Many of you have probably heard the popular slogan in America, "Got Milk?". Do you think there's so many TV and magazine ads for just the sole purpose of putting some money in farmers' pockets? I think not.
The importance of milk is not understood well enough by most people. Milk is my favorite snack/meal/supplement, and maybe after reading this article it will rank up there on your charts as well. Tolerant to lactose or not, YOU MUST DRINK MILK.
Protein is the macro nutrient that all athletes need, right? Of course! Protein is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of muscles. Without protein, your muscles wouldn't be able to grow.
Milk is a great source of protein, containing casein and whey. These are two top notch proteins (whey being #1 overall). Drinking milk will provide your body with vast amounts of amino acids, all the better to get rebuilding that muscle you just destroyed!
Protein is one of the most important nutrients for the serious weight trainer. It is essential to recovery and muscle growth. This chart shows you the protein quantity and quality of some common foods.
|Source||Protein (g)||Biological Value (BV)|
|Chicken breast 2.8 oz (79 g)||26||79|
|Tuna 3.0 oz (85 g)||24||83|
|Egg (1 whole)||6||100|
|Milk (1%, 1 cup)||8||91|
|Lean beef 2.5 oz (72 g)||22||80|
|Lentils (1 cup)||16||50|
|Red Kidney Beans (1 cup)||15||50|
|Bread (1 slice) 25 g||2||54|
|Rice (1 cup)||4||59|
|Pasta (1 cup)||4||54|
|Oatmeal (1 cup)||13||55|
A cup of milk contains approximately 8g of protein, which makes a great addition to any meal. Drink a gallon of milk in a day, and you have 128g of protein already. Not too shabby.
You don't need to be lectured on protein, you know what it does. Just know that milk is loaded with protein, good protein. Drink up.
Milk is an excellent source of calories, whether it be for the bulker or cutter. Two cups of skim milk will provide a fat-free 180 calories. Mix that with a couple scoops of whey and you now have a fat-free (or close) 380 calories. Looks like you just saved some MRP money.
What if you're cutting and you don't want that many calories? Just chop everything in half. A cup of milk with a scoop of whey is a great fat-free meal under 200 calories. Heck you don't even need the extra whey, the milk is enough! There's a great healthy snack under 100 calories.
Calcium, builds strong bones, right? Of course it does. Your doctor didn't lie to your mother when you were a little kid when he told her to make sure you got enough calcium. Guess what's full of calcium. Yep, you guessed it (hopefully), milk. Quoting a study :
"Children who avoided milk did not use calcium-rich food substitutes appropriately and had low dietary calcium intakes and low bone mineral density values. Many were overweight (22 of 50). Significantly more of the children who avoided milk reported fractures. They also experienced more total fractures than the birth cohort population."
Calcium does more than just ensure strong bones. Without getting too scientific, calcium plays major roles in muscle relaxation and contraction. Not enough calcium and you're not going to get good contractions in the gym. Sucks, doesn't it?
Just wait, calcium does even more. Increasing your calcium intake can actually help lower your body fat! Calcium helps the body breakdown and build fat. Don't believe me? Check out the studies :
"Obese people who consumed three to four daily servings of milk, yogurt or cheese while on balanced, reduced calorie diet, lost significantly more weight and fat than those who consumed similar amounts of calcium through supplements, or who consumed one or fewer servings of milk, yogurt or cheese per day. People on the high dairy (1200-1300 mg calcium) diet lost 70% more body weight and 64% more body fat than those on the low calcium diet."
"Data from over 800 adults enrolled in the HERITAGE Family Study was evaluated and found that high daily calcium intake (including from dairy foods) is associated with lower weight."
"This research review concluded that dietary calcium may play an important role in the regulation of energy metabolism and may result in a reduction of body fat and an acceleration of weight and fat loss during caloric restriction. This review also concluded that dairy sources of calcium demonstrate substantially greater effects than supplemental or fortified sources."
