spanish live well into their 80s. Today about as long as Japanese people. The diet may help them run at great distances but it doesn’t say much for life expectancy. But obviously life expectancy is dependent on other things than diet. But most people focus on one aspect of good health.

  6. How about specifically strength athletes? This is mostly focused on endurance which is very different physiologically…

  7. Why don't studies use the leg press over leg extension for measures of strength? Both take little technique but one might yield more reliable data than the other.

  8. Eating grass is a cleansing diet, perfect for stupidly overweight people. No longer than 4 weeks on it, then go back to meat.

  9. Doctor, I thought you might like this, conforming what you e been saying for years. although I’m not sure the authors conclusion is correct… https://futurism.com/the-things-we-know-about-nutrition-are-wrong-thanks-to-faulty-studies/

  10. I'm glad that you call your channel 'NutritonFacts' rather than 'historical facts'. You show a letter to an editor as evidence about 'the preferred diet of elite athletes' in the ancient world. In all likelihood, it seems that very few gladiators were volunteers and that most of them were slaves or condemned criminals. The fact that they were fed 'barley and beans' is more likely a reflection of the low regard with which they were held by their captors than a preferred diet. The barley and beans were perfect for short-term energy and muscle growth, even if bad for their long-term health. As the death of these poor souls was a source of entertainment to Roman audiences, I suspect that the people feeding them were more interested in performance than longevity.

  11. What was the diet of the ruling parties? I bet they ate meats. The best and most abundant density protein is in meats, proportionally. Processed foods are the trouble today.

  12. I vaguely recall something about adipose tissue being helpful in a sword fight, as it made the body more resilient to cuts or something. In any case, the typical body shape aimed by a gladiator was not like a modern bodybuilder IIRC. A gladiator had to be big, muscular I guess, but also quite fat.

    Edit. Found some discussion on stack exchange : https://history.stackexchange.com/questions/16627/do-real-roman-and-greek-warriors-have-big-muscles-and-six-pack-abs-like-in-the-m

  13. Why do I care what ancient Roman gladiators ate? When you compare brain size, body size, dental health, and bone density of any human to that of pre-agricultural hunter gatherers, you see the later is way more robust; and they ate a predominantly meat-based diet.

  14. Dont forget gladiators were all criminals. They were fed a poor diet of grains and beans because why waste meat on criminals fighting to the death?

  15. what I lack understanding is why veganism works for some and keto/carnivore works for others? I mean biologically. Why tons of vegans over 4, 8, 10 years who've done it the right way, right amount of calories, even switched to vegan keto and other vegan variations flopped? And why some carnivorous or normal western dieters could maintain being vegan for so many years and still feel great throughout it unlike the other who seem to degenerate after some years doing everything right? I'm not trying to turn heads, I actually want to understand. Watching a recent video of WIL (what I've learned ) doing a interview on a respectable Doc who follows a carnivorous diet handed with intermittent fasting, an interesting question and answer was brought up. "Have you done a DNA test to see if this approach was good for you?" _not exact words. Which he answered yeah, including my wife did the same but had Equatorial traits therefore she didn't get along just eating the meat, she needed some veggies… something similar to this, you can check it out. Now this is interesting because it might explain why certain diets work for some and not others. Is it genetic? Does our particular ancestry make a difference in what we eat? Could our DNA be answer to why fiber is great for some and terrible to others? Now someone help me out here, share the gold info please :3

  16. These are lies! People eat with people have. Barley is definitely a superfood. Especially if it's pearled barley like they used to make it back then. You know without the husks you call fiber. Animal meat was also a large part of their diet don't get it twisted this is cherry picking at its finest. What's interesting to me is that blood cholesterol serum level is not the same as cardiac disease. They are two different things where one can complicate the other and yet one prevents the other.

  17. CHALLENGE FOR YOU!
    Name me 5, just 5 vegan athletes of the highest level in combat sports. You can't because they don't exist.
    I don't give a shit about the diets of people that don't exist anymore.

  18. Gladiators were fattened on purpose
    https://www.google.fi/amp/s/www.atlasobscura.com/articles/what-did-gladiators-eat.amp

    Roman soldiers used a lot of meat.

