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A vegan diet helps them win – but are sports stars committed to the cause?

Brian Oliver: ‘The UK’s football club Forest Green Rovers, who were founded in the 19th century by a man named Peach, and play in green, use their status to spread the message of veganism around the sporting world. “We’re having a big impact because we’re counterintuitive,” said Dale Vince, the multimillionaire who owns the club… “Spreading the vegan word through the world of football – what could be more counterintuitive than that?” Vince, who ensures that only plant-based food is available to players and spectators at the stadium in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire, is not alone… Some of the world’s leading footballers, including Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Manchester City’s Sergio Agüero, do not eat meat during the playing season, while England striker Jermaine Defoe has gone a big step further by taking up a vegan diet… While Vince and the Vegan Society welcome the new wave of plant-powered sports stars, others are less happy because many are giving up meat for personal performance benefits, not because they are in tune with the vegan lifestyle and compassion for animals…

But Dominika Piasecka, media officer for the Vegan Society, welcomed the sporting newcomers and predicted there would be more. The sports stars’ influence “has definitely helped to further the cause of veganism,” she said. “People really do take notice, especially if they’re a fan of the person.” The England-based Vegan Society, founded in 1944 when the movement began, is overseeing “the fastest-growing lifestyle movement of the 21st century”. Its researchers put the number of vegans in Britain at 542,000 – up 260% in 10 years – and estimate that about 1% of the population in Britain, Germany and the US is vegan. “It is very likely that we will see an increase in the number of vegan sportspeople because more of them are starting to realise the benefits of a vegan diet,” Piasecka said. SOURCE…

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