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Milk and Muscles

Posted on by Courtney

Kids, your parents have always reminded you that drinking your milk at breakfast will help make your bones stronger, but can milk do more than that?  You bet! Make sure Mom puts chocolate milk on the grocery list before your next soccer game because, believe it or not, your favorite chocolaty drink has been shown to make your muscles stronger too.

This simple, delicious treat helps your muscles recover from exercise better than other popular sports drinks. Science has shown that drinking low-fat chocolate milk right after an intense game helps your muscles work harder and longer throughout the rest of the day, compared to other drinks like Gatorade, protein shakes, and even water.

During exercise, your muscles use up stored energy, called glycogen. It’s the fuel that keeps your body going. When your muscles start to run out of glycogen, they will be too tired to keep up with the competition. You need to find some way to restore the energy that you used.

Glycogen comes from glucose, a fancy word for the stuff that makes up sugar. Low-fat chocolate milk helps replace your muscles’ missing glycogen from the sugar in the chocolate. The protein (found in all dairy products) helps build muscle. This combination helps your muscles become stronger and gives them enough energy to keep you at the top of your game.

In addition to building muscles, chocolate milk also provides you with nine essential vitamins and minerals that help your body run correctly. Like your parents said, milk really does also help your bones stay strong by providing them with calcium and vitamin D. Stronger bones don’t break as easily, making it less likely for you to be injured when you get fouled.

Remember though to not go too crazy on the chocolate! If you drink more than 16 ounces (or 2 cups) of chocolate milk after working out, your muscles will use the sugar that they need, then your body will turn the extra calories into fat. Tell Mom to choose the low-fat kind and ask her to help you measure out the right amount.

If you tell Mom and Dad about all the great things that chocolate milk can do for you and they still aren’t convinced, remind them that chocolate milk is cheap! It usually costs less than half the price of other recovery drinks and has more benefits. They can even buy low-fat milk of their own to help lose weight, as studies have shown that people who consume the recommended 3 servings of dairy each day lose more pounds than those who drink less.

Good luck in your next game. Let me know how the chocolate milk works out for you!

 

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About Courtney

Courtney is your average recent college graduate. She loves to cook, read, swim, and do anything outside. She grew up in beautiful Monterrey, Mexico and completed her undergrad in public health at BYU. She hopes to start nursing school soon, but for now she enjoys teaching health and nutrition classes to high schoolers.

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One Response to Milk and Muscles

avatar T.E. D says: 5 years ago

The Truth about Dairy

According to Dr. Willett, who has done many studies and reviewed the research on this topic, there are many reasons to pass up milk, including:

1. Milk doesn’t reduce fractures.(i) Contrary to popular belief, eating dairy products has never been shown to reduce fracture risk. In fact, according to the Nurses’ Health Study dairy may increase risk of fractures by 50 percent!

2. Less dairy, better bones. Countries with lowest rates of dairy and calcium consumption (like those in Africa and Asia) have the lowest rates of osteoporosis.

3. Calcium isn’t as bone-protective as we thought.(ii) Studies of calcium supplementation have shown no benefit in reducing fracture risk. Vitamin D appears to be much more important than calcium in preventing fractures.

4. Calcium may raise cancer risk. Research shows that higher intakes of both calcium and dairy products may increase a man’s risk of prostate cancer by 30 to 50 percent.(iii) Plus, dairy consumption increases the body’s level of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) — a known cancer promoter.

5. Calcium has benefits that dairy doesn’t. Calcium supplements, but not dairy products, may reduce the risk of colon cancer.(iv)

6. Not everyone can stomach dairy.(v) About 75 percent of the world’s population is genetically unable to properly digest milk and other dairy products — a problem called lactose intolerance.

Based on such findings, Dr. Willet has come to some important conclusions:

• Everybody needs calcium — but probably not as much as our government’s recommended daily allowance (RDA) and calcium from diet, including greens and beans is better utilized by the body with less risk than calcium supplements.

• Calcium probably doesn’t prevent broken bones. Few people in this country are likely to reduce their fracture risk by getting more calcium.

• Men may not want to take calcium supplements. Supplements of calcium and vitamin D may be reasonable for women.

• Dairy may be unhealthy. Advocating dairy consumption may have negative effects on health.
If all that isn’t enough to swear you off milk, there are a few other scientific findings worth noting. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently asked the UDSA to look into the scientific basis of the claims made in the “milk mustache” ads. Their panel of scientists stated the truth clearly:

• Milk doesn’t benefit sports performance.

• There’s no evidence that dairy is good for your bones or prevents osteoporosis — in fact, the animal protein it contains may help cause bone loss!

• Dairy is linked to prostate cancer.

• It’s full of saturated fat and is linked to heart disease.

• Dairy causes digestive problems for the 75 percent of people with lactose intolerance.

• Dairy aggravates irritable bowel syndrome.

Simply put, the FTC asked the dairy industry, “Got Proof?” — and the answer was NO!