    "Meat provided the soldier with protein and iron. Each Roman soldier received a daily ration of approximately 1 lb. of meat, typically bacon. The soldier would supplement this ration with pork, beef, veal, venison and mutton. The meat was often either boiled or roasted — two cooking methods that are recognized today as healthy alternatives to frying."

    https://www.livestrong.com/article/319101-roman-soldier-diet/

  19. Lies and misinformation, typical thing from Dr. Greger. Although he is not saying certain things directly, he is obviously leading people to a certain conlusion… which is the same thing as lying.

    There was no animal agriculture back then, limited possibilities for food storage, also time (how fast food spoils) and mobility (troops) were important. For anyone who has a properly working brain (vegans excluded) it is obvious that it was harder and even unnecessary to feed soldiers animal products on regular basis. Cheap food, easy and long term storage, food that can be easily moved… all that things mattered back then. And there were limits when it comes to food availabity back then. So some dietery choices were there out of neccesity and limited resources.

    Comparing vegan/vegetarian athletes against non vegan/non vegetarian is pointless. Healthy user bias. Non vegan/non vegetarian athletes might be simply eating more crappy foods, processed foods, more sugar, drink more, smoke more etc. There are also few other important things that may affect the results.

  20. Cherry-picking research to suit your agenda. “Best Athletes”
    One question, Is Michael Phelps a vegan or plant-based athlete?

  21. Sorry, hopefully this will work. https://youtu.be/12I8GzS28h4
    Also, it was in the Book of Daniel in the Bible, who tested in 10 days for appearances and ability.

  22. Long distance runners are not modern gladiators – if they can be called athletes at all. Look at CrossFitters e. g. and you might find better examples: muscular, versatile, agile, tough – and omnivores for the most part.

  23. I need to start sorting comments by new on all these vegan youtuber vids. Not only to find the real people dumping on all of their claims, but also to avoid the sight of HH's roid tits.

  24. Alot of weight lifters bulk with high carb because of the boost in energy and help with recovery so it makes sense but you can't compare a difference between real gladiators and professional athletes nowadays. With the progress of nutrition and sports science we can effectively base or training and nutrition on our SPECIFIC goals. A gladiator may have trained twice as hard as your modern lifter but he had everything to lose literally. So they were probably much more lean with endurance but there's no way they could achieve the muscle mass we can now and cut without losing muscle without enough protein and goal orientated macros. Plus with our knowledge we have present we know more of how to stimulate the muscles and how to execute different movements with proper form. I just think unless you have a real legitimate modern day warrior that trains to fight to the death and eats let's say a high protein diet and another that is on a vegetarian diet, or just a high carb diet then we really can't be 💯% sure. Interesting view though.

  25. Plant foods = Outstanding for cardio health, kinda mediocre for strength training. Animal foods = Not so great for cardio health, good for strength training.

    …Maybe cardio and plant foods should be the majority of what we eat/do with fitness…

  26. Sorry but but the articles shown are not accurate.first Gladiators were slaves and not athletes they ate Barley and beans because they were forced by their circumstances.never the less they didn’t live very long so it’s difficult to assess the benefits of such regime
    Roman soldiers ate salted fish and meat barley and bread .The Spartan soldiers ate a staple food called Black soup which was made with pigs blood and pigs fat along with some vegetables.so no they weren’t vegans or vegetarians.

  27. hi, can you do a video on gastroporesis caused by a viral or bacterial infection? I had an infection over the summer and I have been consuming a whole foods plant based diet for years now, and still do. I know the gut may take time to heal but any more info on this would be so helpful. I'm seeing a gastroenterologist but more info would be great! im doing my own research but it's hard to know what is and isn't valid

  28. What you should mention is that the average life expectancy of the Tarahumara Indians is only 45 years and Roman gladiators were there for entertainment. A lot of them slaves. Regardless of whatever diet they held, their purpose was to fight in death matches. So to die for entertainment. And maybe the mass graves of the vegetarian equivalents that ate barley and beans, which could only lead to deficiencies, should say a lot more than the fact that they were men who died prematurely in violent deaths.

