Cam Newton has had a fantastic career with the Carolina Panthers. He’s been responsible for 240 touchdowns, won an NFL MVP award, and he’s remained the Panthers’ most well-known player for nearly a decade. But all that success could be coming to an end.
What’s to blame? According to the Charlotte Observer, some nutritionists are saying Newton’s switch to veganism has ruined his health.
In recent years, Newton was a pescatarian, that is, a person who eats mostly plant foods but includes a lot of fish and seafood to get needed protein and nutrients. Earlier this year, however, Newton went full vegan.
Since then, he’s played terribly, and now he’s injured and sitting on the sidelines. Meanwhile, his backup, Kyle Allen, delivered a stellar performance last week in Newton’s absence, creating an unexpected quarterback controversy in Charlotte.
If the Panthers cut ties with Newton, it could cost Cam Newton a fortune. That’s because the Panthers are set to pay him $21 million next year, but the team will only incur a $2 million cap hit if they cut him.
Thus, if Kyle Allen continues to play well while Newton is injured, that could be the end of Cam’s days in Carolina. And that would make Newton’s decision to pursue a vegan diet a rather costly choice.
Nutritionists cited in the Observer report suggest that vegan athletes often end up losing weight, much of which is muscle mass. In addition, poorly constructed vegan diets can lead to deficiencies in vitamins such as B6 and B12, deficiencies which cause weakness and fatigue.
A big-name documentary set to release shortly, The Game Changers, features executive producers James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jackie Chan. It purports to show how athletes are improving their performance by going vegan:
However, the movie has received some backlash due to the rash of high-profile vegan athletes facing catastrophe this year.
Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck went vegan and then suddenly retired after numerous injuries at just 30 years old.
The Boston Celtics had a miserable playoff run last year as oft-injured vegan star Kyrie Irving played terribly.
The “Vegan Prince” Tim Shieff gave up veganism and said that it made him sick:
And the list goes on. Demarcus Cousins went vegan, lost a ton of weight, and is now out indefinitely due to injury. Superstar swimmer Adam Peaty gave up vegetarianism saying that he lost too much muscle and that his testosterone levels collapsed without meat.
And apparently, dancing may be a perilous activity for vegans – it’s easy to come up short on calcium if you stop eating dairy:
It’s been popular to follow Tom Brady’s dietary example. The Patriots legend maintains a strict culinary regimen. Many folks have played up the plant-based element of Brady’s approach, while ignoring that 20% of his food consumption is lean meats and fish.
Can athletes still flourish after going vegan? Nutritionists say yes but qualify that it takes “extensive overcompensating.”
“The last thing I want to do is knock a vegan diet because I think most people could really benefit from that, but someone who has the amount of abuse of their body that he does, that’s just not a normal occupation,” certified nutritionist Chris Howard told the Observer.
Consequently, health-conscious athletes like Cam Newton may want to explore following Brady’s more moderate approach before their careers are further derailed.