Sportress of Blogitude

Is Cam Newton’s vegan diet to blame for injuries, struggles?

Cam Newton’s season could not have gotten off to a worse or more inauspicious start. Currently sidelined with a foot issue that is believed to be a Lisfranc injury, the Carolina Panthers quarterback is expected to be out for awhile.

Making matters worse, Newton has not resembled in any way the quarterback that won MVP honors in 2015. In fact, he has looked like a shell of himself on the field, although it merits noting that Newton dealt with an injured shoulder that short-circuited his 2018 season — and required offseason surgery — and now the foot issue originally suffered during the preseason.

All that said, the search for answers to explain Newton’s precipitous decline in play is ongoing, and one unconventional theory centers around the belief that the vegan diet he adopted in February could be to blame.

Brendan Marks of The Charlotte Observer explored the notion that switching to a vegan diet after maintaining a pescatarian diet since 2015 could be having an adverse impact on Newton’s play and his ability to recover from injury.

Relying on the input of nutritionists, dietitians and trainers, the case is laid out in the article that while elite athletes can excel on a vegan diet, it can be difficult.

“Go back to 2015 Cam, badass Cam. He was a pescatarian,” said Chris Howard, a certified nutritionist and strength and conditioning coach from Waxhaw. “Salmon, shrimp, you get a lot of good fats and complete proteins. In fact, (fish) is one of the best protein sources there is.

“Now you take away the most valuable part of that (diet), and … there’s just no way around it: He can’t recover as well with less nutrients, with less calories and with less muscle mass. It’s just not going to happen.”

There certainly is no quantitative way to conclusively determine that Newton’s vegan diet is hampering his play and/or his health. That said, there is no doubt both Newton and the Panthers would like to get to the bottom of why he’s struggling, regardless of the reasons behind it.