Milk – The Ultimate Sports Drink

As a young Mom with boys in the spring baseball craze, I wanted to keep them nourished and hydrated for their practices and games. My family table had the very basics for nourishment -- raw milk, organic veggies/fruits, and good proteins -- but what about those sport drinks that everybody consumed?

Google didn't exist in it's current state, so I simply read the ingredient label which revealed a plethora of sugars and chemicals, and decided "No thanks!" Then I came across this article.  It was so outside-the-norm and yet simple, so I cut it out to paste on a poster-board to share in my in-home classes.

Take a moment to read it, then I'll share what my boys took for energy and hydration to their events.

FitSmart  - Jorge Cruise

USA Weekend, Feb. 1-3, 2008.

​Milk can boost your muscle mass

Recent research shows that milk really does do a body good – especially right after a hard workout.

        In a study that appeared in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, young men who drank fat-free milk after exercising gained nearly 40% more muscle mass than those who drank a soy beverage and gained more than 60% more muscle mass than those who consumed a sweetened sports drink.​

        Plus, the milk drinkers lost more body fat in a 12-week period – nearly four times more than the soy-drinking group and 60% more than those who had sports drinks.“This simultaneous gain in muscle and loss of fat is a pretty powerful combination,” says Stuart M. Phillips, a professor at McMaster University in Ontario and the lead author of the study.

       “Milk contains two types of proteins, whey and casein, that are the highest-quality proteins known,” Phillips says. “They contain all of the essential amino acids, the necessary building blocks of proteins in our bodies. Whey contains one called leucine, which may be a key trigger for the synthesis of new muscle proteins.”


So, a couple of my thoughts:

  • This was non-fat, commercial, pasteurized milk.  And the results were still astonishing!  I wonder what the stats would be with real, full-fat, organic milk from grass-fed cows?
  • The "gain in muscle and loss of fat" spoke pretty loudly to me. Isn't that what athletes (and everybody) desires? Isn't it something adults should consider for a healthy diet…let alone when they exercise?

I sent my Little League boys off with bottles of milk and a dash of honey for extra energy! They loved it and benefitted! (They didn't love the questions others asked, but in their youth, handled them and grew from the experience.)

The bonus was that nourishing/hydrating with this super combo DURING the game, also kept them satiated to avoid the temptation of junk foods that were served AFTER game by well-meaning parents. It often broke my heart to see little bodies, depleted from stress and exercise, being replenished with sugary cupcakes, candy bars, snack chips, soda, and even more sports drinks.

Looking back, this was a pay-off forward for passing on the value of real foods. As young men, my boys are not tempted by sodas, soft drinks, energy drinks, or sports drinks.

And judging by the warnings appearing almost daily about the dangers of them, I am thankful to have found a healthy solution for my boys early-on.

~ Laurie Smith​