Milk: The Original Sports Drink

No, I don’t wear a milk moustache, but yes I am a big believer in drinking low-fat milk for health and performance. It really does do a body (especially an active body) good.

Cow’s milk has been out of vogue recently as people are increasingly turned to soy milk instead,  believing it to be a healthier alternative. Others avoid cow’s milk because they are lactose-intolerant. That’s a shame because milk is the ultimate superfood, loaded with calcium for healthy teeth and bones, vitamin D for optimal calcium absorption, vitamin A for healthy skin and eyes, potassium for proper electrolyte balance and muscle contraction, riboflavin for help in extracting energy from cells and protein for building and repairing body tissues.  

Recent research has also shown that drinking milk after a workout is a great way to both re-fuel and re-hydrate as it contains an ideal ratio of protein and carbohydrates to restore glycogen levels. Though it contains extra calories, chocolate milk may be an even better post-workout sports drink because of its slightly higher carbohydrate content than regular milk.

Other research suggests that drinking low-fat milk may help you burn fat. Some researchers believe it’s the amino acid leucine in milk that promotes fat burning.  Other studies suggest that it’s actually the calcium in milk that facilitates fat burning. Calcium supplements, by the way, have not be found to be as effective in facilitating fat burning as eating lowfat dairy products.

Soy milk, on the other hand, if consumed in large amounts can impair thyroid function, potentially lowering basil metabolic rate. It also contains phytates which can impair vitamin and mineral absorption. This is one of the reasons why most soy milks are fortified with vitamins and minerals.

And, if you’re avoiding cow’s milk because you’re lactose-intolerant, Lactaid milk is available just about everywhere these days – I’ve even seen it for sale at Longs and Target. Safeway even sells their own lactose-free milk under their own label and it’s slightly cheaper than the Lactaid brand.

Lactaid milk is slightly sweeter than regular milk because the enzyme lactase added to the milk breaks down the complex sugar lactose into glucose and galactose, two simpler sugars that the body can more easily digest. The result is a slightly sweeter taste for no additional calories. As someone who avoided milk for years because of lactose-intolerance, I am so happy to find Lactaid milk so available these days! Oral supplements of lactase are also available to take with a meal containing dairy products. Please note that if you are allergic to any of the proteins in milk (i.e., whey and casein) Lactaid milk is not the solution for you because it isn’t the lactose you’re allergic to.

Be Well,


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3 Responses to “Milk: The Original Sports Drink”

  1. Top Ten Tips for Teen Nutrition « bewellcoaching’s Weblog Says:

    […] Teens need lots of bone building nutrients as well as iron. Speaking of bone-building nutrients, drink milk – it’s the original sports […]

  2. Should you Exercise on an Empty Stomach to Burn More Fat? « bewellcoaching’s Weblog Says:

    […] the fat burning pump”. For that matter, even a small amount of quality liquid calories (milk’s a great choice!) will […]

  3. Another Reason Milk Does a Woman’s Body Good « bewellcoaching’s Weblog Says:

    […] research further supports my position that milk  is the original sports drink. It not only helps restore glycogen levels and repair muscles with its ideal ratio of complex carbs […]

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