Vegan protein can support muscle growth effectively

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In a landmark study published in the Journal of Nutrition by the University of Exeter, fungi-derived mycoprotein has been showcased as equally proficient in aiding muscle building during resistance training as animal proteins.

This pioneering study is the first of its kind, exploring the efficacy of a vegan diet rich in mycoprotein in supporting muscle growth, a timely revelation as the trend towards meat-free diets continues to ascend, with around 7.2 million adults opting for meat-free diets.

The study, comprising two distinct phases, included healthy young adults participating in a randomized trial.

The initial phase had participants adhere to a three-day diet, obtaining protein from either omnivorous or exclusively vegan sources, predominantly Quorn’s mycoprotein.

The subsequent phase engaged participants in a 10-week intensive resistance training program while maintaining the assigned diets. Across both phases, meticulous metabolic measurements were conducted to assess the outcomes.

The comprehensive study revealed no substantial difference in muscle mass and strength increase between the omnivorous and vegan diet, indicating the latter’s potential as a viable alternative for muscle building.

Participants from both dietary groups experienced comparable gains in lean mass and thigh muscle size over the trial period, reinforcing the potency of a mycoprotein-rich diet in muscle augmentation.

Previous Insights and New Revelations:

Previous studies by the University of Exeter have shed light on the potential of mycoprotein in muscle building, comparing favorably to milk protein and aiding in muscle tissue maintenance in older adults.

However, the present study stands out by directly juxtaposing mycoprotein with an omnivorous diet over an extended ‘free living’ period, providing a detailed insight into its capabilities in real-life scenarios.

Expert Commentary

Dr. Alistair Monteyne, leading the research at the University of Exeter, highlighted the long-established association between high protein intake and enhanced muscle building.

However, the parity between non-animal derived protein sources like Quorn’s mycoprotein and animal-derived proteins in supporting muscle building during resistance training was previously ambiguous.

The study conclusively demonstrates the competence of mycoprotein in facilitating muscle mass and strength increases, contributing to the extensive body of evidence supporting mycoprotein as an effective alternative protein source.

Broader Implications and Environmental Impact

Tim Finnigan, a scientific advisor for Quorn Foods, emphasized the relevance and timing of the study in the contemporary shift towards less meat consumption for health and environmental reasons.

The study is pivotal in presenting a scientifically endorsed, high-quality meat-free protein, mycoprotein, comparable to animal-derived proteins in building muscle mass.

The widespread adoption of plant-based proteins like mycoprotein can significantly alleviate environmental concerns, reducing emissions from livestock farming, and potentially offering breakthrough solutions in climate change mitigation.


This study illuminates the nutritional excellence and potential of fungi-derived mycoprotein in muscle building, standing toe-to-toe with animal proteins.

The findings are instrumental for individuals inclined towards meat-free diets, offering a scientifically validated, sustainable alternative without compromising on muscle growth.

Beyond individual health, the recognition and adoption of such plant-based proteins are paramount in addressing broader environmental challenges and advancing towards a sustainable, health-centric future.

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The research findings can be found in The Journal of Nutrition.

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