Liquid Muscle: The Last Word On Milk And Bodybuilding
In the ever-evolving physique and performance-nutrition landscape, concepts rise fast and disappear even faster. New fads come frequently but only a few last for a significant duration and reach the consensus of mainstream diet and nutrition.
You know the old players:
- The advantages of low-carbohydrate diets.
- The health benefits of omega-3 fish oil.
- Why everyone should eat vegetables and fruit daily.
Still undecided, it seems, is the issue of whether milk is muscle-building manna from heaven, as some claim, or a hindrance to physique and performance goals.
Beyond The Label
So what exactly is that white stuff forming moustaches on celebs? Primarily made up of the carbohydrate lactose, milk is a disaccharide consisting of the simple sugars glucose and galactose. Not surprisingly, physique-minded folks initially fell in love with milk because of the handsome protein and fat content.
A glass of milk contains all 8 of the essential amino acids needed for growth, recovery, and repair following an intense workout. There was even a recent uproar online after a study examined chocolate milk and found it to be more beneficial than protein powders post workout (1). We'll come back to that later, as it's far from the truth. But you can see why hard-training individuals have a crush on milk.
When you look at the fat content, you'll see that two thirds of the fat contained in milk is saturated, which has been linked to potentially beneficial increases in hormones (2,3). So we have a drink that is high protein and can help make me bigger and leaner. I'm sold!
Well, not so fast...
Your Body On Milk
When it comes to determining if milk should be included on a fat-loss diet, most coaches, trainers, or nutritionists will look at the macronutrient breakdown on the side of the carton. With the typical recommendation of skim milk, we find that an 8-ounce glass of milk contains no fat, 12 grams of carbs, and 8 grams of protein.
"As long as it fits into your daily macronutrient goals" is a frequently seen quote on the message boards, meaning the source doesn't matter. The popular theory is that you should just count your total amount of carbs for the day, and that no food source is off limits. In this case, you'd be advised to consume milk because it only contains 12 carb grams.
This is a perfect example of the analogy of not seeing the forest through the trees.
The major issue concerning dieters and milk consumption is lactose intolerance. The "I don't feel so good after I ate that" feeling. You're bloated, fatigued, and all of a sudden, you feel down right nasty.
We've already established that lactose is the major source of carbs in milk. All babies can digest it, but as we age, we can tend to lose the lactose enzyme that lines our intestine during our infancy. This process progresses as we age (4,5).
To see if you're affected, try this simple test on yourself:
- Drink a glass of milk and take notes on how you feel.
- A day later, have some cheese and yogurt and take notes on how you feel again.
Notice a difference? It's not a dairy issue, as some proclaim. Rather it's a fermentation issue. The fermentation process that occurs with yogurt and cheese breaks down the lactose but good luck finding fermented milk. Few drink it.
I don't want to get too in-depth with organic chemistry, but food laws dictate that all milk must be pasteurized to be safe. Yes, that means that selling and buying raw milk is illegal in most states. The heat process that is involved with pasteurizing milk denatures the protein. Any diary scientist will tell you that.
Remember the study above about milk being better than protein powder for the post-workout period? Wrong! I'm fully aware that whey comes from milk, but milk production and whey processing are two completely different processes.
So we're dieting and training hard to lean out. Does it really make sense to include something into your diet that can make you bloated, fatigued, and wreck havoc in your GI tract, further blocking your progress by increasing the muscle-wasting, lower-ab-fat-storing hormone cortisol (6)?
That doesn't sound too appealing to me.
The one caveat being the option of organic, grass-fed milk. In clients, I see this being far less problematic than other options. It's a healthier version, higher in omega-3 and CLA content and is devoid of all the nasty hormones, most of which actually make their way into your milk, that regular cows are fed. So if you absolutely have to have milk then that's the option that I suggest.
- Karp, Jason R.; Johnston, Jeanne D.; Tecklenburg, Sandy; Mickleborough, Tim; Fly, Alyce; Stager, Joel M (2004). The Efficacy of Chocolate Milk as a Recovery Aid. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 36(5) Supplement:S126.
- Belanger A, Locong A, Noel C, Cusan L, Dupont A, Prevost J, Caron S, Sevigny J. "Influence of diet on plasma steroids and sex hormone-binding globulin levels in adult men." J Steroid Biochem. 1989 Jun;32(6):829-33. PMID: 2526906.
