Thursday, August 16, 2007

Wham: Milk: The New Sports Performance Drink?

What's the last thing in the world you'd think of drinking after a workout at the gym? For me, that would be a big tall glass of skim milk.

But, drinking fat-free milk after resistance exercise has a greater effect on helping to increase lean body mass compared to soy or carbohydrates in young male weightlifters according to a new study from researchers at McMaster University, Canada. They found that taking milk after a work-out promotes a greater protein balance than consuming a soy protein drink.

The work, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, adds to an increasing body of evidence pointing to the positive health benefits of milk in the sports nutrition market. As you know, the sports nutrition market is absolutely huge, and dominated primarily by isotonic drinks.

And there's other evidence to support this weird claim . . . Earlier this month researchers from the UK's Loughborough University's School of Sports and Exercise Sciences found that drinking skimmed milk after exercise may promote recovery and rehydration better than water or drinks like Gatorade. This research, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, found that those working out remained hydrated after drinking milk, but remained dehydrated after drinking the other drinks!

Here are additional details from this study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 86, No. 2, 373-381, August 2007:
56 healthy young men were recruited, split into three groups, and asked to train five days a week for 12 weeks on a rotating split-body resistance exercise program.

They were then randomly assigned to consume drinks immediately and again after one hour exercise. The groups were given fat-free milk, fat-free soy protein that was isoenergetic, isonitrogenous, and with macronutrient ratio matched to milk. The third group had maltodextrin that was isoenergetic with milk and soy.

Muscle fiber size, maximal strength, and body composition by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) were measured before and after training. The researchers found that no between-group differences were seen in strength and that type II muscle fiber area increased in all groups with training, but with greater increases in the milk group than in both the soy and control groups.

Type I muscle fiber area increased after training only in the milk and soy groups, with the increase in the milk group being greater than that in the control group. DXA-measured fat- and bone-free mass increased in all groups, with a greater increase in the milk group than in both the soy and control groups.
I am sure we'll soon be seeing new products from companies like Gatorade, using skim milk as the major component for rehydrating, muscle-building drinks.


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