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Athletes, drink your milk!

Updated on April 8, 2015

Why drink milk?

Milk is nearly a physical fitness superfood! Too many other "superfoods" get praise for their amazing, yet completely unproven 'magical powers'.

Milk contains the best quality protein that a human can ingest. Milk contains two distinct proteins- 20% of it's protein comes from whey, having a biological value of 104 (considered an impossible score). It is digested and assimilated more quickly than any other protein. This fact, and the fact that it has an impressive array of essential amino acids give it this score. The other 80% of the protein fraction comes from casein. There are several types of casein, but that's hardly important for this article. What is important, and I won't assume my entire audience knows this; these two proteins do contain all ten essential amino acids, making them 'complete proteins'. These are the amino acids that our body cannot synthesize. Proteins are important for far more than muscle! Proteins make up antibodies that we use to fight infection. The brain is mostly protein, and relies in part on glutamic acid as a cellular fuel. If you don't use your brain during your athletic endeavors, you're NOT an athlete.

Everyone knows that milk is a good source of calcium. How many know that our skeletal and heart muscles cannot contract without it? It's essential for blood vessel health, nerve function, as well as bone strength. To add to milk's bone strengthening repertoire there's vitamin D3. D3 is essential for bone growth.

What, you drink Gatorade? If you seek out sports drinks like Gatorade as a good source of electrolytes, you obviously don't know squat about your requirements. Gatorade contains about 1/100th of the potassium the average person needs to PREVENT deficiency. THAT'S what the US RDA is. It's merely a loose guideline for not becoming sick, not for optimal health. That said, milk has ten times the potassium as Gatorade, plus it has the calcium- another important electrolyte. Anotheer electrolyte that milk is loaded with is calcium. Yes, calcium is an electrolyte, and essential for skeletal muscle contraction.

For those of you about to boo milk for the cholesterol, again, open a book. Dietary cholesterol doesn't impact our serum cholesterol. Saturated fat is a much bigger culprit. High and low density lipoproteins (HDL and LDL cholesterol) are produced by our liver. Most of this production occurs when we sleep. Therefore, I advocate lowfat or nonfat milk. Some experts recommend whole milk, as the vitamin A and vitamin D are fat soluble nutrients. For 'post workout, I advocate nonfat milk, as fat slows the digestion of the protein fractions.

Where growth factors are concerned, supportive, yet not conclusive evidence suggests that consuming milk post exercise can illicit a favorable growth factor response. Growth factors like insulinlike growth factor (IGF-1) are actually responsible for muscle fiber maturation.

As this is enough information to support milk as a post exercise food, future capsules will go into more detail regarding specifics.


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    • joecseko profile image

      Joe Cseko jr 4 years ago from New York, USA, Earth

      I'm having one Hell of as time finding that article. Unfortunately, the searches keep coming back obscured. I'll have to think of where I got it, then come back and post it.

    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 5 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Do you have a link for that report joe- I've not heard that and know a lot of athletes who use fruit as part of their recovery strategies.

    • joecseko profile image

      Joe Cseko jr 5 years ago from New York, USA, Earth

      Good point...but I'm not certain about the fructose element. The only reason I say that is a study that I read from FSU regarding GH. They found (and I don't know how sound the methodology was) that fructose within two hours of exercise "decimated" the GH response. Again, I take that study with a grain of salt (or two).

    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 5 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Milk is awesome for recovery! Banana smoothies for me post training for carbs a d protein