Plus, dairy may contribute to even more health problems, like:

• Allergies (vi)
• Sinus problems
• Ear infections
• Type 1 diabetes (vii)
• Chronic constipation (viii)
• Anemia (in children)

Due to these concerns, many have begun to consider raw milk an alternative. But that isn’t really a healthy form of dairy either …

Yes, raw, whole, organic milk eliminates concerns like pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and the effects of homogenization and pasteurization — but to me, these benefits don’t outweigh dairy’s potential risks.
From an evolutionary point of view, milk is a strange food for humans. Until 10,000 years ago we didn’t domesticate animals and weren’t able to drink milk (unless some brave hunter-gather milked a wild tiger or buffalo!).

If you don’t believe that, consider this: The majority of humans naturally stop producing significant amounts of lactase – the enzyme needed to properly metabolize lactose, the sugar in milk — sometime between the ages of two and five. In fact, for most mammals, the normal condition is to stop producing the enzymes needed to properly digest and metabolize milk after they have been weaned.

Our bodies just weren’t made to digest milk on a regular basis. Instead, most scientists agree that it’s better for us to get calcium, potassium, protein, and fats from other food sources, like whole plant foods — vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and seaweed.

So here is my advice for dealing with dairy.

6 Tips for Dealing with Dairy

• Take your Cow for a Walk. It will do you much more good than drinking milk.

• Don’t rely on dairy for healthy bones. If you want healthy bones, get plenty of exercise and supplement with 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily.

• Get your calcium from food. These include dark green leafy vegetables, sesame tahini, sea vegetables, and sardines or salmon with the bones.

• Try giving up all dairy. That means eliminate milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream for two weeks and see if you feel better. You should notice improvements with your sinuses, post-nasal drip, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, energy, and weight. Then start eating dairy again and see how you feel. If you feel worse, you should try to give it up for life.

• If you can tolerate dairy, use only raw, organic dairy products. I suggest focusing on fermented products like unsweetened yogurt and kefir, occasionally.

• If you have to feed your child formula from milk, don’t worry. The milk in infant formula is hydrolyzed or broken down and easier to digest (although it can still cause allergies). Once your child is a year old, switch him or her to real food and almond milk.

Still got milk? I hope not! Remember, dairy is not crucial for good health. I encourage you to go dairy-free and see what it does for you.

Now I’d like to hear from you …

Do you agree or disagree that dairy is bad for you?

Have you experienced any problems consuming dairy?

What changes — for better or worse — have you experienced if you’ve tried eliminating dairy?

Please let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below…

To your good health,

Mark Hyman, MD

References

(i) Feskanich D, Willett WC, Stampfer MJ, Colditz GA. Milk, dietary calcium, and bone fractures in women: a 12-year prospective study. Am J Public Health. 1997 Jun;87(6):992-7.

(ii) Feskanich D, Willett WC, Colditz GA. Calcium, vitamin D, milk consumption, and hip fractures: a prospective study among postmenopausal women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Feb;77(2):504-11.

(iii) Tseng M, Breslow RA, Graubard BI, Ziegler RG. Dairy, calcium, and vitamin D intakes and prostate cancer risk in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Epidemiologic Follow-up Study cohort. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 May;81(5):1147-54.

(iv) Huncharek M, Muscat J, Kupelnick B. Colorectal cancer risk and dietary intake of calcium, vitamin D, and dairy products: a meta-analysis of 26,335 cases from 60 observational studies. Nutr Cancer. 2009;61(1):47-69.

(v) Brannon PM, Carpenter TO, Fernandez JR, Gilsanz V, Gould JB, Hall KE, Hui SL, Lupton JR, Mennella J, Miller NJ, Osganian SK, Sellmeyer DE, Suchy FJ, Wolf MA. NIH Consensus Development Conference Statement: Lactose Intolerance and Health. NIH Consens State Sci Statements. 2010 Feb 24;27(2).

(vi) Bartley J, McGlashan SR. Does milk increase mucus production? Med Hypotheses. 2010 Apr;74(4):732-4.

(vii) Luopajärvi K, Savilahti E, Virtanen SM, Ilonen J, Knip M, Akerblom HK, Vaarala O. Enhanced levels of cow’s milk antibodies in infancy in children who develop type 1 diabetes later in childhood. Pediatr Diabetes. 2008 Oct;9(5):434-41.

(viii) El-Hodhod MA, Younis NT, Zaitoun YA, Daoud SD. Cow’s milk allergy related pediatric constipation: Appropriate time of milk tolerance. Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2009 Jun 25.

Mark Hyman, M.D. practicing physician and founder of The UltraWellness Center is a pioneer in functional medicine. Dr. Hyman is now sharing the 7 ways to tap into your body’s natural ability to heal itself. You can follow him on Twitter, connect with him on LinkedIn, watch his videos on Youtube and become a fan on Facebook.

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