If you follow athletic news, you’ve surely heard the latest news about performance-enhancing doping. As we get closer to the Olympics, athletes are having to be extra cautious about the substances they put in their body as many are caught off guard by even a simple cough syrup’s ingredients. When the stakes are so high, Olympians do not want to run the risk of disqualification. However, what happens when the very food athletes need to perform may be the source of a banned substance?
China’s women’s volleyball team believes their performance is suffering due to their new diet. All Chinese athletes were warned to stay away from livestock meat because it may contain a lean-meat powder called clenbuterol, a banned substance by the International Olympic Committee. Not wanting to take any chances, the Chinese women have stuck to a strict vegetarian diet for the past three weeks.
While the women’s blood tests will come back positive, their coach says their performances have suffered and he’s noticed a measurable decline in their strength and fitness. Just this weekend the team lost four out of five matches at a world tournament. Coach Yu Juemin told CBS News that the players avoided all meat during the game period.
This problem may spread to all Chinese athletes leading up to the summer games. Many are eating chicken and fish and even supplementing with protein powder. Many athletes are still eating pork due to the kindness of a pig farmer who donated three tons of untainted pork to the Chinese athletes in training.
Coach Juemin did explain how his team will have access to untainted meat the weeks before the Olympics, hoping this makes a rapid improvement. They took home the bronze in 2008, and are used to being serious contenders.
Many vegetarians argue that they do not suffer as a result of their diet and many athletes are vegetarians. It’s arguable on either side. Even our mainland fitness guru Bob Harper gave up his vegan diet for animal protein recently. He explained how he needed more to fuel his body and get his performance in the gym back to a higher level.
Maybe it depends on the body, but clearly the Chinese women need their meat too. What a headache they have to contend with though. Another huge plea for food producers to leave our food alone and keep it clean.
image via Zimbio