HomeAnswersCan we drink milk before cycling?

Can we drink milk before cycling?

This question is about
Sarah Achleithner, health and wellness writer
Yes, early evidence suggests that you can drink milk before cycling (specifically low-fat or fat-free milk) without incurring GI distress during a ride, provided you do not have a milk protein allergy or lactose intolerance. Milk provides carbohydrates to fuel working muscles during a ride, protein to support muscle growth, and increased fluid intake to prevent dehydration, all of which can help support performance[1, 2].
Milk is also a good source of calcium and Vitamin D, both of which play an integral role in bone health (which is important for athletic performance)  [3]. Since your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium and ultimately strengthen bones, it’s important to look for dairy products that are fortified with one (or both) of these nutrients. However, if you have a dairy intolerance or allergy, you should avoid milk. Instead, choose a milk alternative that is also fortified with vitamin D and calcium.
two milk bottles in a bowl of ice on a white wooden table
[2] Haakonssen, E. C., Ross, M. L., Cato, L. E., Nana, A., Knight, E. J., Jenkins, D. G., Martin, D. T., & Burke, L. M. (2014). Dairy-based pre exercise meal does not affect gut comfort or time-trial performance in female cyclists. International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism, 24(5), 553–558. https://doi.org/10.1123/ijsnem.2014-0069
[3] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Calcium and vitamin d: Important at every age. National Institutes of Health. https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/bone-health/nutrition/calcium-and-vitamin-d-important-every-age.

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