Dairy and Money
Benefits of Dairy
Questions From the FTC
Dairy and Cycling
What is Milk
- Most milk comes from pregnant cows; therefore carries a lot more estrogen to your diet. Estrogen is another story in itself.
- Cows are often fed antibiotics, engineered hormones, pesticides, and other chemicals that flow directly to your milk.
- Human milk has 10 times as much essential fatty acids and three times as much selenium as cow’s milk.
- Adult cows get the calcium they need from plants, not milk.
- It still remains widely accepted that calcium in dairy products strengthens bones and can help prevent osteoporosis.
Other Nutrient Sources
Some scientists agree that it’s better for us to get calcium, probably the most touted benefit of milk, from other food sources. Calcium, potassium, protein and fats, also in milk, are readily available in whole plant foods — vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and even seaweed if you like sushi.
Then there’s the lactose intolerant issue with dairy and cycling. The majority of humans naturally stop producing significant amounts of lactase, the enzyme needed to properly metabolize lactose, the sugar in milk, sometime between the ages of two and five. Most mammals stop producing the enzymes needed to properly digest and metabolize milk after they have been weaned. Dairy causes digestive problems for about 75 percent of the population.
Constipation (this one is tricky for cyclists) with dairy and cycling is controversial and it can be a problem. According to pediatric testing, milk can cause constipation. And it’s a well known fact that cheese causes constipation.
Diabetics Take Note
Early exposure to cow’s milk has been implicated in the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes. Albeit, in all fairness to milk, these test have typically centered around exposure to cow’s milk at an early age.
Mucus and Cycling
A study done in 2005 — these are really dated — published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, researchers were unable to detect any measurable mucus increase. Dr. James Steckelberg is a consultant in the Division of Infectious Diseases and a professor of medicine at the Mayo Medical School. He has this to say about mucus: “Although drinking milk may make phlegm (mucus) thicker and more irritating to your throat than it would normally be, milk doesn’t cause your body to make more phlegm. In fact, frozen dairy products can soothe a sore throat and provide calories when you otherwise may not eat.”
What This All Means
- What this all means to you is that you should think about what you’re putting in your body. If dairy products work for you the so be it, but you’re more likely to have fewer health issues by sticking with water or sports drinks.
- Based on the limited research, milk appears to have favorable alterations in protein metabolism. The results of this study suggest that dairy can be an effective post-exercise rehydration drink and can be considered for use during and after cycling by everyone except those individuals who have lactose intolerance.
- Milk’s nutrients—protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and water—are rapidly absorbed and metabolized by the body to produce energy during cycling and help to replenish nutrient stores after activity. New research shows that milk is just as effective than commercially-available sports drinks and can increase muscle growth
- Some cyclists may be fond of believing that a glass of chocolate milk is the perfect beverage. But although it has a good carb-to-protein ratio, the average store bought chocolate milk has a lot of high-fructose corn syrup — if you’re comfortable with that.
It’s Your Call
If you’re considering dairy and cycling as part of your regimen, it boils down to personal choice. But dairy is not a secret weapon. You can perform at your highest levels without it. The nutrients dairy provides can readily be obtained from other sources. On the other hand, unless you have a reason to avoid dairy products, it is worth considering the benefits of dairy. Dairy can make a contribution to your energy and nutrition goals and your post ride recovery. As an added plus, dairy products are delicious and what would life be without them.