  29. They were analyzing the bones of the gladiators that died, showing they were "essentially vegetarians", the gladiators that killed them ate meat. 😉

  30. you're in a BIG bubble…
    You're all soon to be featured in a " Ex-vegan turned Carnivore…Veganism destroyed my health" vid of yourselves

  31. I tried the vegan diet for 3 months and started feeling weak towards the end. I do weight lifting, basketball, boxing, running so all kinds of different training and for me personally a balanced diet with animal protein and fats works best for me. I'm in the best shape of my life both mentally and physically and I eat animal products at least 3 times a day. I recommend you to stop listening to these yt videos and "science based" studies. Studies are very easy to manipulate and so are humans, think for yourself!

  32. You mean slaves have always been fed grains? I bet it was easy to get men to fight to their death just for a chance to eat some meat and get some nutrients for once

  33. And the Mongols, who subsisted primarily on animal products( even drinking their horses blood) stomped all over their grain fed enemies…next

  34. If a plant only based diet or veganism is so healthy then why did this baby DIE from the diet?
    https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/baby-dies-diet-parents-convicted-lucas-dendermonde-belgium-malnutrition-dehydration-a7790916.html%3famp

  35. Another article
    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/vegan-child-removed-parents-custody-milan-italy-after-found-malnourished-a7130571.html

  36. I dont believe any of this bullshit anymore. I eat what i feel like when i want. If i die tomorrow, at least my stomach will go out with a smile. I dont care anymore. I just want to enjoy myself. Whats the point of eating sand if you feel like killing yourself?

  37. retarded, they ate barley to basically get obese so they have would have thick extra layers of adipose fat to reduce the chance of fatal slashes and stabs
    these guys would gladly have eaten meat whenever it was available to them like every other healthy human with intact self-preservation instincts
    a lot fighters were indentured or slaves and probably didn't have access to a lot of it

    so yes it makes sense these guys were on a slave diet lol

  38. We for shure eat waaaay to mutch red meat. Some is good but it is prob one of the main cause for heart problems. Red meat for me also works best in moderation a stake once a week but thats it. Rest of the time egs and a bit fish maybe some chicken. But hell ye vegan diet must be nr for heart health.

  39. Well..this is very angled as usual! MOST gladiators ate a high animal protein diet. Just look it up. They have done similar studies on lots of other gladiator groups and they absolutely weren't vegetarian. Even THESE guys weren't vegetarians! They ate a predominantly vegetarian diet, but that's not equal to a vegetarian diet! And…regarding the other studies; they compared vegetarians to "flesh eaters". Remember that vegetarians are not vegans. Vegetarians eat eggs and dairy for the most part. Many "vegetarians" eat fish too and still call themselves vegetarians. It's unclear what kind of vegetarians there were in these studies. So they probably ate eggs and dairy and perhaps seafood too. And so to those long distance runners that you call vegetarian. They weren't vegetarian! They ate predominantly a vegetarian diet. Again; that's not A vegetarian diet! That's a PREDOMINANTLY vegetarian diet. Still not vegetarian. And the Roman diet wasn't even predominantly vegetarian. They ate TONS of seafood. This is very well recorded by archeologists. My gosh….get your nutrition "facts" straight atleast…😉

  40. Interesting. The vikings were "barley men" too. Their diet was very smart.KALE, barley (in the form of porridge usually), smoked or dried fish (omega 3 galore), berries (blueberries, lingonberries) and rosehips (packed with power). And, of course – apples. (ACV!!)So if you want to invade England or something – this is what you should eat.

  41. Conflicted on this. I spent a year cleaning out my diet sodas to candy etc. I drink goat, cow milk water and coffee only through out the week. I eat eggs, chicken breasts, 1 red lean meat and 1 salmon/perch dinner (baked) a week. Also a medley of vegs ranging from broccoli to Brussels sprouts etc. I eat white, brown and quinoa weekly also. I never felt better, I also eat whole oats. I do not eat swine, hamburger I haven't ate processed foods in over a year.

  42. Buff guys vegan?

    Buff, alright I’m not sure what a tricep dip or a lay pull down was back then ,but ok.

  43. I’d like to know how they were eating potatoes over one and a half thousand years before the discovery of the Americas. Complete bs.

  44. I feel so bad for my friends who fail to comprehend how bad their diets are and how negatively they're being affected by them…

  45. Complete lies. Slaves don't get to choose their food. Gladiators consumed the diet they ate because they had no choice. Totally stupid. Also, everyone in the ancient Roman world including slaves ate garum. High in calcium, protein and omega3 fatty acids. Please learn some history before posting these things.

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