Milk Proteins: It Does A Body Good!

“Drink your milk!” my mom would always say. I never really had distaste for milk so I pretty much drank it without being told. Nevertheless, milk consumption in the U.S. isn’t what it used to be. Only 30% of adults actually get the 3 servings of dairy per day that are recommended. Furthermore, most Americans only consume 70% of their required calcium per day. In some instances, especially pre-contest, milk is vilified for its lactose and fat. This is reasonable, but can it help you grow in the off-season?

Amazingly, milk, its proteins, and its mineral content (calcium), have incredible effects on your metabolism. In fact, those who consume >35 servings of dairy per week have over 70% lower risk of developing Metabolic Syndrome. Metabolic syndrome involves accumulation of inflammatory abdominal (visceral) fat, high plasma triglycerides with low HDL, high blood pressure, and elevated blood glucose (insulin resistance). Metabolic syndrome puts you at risk for diabetes, heart disease, and their complications. Exercise and dietary interventions can cure metabolic syndrome in most cases.

Randomized clinical trials of dairy have demonstrated that increased dairy consumption to ≥3 servings compared to ≤ 1 diary serving/day, reduces waist circumference, blood pressure, and inflammatory compounds in overweight/obese subjects. Studies have also reported decreased serum insulin and improvement or healing of insulin resistance with dairy intake. Whether this effect comes from the calcium, the protein, or the vitamin D studies are needed.

According to the theory proposed by Zemel and colleagues, increased dietary calcium decreases fat cell fat production and directly stimulates fat breakdown. ( J Nutr. 2003;133(1):252S). The milk proteins casein and whey contain peptides that can reduce blood pressure. Largely, data supports a blood pressure lowering effect of dairy. Specifically low-fat dairy and the whey fraction have direct BP lowering effects. In fact, two meta-analyses reported that lactokinins (proteins from whey) significantly decreased blood pressure. Another study has demonstrated that consuming milk can boost basal metabolic rate. In summary, low-fat dairy should be part of your diet!

Many people have sensitivities or even allergies to milk proteins. See an allergist and get some testing if you think you do. If you don’t, you may just need some pro-biotics or lactaid.

In upcoming posts I will discuss the components of milk. Including milk proteins (whey and casein), vitamin D/Calcium, and the fat content (i.e. palmitic acid). Not only does milk provide metabolic support but its components are amazing for muscle growth.