How is milk powder for muscle building

Milk is better than protein shakes for athletes

After training, Matt Whitmore pours half a liter of milk down his throat. "For me it has an almost religious character," says the 25-year-old fitness trainer from London. He started the milk ritual about ten years ago when he didn't have the money for the expensive protein supplements. "I recover faster with milk, and I just feel great," says Whitmore. Scientists are now confirming what Whitmore is pleading for from experience: Milk is just as good, or perhaps even better, than the sports drinks that athletes drink after training.

Casein and whey - a dream for the muscles

The health benefits of milk - with carbohydrates, electrolytes or calcium - have long been undisputed. But athletes are most interested in the two proteins that stimulate muscle rebuilding: casein and whey. Because regardless of whether you are running, cycling or playing football: muscles are damaged during intense exercise. In order to regenerate them quickly, the body needs casein and whey. This makes milk the ideal sports drink, stresses Glenys Jones. "Milk provides the building blocks for building new muscles," says the nutrition researcher from the British Medical Research Council. According to this, sports drinks replace the carbohydrates and electrolytes used, but they do not provide the muscles with the nutrients they need to recover.

How does milk compare to other sports drinks?

But whether milk actually outperforms sports drinks is controversial. "The type of carbohydrates and the nutrients are the most important," says study leader Emma Cockburn from Northumbria University in England. Cockburn advises athletes to drink milk immediately after exercise. "The training destroys the protein structures in the muscles, but only after 24 to 48 hours," she says. If consumed directly after an exercise, the muscles could absorb the milk early and prevent this damage. Even if athletes have to perform at their best several times a day, milk promotes regeneration.

Milk makes you feel full longer

Loughborough University researchers believe low-fat milk is also superior to sports drinks in replacing lost fluids. On the one hand, the drink contains a lot of electrolytes. In addition, the stomach empties more slowly with milk than with sports drinks, so the body is hydrated longer. Another advantage: The ratio of the individual nutrients is supposedly better than in supplements or soy milk. This helps to lose fat and build muscle mass.

Not all scientists believe in milk

But there are also voices of warning. Catherine Collins, spokeswoman for the British Dietetic Association, admits that milk can be of benefit to those athletes who burn thousands of calories a day. But normal gym goers should stick to sports drinks or water. "If you want to lose weight, water is probably enough after your workout," she says. And even the biggest milk advocates admit that milk cannot entirely replace sports drinks. Because milk is difficult to digest, it should not be taken during training.

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