HomeAnswersIs milk bad for athletes?

Is milk bad for athletes?

This question is about Nutrition, Running and Cycling
Sarah Achleithner
No, milk is not bad for athletes unless an athlete has a milk protein allergy or suffers from lactose intolerance. Milk contains high-quality protein, carbohydrate calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and vitamin B12, which are involved in bone health, recovery from exercise, metabolism, and various other critical physiological functions [1]. 
Specifically, milk is rich in leucine, an amino acid that appears to stimulate muscle protein synthesis and enhance recovery after a workout [2]. In addition, milk also offers readily-absorbed carbohydrate to help replenish muscle glycogen stores after exercise. Some research suggests that chocolate milk is especially beneficial for recovery because it offers a unique combination of carbohydrate and protein, as well as fluid [3]
That said, milk is not critical for athletes to perform at their best, especially if an athlete has a milk protein allergy or lactose intolerance. For these athletes, consuming milk products can be not just uncomfortable but also, dangerous.
two milk bottles in a bowl of ice on a white wooden table
[1] Scott-Dalgeish, J. (2015). Milk and Non-Dairy Alternatives: A Guide for Endurance Athletes. https://www.endurancesportsnutritionist.co.uk/milk-non-dairy-alternatives-guide-endurance-athletes
[2] Thomas, D. T., Erdman, K. A., & Burke, L. M. (2016). Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and Athletic Performance. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 116(3), 501–528. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2015.12.006
[3] Ferguson-Stegall, L., McCleave, E., Ding, Z., Doerner Iii, P. G., Liu, Y., Wang, B., Healy, M., Kleinert, M., Dessard, B., Lassiter, D. G., Kammer, L., & Ivy, J. L. (2011). Aerobic exercise training adaptations are increased by postexercise carbohydrate-protein supplementation. Journal of nutrition and metabolism, 2011, 623182. https://doi.org/10.1155/2011/623182