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Jack Medina LogoSurprise: The Ultimate Sports Recovery Drink??

by Jack A. Medina, M.A. and
Roy E. Vartabedian, Dr.P.H. 
In This Issue
Milk and Athletes
Milk: Sports Recovery Drink?
Research on Milk
The Ultimate Sports Drink
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     May 11, 2009
Jack Medina No one needs to convince you of the importance of good nutrition to your physical performance. You also know the importance of getting protein and carbohydrate soon after training. Supplement companies know this too, this is why you see all the post-training recovery drinks being promoted, each one promising to have new technology and be better than the other.
MILK: Does it do an athletic body any good?
Milk Numerous studies are emerging indicating that milk may be nature's "sports recovery drink." Milk is a good source of protein, fat, amino acids (the building blocks of protein), vitamins, and minerals. The health benefits of milk are well established, ranging from improved bone density to a decreased risk of high blood pressure.
Interpreting the Results
What would make milk a potentially good sports recovery drink? It's the nutritional composition. First, milk contains carbohydrates in amounts similar to many commercially available sports drinks. This is good for replenishing the carbohydrate you use up in your muscles during training. Second, milk contains casein and whey protein, two high quality proteins. Casein is slowly digested in the stomach, allowing a sustained elevation in the amino acids in your blood; having more amino acids around for a longer time means more building blocks available to your muscles. Whey protein contains a large proportion of what are called branched chain amino acids; these are the most abundant amino acids in your muscles and are critical to muscle building.

Finally, milk contains naturally high levels of electrolytes. Electrolytes are important minerals that are lost through the sweat during exercise. High concentrations of electrolytes should aid in fluid recovery after exercise.
The Research on Milk
Superman Got Milk? While milk sounds like a good post training drink in theory, the question is whether this is true in real life. Fortunately scientists have been asking this same question and have been reporting interesting results. What really matters, no matter what is reported, is whether milk really helps you build strength and muscle.
The evidence definitely indicates that milk has benefits for resistance-training athletes after training, but these are not the only types of athletes out there. Endurance athletes are looking for drinks that can help them recover from their long workouts, improve their endurance, and replenish fluids.  While more research is needed to understand how milk benefits you and which types of milk would be the best (e.g., non-fat, low-fat, whole, or chocolate). In some  studies, (Six studies referenced here), subjects who drank chocolate milk after training as compared to a commercial sports drink, showed a tendency towards greater fat-free mass gains. 

So if you want to add milk to your post-training menu, stick with the non-fat, low fat, or chocolate varieties as those are what have been used in studies; the most appropriate kind will depend upon your caloric needs (chocolate milk has the most calories).

Original Research
Roy, B.D, "Milk: The New Sports Drink? A Review." Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 5:15-21, 2008.
The Ultimate Sports Recovery Drink
Juice Plus  CompleteJust because milk is a great sports recovery drink, doesn't mean it can't be improved upon. Our recommendation: Mix non-fat, low-fat, or low-fat chocolate milk with Juice Plus+ CompleteŽ to increase the nutrient density of milk.

Juice Plus+ CompleteŽ contains additional nutrients not found in milk, whole food-based fruit and vegetable concentrates, and the benefits of soy along with the benefits of milk. So you get the best of both worlds by using them both in combination!
Best wishes for fitness and health,
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Jack A. Medina, M.A.
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Author/speaker and an expert in Sports Performance Enhancement”. Jack Medina is available for speaking engagements, consultation and personal training of athletes in various sports, professional and amateur. Jack has written a new book, “The Winning Edge: Fueling & Training The Body For Peak Performance” with Dr. Roy Vartabedian, an internationally known New York Times Best Selling Author of the “Nutripoints” program for optimal nutrition. Both books are available online at Jack also has a monthly ezine (newsletter) available free which can be subscribed to on his website. All subscriber’s addresses will be confidential and not sold or given to any other organization or group.

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