"In a multi-center trial, researchers found that overweight and obese people who ate three servings of dairy a day lost more body fat than people who ate an equal amount of calcium through supplements or a low calcium diet.
All participants ate a reduced calorie diet, but people on the high dairy diet lost nearly twice as much body fat, more trunk fat and more waist circumference compared to the other groups."
When you read those, also notice that calcium is better at burning fat when it comes from dairy, not supplements. Although the use of supplements can surely help.
Just make sure that you drink your milk, it will provide you with a good amount of calcium. You should be taking in about 1500-2500mg of calcium daily. So now you should understand why you need calcium, and where you can get it (milk for those of you that are slow!).
Vitamin A also works as an antioxidant, which keep the body healthy. Vitamin D is actually a steroid. No, tons of vitamin D won't bust you through your plateau, but it is classified as a steroid hormone.
Vitamin D aids in helping your body absorbing calcium, which will benefit the strength and growth of bones.
A Word Of Caution
Vitamins A and D are fat-soluble vitamins, which means that if you take too much of them they can become toxic. This is not good at all. Don't worry about eating lots of foods rich in these vitamins, toxicity is from an overdose on vitamin A and D supplements. For this reason, I would advise just eating foods rich in these vitamins.
Everyone knows how important water is.
Well guess what, milk has a lot of water in it.
Proper hydration is absolutely essential for every athlete, and it's importance cannot be neglected.
For some reason, when people see the word "carb", they get scared and will not eat the food because "carbs make you fat". Here's an important lesson that you need to learn: too much of anything will make you fat, carbs are good.
Without carbohydrates, you wouldn't have energy to do anything. That's why people on the Atkins diet are always in a bad mood.
What you need to avoid is simple carbohydrates (except post workout). You may already know this, but when you look at the milk label, you see that there's a lot of sugar in milk. But lactose is a disaccharide, and has to be broken down first, which takes time. This is why the GI (glycemic index) of milk is very low.
Got Post-Workout Carbs?
This is something that I feel needs to be cleared up. The mainstream bodybuilding crowd would tell you "yeah, drink your whey with water after you workout, if you drink it with milk, the casein will slow down absorption".
Trust me, for what it's worth, it is much, much better to drink milk post workout. There are huge anabolic benefits of taking whey protein with casein post-workout . Make the switch, and you will see for yourself.
Got Lactose Intolerance?
Lactose intolerance occurs due to the shortage in production of the enzyme lactase. When a lactose intolerant persons digests lactose, the body can't break it down because it lacks lactase, so the lactose sits in the gut. This causes bloating, cramping, gas, and diarrhea.
So you have lactose intolerance, this means you can't drink milk. WRONG!
Ever hear of Lactaid? Lactaid is milk that doesn't have any lactose in it, so you can drink it without any problems. You can also buy lactase droplets or tablets, and then put them into your milk.
No more excuses now, go buy some milk.
Got A Word Of Caution?
If there was one word of caution about milk that I would give you, it would be to avoid milk late at night if you are at all carb-sensitive. Although milk does have a very low GI, it ranks very high on the insulin index (II). You don't want insulin spiked right before bed. Casein powder and cottage cheese are good alternatives here.
Got A Wrap Up?
If you're not convinced to start drinking milk after you've read this article, there is something wrong with you. I hope the "Got ____?s" didn't get too annoying. You now know that you should drink milk all of the time, and even post workout!
Drink milk with anything and everything, just remember the word of caution about milk pre-bed. I know this article has gotten you pumped up, so start using the anabolic capabilities of milk today, and you shall see results!
- Goulding A, Rockell JE, Black RE, Grant AM, Jones IE, Williams SM. Children who avoid drinking cow's milk are at increased risk for prepubertal bone fractures.
- Tipton KD, Elliott TA, Cree MG, Wolf SE, Sanford AP, Wolfe RR. Ingestion of casein and whey proteins result in muscle anabolism after resistance exercise.