12 Dec 2012
In these times of austerity, not many of us have money to throw around on expensive sports supplements, so I thought I’d save you money by telling you which recovery products you should be buying. I decided to compare the nutritional content and prices of milk, flavoured milk, milk shakes and commercial recovery drinks. The winners were clear but I was more than a little surprised by the results.
Milk may seem a little ordinary next to the huge array of commercial recovery products on offer but actually the science leans in milk’s favour. It appears to do just about everything – aid muscle growth, promote muscle repair, reduce muscle soreness and rehydrate the body – after both resistance and endurance exercise, in men as well as women. Compared with traditional sports drinks, 500ml milk consumed after training produces greater gains in muscle mass and strength as well as a greater aerobic capacity, and reduced body fat levels (Cockburn et al, 2012, Ferguson-Stegall et al, 2011; Josse, 2010; Elliot, 2006; Hartman et al, 2007; Wilkinson, 2007; Karp et al, 2006). It also rehydrates you as well as if not better than isotonic sports drinks (Shireffs et al, 2007).
In short, milk helps you recover faster and perform better in your next workout. A 2008 study by researchers at Northumbria University found that athletes who drank 500 ml of semi skimmed milk or chocolate milk immediately after training had less muscle soreness and more rapid muscle recovery compared with commercial sports drinks or water (Cockburn et al, 2008).
What’s more, a 2009 study from James Madison University, US, found that football players who drank chocolate flavoured milk after training had less muscle damage and faster muscle recovery compared with those who consumed a sports drink (Gilson et al, 2009).
Just how milk benefits muscle isn’t clear but it is thought that specific amino acids, such as leucine, alter protein metabolism in the muscle and promote training adaptations. The key is to get 15- 25g protein after training and in each meal. The good news is that you can get all this from milk or any brand of flavoured milk – at a fraction of the cost of any commercial recovery drink.
The winners = Milk; Nesquik, supermarket own brands, Yazoo
The losers = commercial recovery drinks
Take home message: Shun commercial recovery drinks – they contain the same amount of carbs and protein as flavoured milk but are a staggering 6 times more expensive. The heavily promoted ‘For Goodness Shakes’ looks superior to milk but, in fact, contains the same ingredients as flavoured milk (with some added vitamins and minerals) but is 3 times more expensive. (You can get your vits and mins from real food or from a separate less expensive supplement). Save your money!
|Product||Price/ 500ml||Protein, g/ 500ml||Carbohydrate, g/ 500ml||Calories/ 500ml|
|Semi skimmed milk||45p||17||25||245|
|Nesquik made with semi skimmed milk||60p||18||60||392|
|Tesco chocolate flavoured milk||61p||21||54||375|
|Yazoo chocolate flavour milk drink||60 – 90p||17||50||325|
|Lucozade Recovery drink||£2||18||55||360|
|For Goodness Shakes||£2.10||17||52||325|
|PhD Nutrition Recovery||£3.20||30||60||370|
|SIS REGO Recovery||£2.10 – £3.60||32||56||368|
Ferguson-Stegall L et al (2011) Aerobic exercise training adaptations are increased by postexercise carbohydrate-protein supplementation. J Nutr Metab. Epub 2011 Jun 9Karp JR, Johnston JD, Tecklenburg S, Mickleborough TD, Fly AD, Stager JM. ‘Chocolate Milk as a Post-Exercise Recovery Aid’ (2006) International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. 16. 78-91.
Shirreffs SM, Watson P, Maughan RJ.(2007) ‘Milk as an effective post-exercise rehydration drink’. British Journal of Nutrition 1-8. 2007.
Cockburn, E. ,et al (2008) ‘Acute milk-based protein-CHO supplementation attenuates exercise-induced muscle damage.’ Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. Aug;33(4):775-83.
Cockburn E, Robson-Ansley P, Hayes PR, Stevenson E (2012) ‘Effect of volume of milk consumed on the attenuation of exercise-induced muscle damage.,’ Eur J Appl Physiol. Jan 7. [Epub ahead of print]
Josse A.R. et al (2010), ‘Body composition and strength changes in women with milk and resistance exercise’, Med Sci Sports Exerc. Vol 42(6) pp1122-30.
Elliot, T.A. et al (2006), ‘Milk ingestion stimulates net muscle protein synthesis following restistance exercise,’ Med Sci Sports Exerc vol 38 (4) pp667 – 74.
Hartman J.W. et al (2007), ‘Consumption of fat-free fluid milk after resistance exercise promotes greater lean mass accretion than does consumption of soy or carbohydrate in young, novice, male weightlifters’, Am J Clin Nutr. Vol 86(2) pp373-81.
Wilkinson, S.B (et al (2007), ‘Consumption of fluid skim milk promotes greater protein accretion after resistance exercise than does consumption of an isonitrogenous and isoenergetic soy-protein beverage,’ Am J Clin Nutr, vol 85 (4), pp1031 – 40.
Gilson S.F. et al. (2009) Effects of chocolate milk consumption on markers of muscle recovery during intensified soccer training. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise; 41:S577