Milk takes female athletes from strength to strength

Posted by Josette Dunn on 23rd April 2010

Female athletes looking to increase lean muscle and decrease fat mass may want to add milk to their training program.

Milk deal

A recent study by researchers at McMasters University in Canada suggests that milk supports favourable body composition changes in women undertaking resistance training.

The authors of the study concluded that after 12 weeks, women consuming milk as opposed to sports drink in the early post-exercise period following resistance training gained lean muscle and strength as well as losing fat.

The researchers investigated whether women consuming skim milk versus a carbohydrate drink such as readily available sports drinks with an equal number of calories would gain lean muscle mass and lose fat mass after resistance exercise.

The young women drank either skim milk or a carbohydrate drink immediately after exercise and then an hour later. They exercised five days a week for 12 weeks and changes in their body composition were measured.

Lean muscle mass increased in both those drinking milk and carbohydrate but with a greater gain in those drinking milk, and fat mass was decreased in the milk drinkers only.

Until now, most research on the benefit of milk to athletes focused on men. The scientists wanted to find out whether milk offered the same benefits to female athletes as it does to male ones.

Glenys Zucco, Dietitian at Dairy Australia said, “This study is very positive for female athletes trying to enhance their performance or body composition. Most studies regarding sports nutrition are conducted in men and this shows how the same benefits of consuming milk can be applied to women.”

Ms Zucco welcomed the research saying, “This study provides further evidence of the nutritional benefits of milk for athletes, a product that is readily available, natural, and inexpensive.”