- Volek JS, Kraemer WJ, Bush JA, Incledon T, Boetes M. Testosterone and cortisol in relationship to dietary nutrients and resistance exercise. J Appl Physiol. 1997 Jan;82(1):49-54. PMID: 9029197.
- Campbell AK, et al. The molecular basis of lactose intolerance. Sci Prog. 2009:92(pt 3-4):241-87
- Fabrizis L. et al. A comparison of symptoms after the consumption of milk or lactose-hydrolyzed milk by people with se;f-reported severe lactose intolerance. N Engl J Med 1995; 333:1-4
- Progress in Autoimmune Disease Research. The Autoimmune Disease Coordinating Committee Report to Congress. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Bethesda (MD), 2005.
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you're right bro...
because they have to sell whey supplements that's why they cannot say milk is good post workout.
Infact i have read studies online which claimed that milk is actually good post workout.
What's more.... my friend who is Ph.D. in nutrition science said Milk is the best post workout Drink.
So this article should be rolled and throw directly in the trash can.
It seems strange.So there's no nature protein in milk?I don't agree.Although they are denatured,they may still of significant building our muscle.If your statements are the reason,so,what can we opt for for our muscle-building?
First of all, if you have watched Beyond Pumping Iron, the hour and a half of additional footage, Arnold says a lot of the stuff he says in the movie was said for effect, specifically that part about milk, he says he drinks a lot of milk and also the part about his father dying and not going to the funeral amongst other things. Second, why is this the last word?
How does denatured protein differ in effectiveness? Obviously milk isn't something that one would want during their contest cutting, but I don't understand why milk during a mass building season would be an issue.
This did not give me any good information... my questions still go unanswered and this article would not hold up in a debate. You need a reason why, supporting evidence, and an alternative to the original subject.
I am lactose intolerant, so I can't have milk anyway. But my doctor told me that there is no reason for humans to drink milk anyway- any nutrient that comes from milk can be found in higher quanities in other food items.
I wish this article had stated what to do if you choose not to drink milk or if you can't- what should you drink instead?
Yes, pasteurizing does denature protein. But, so does every single step of the digestion process. Denaturing simply alters the rather unstable 3-D super structure of macromollecular proteins. It does nothing to the amino acids. Protein is not absorbed anywhere in the digestive tract. It must be denatured, digested, lysed, cleaved, soaked in hydrochloric acid, then washed in strong base, and then further broken down to amino acids in order to pass out of the gut.
So please denature away. You are only saving my body some time and energy.
Milk is great as long as you can handle the lactose and avoid dairy fat.
And I know some tiny guys who drink a lot of milk.
I think you need help understanding cause
You sir, have a terrible case of post hoc. To say "This guy is ripped, and he drinks milk. Therefore the milk worked." is completely illogical and is not grounds for a counter-argument at all.
I know some ripped guys who smoke. Does this mean smoking promotes muscle building? Of course not.
I was motivated enough to write to Jimmy (the writer) highlighting the many inaccuracies in his article and also that he failed to promote the many benefits of milk. He replied in a timely and professional manner, however his reply was anything but:
"You have ZERO idea what you're talking about. Go back to reading the magazines and believing the bro science and learn how to spell yogurt properly. "
I spelt yoghurt with a 'gh'
he seriously said that? wow that's a douche move. i figured he'd want to help you understand whatever it is you're trying to ask him.
I definitely think this article could have been written a bit better however i have to agree with some of his points. A lot of people don't even realize they are lactose intolerant and ignore all the signs thinking that their symptoms are normal. I haven't been diagnosed as intolerant but I do find I don't feel as good after drinking a glass as I used to 10 years ago when I drank it constantly (I was practically a milk fiend!) I've discovered lots of great tasting other sources many of which have 2-3 times more protein and calcium. My favorite is almond milk. It tastes amazing takes care of my milk craving and doesn't give me the bloated after feeling. I even got my boyfriend hooked on the stuff. Regardless of everything though it all comes down to the individual if something works for you stick with it!
I'd take it a step further and go RAW, organic, grass fed, full fat. Find a legal, trustworthy dairy farmer near you and buy direct. Raw contains the enzymes needed to breakdown the lactose.
I use to drink a lot of milk, at least 1-1.5 litre. I actually also heard from here that milk contains this kind of protein, which is good to drink before going to bed.
But what should I drink instead of milk then, if I want to have enough protein?