n Editor for Men’s Health Netherlands gained 4kg of muscle after embarking on a 12-week vegan diet.

Mart de Jong followed a high-calorie plant-based diet and visited the gym five times a week – under the guidance of an award-winning bodybuilder.

The 28-year-old writer said he consumed ‘large’ portions of spaghetti at 11am in the morning to reach his caloric goals.

He said: “In hindsight, this sounds quite bizarre, but if you have a goal, you just do it and you go completely full. My goal? I wanted to discover how much muscle mass could be achieved in 12 weeks.”

Muscle mass

Fellow Men’s Health star Martyn de Jong also tried the 12-week bulk experiment but included animal products in his diet plan. Both participants consumed the same amount of calories and exercised the same.

However, Mart (vegan) gained 4kg in weight – all of which was muscle mass. Martyn gained 4.5kg – but only 3.7kg was muscle.

Martyn (meat-based diet) also said he ‘paid for’ his muscle gain with his happiness and health – and that his blood sugar levels were ‘terrible’ during the experiment.

The vegan diet plan came out triumphant when it came to gaining muscle

Meat vs Vegan Diets

Last year, a pair of identical twins also trialed vegan and meat-based diets to test the results.

Ross and Hugo Turner – aka ‘the adventure guinea pigs’ – compared the diets over 12 weeks between January and March. They ate a very similar number of calories and both did five or six sessions of endurance training each week.

Throughout the experiment, researchers from King’s College monitored the twins, tracking metrics like muscle mass and weight, as well as cholesterol.

According to Men’s Health, following the experiment, Ross’ cholesterol stayed the same at 6.5 (which he described as ‘quite high’) and Hugo’s (who followed a vegan diet) went down to 4.9. When it comes to body composition, Hugo lost 1kg of fat and gained 1.2kg of muscle mass, while Ross gained 2.8kg of fat and 4kg of muscle mass