Dairy foods such as low-fat or fat-free milk, cheese, yogurt and whey are convenient and cost-effective ways to power up with protein throughout the day. Dairy is one of the most economical sources of nutrition. Regardless of the type or variety of dairy product you choose – protein will be present.
Protein is essential in the diet on a daily basis because it is needed for growth and maintenance of muscle. Dairy’s whey protein has a natural taste and complements the flavor of the food it is added to. Whey protein is one of the best sources of naturally-occurring branched-chain amino acids, including leucine, which is unique in its ability to initiate muscle protein synthesis.
Top 5 benefits of adding whey protein to your diet:
1) Helps you maintain a healthy weight. Dairy foods that naturally contain whey protein help maintain lean tissue that burns more calories.
2) Calorie for calorie, whey protein helps you feel full longer than carbohydrates or fat.
As a result, you may reduce the extra snacking that is causing excess intake and weight gain.
3) Whey protein helps you get lean. Consuming dairy foods (such as milk, cheese, yogurt and whey protein) in combination with resistance exercise helps to restore a positive protein balance (more protein synthesis than protein breakdown) which is needed for muscle gain to occur.
4) Whey protein helps with exercise recovery. Whey protein provides the specific amino acids necessary for muscle repair and recovery after resistance training or vigorous exercise. Milk,
especially chocolate milk (because of its unique protein to carbohydrate ratio) has been shown to be an effective recovery drink for endurance activities.
5) Whey protein helps reduce loss of muscle mass. As early as age 40, we can lose muscle
mass if we don’t consume high quality protein along with adequate activity. Moderately increasing high qaulity protein consumption at each meal may help older adults retain muscle mass and thus help decrease weight gain as we age.
“…I know I should drink more milk, but I can’t. I am lactose intolerant…; It causes weight gain…; Humans weren’t meant to consume dairy…”
These and other objections are common reasons I have heard from my clients explaining why they do not consume dairy foods. Some of the information about dairy foods is frankly not been proven and is often misleading and/or inaccurate. Perhaps you have stopped consuming dairy products because of these type of fears, and would like more infomation on how you can begin to include a variety of dairy foods in your meals, Research has shown that even for someone who complains of severe lactose intolerance symptoms, they can almost always be brought up to the point of consuming three full glasses of milk per day without symptoms. The Creighton University Osteoporosis Research Center provides extensive replicable research on the health benefits of adding dairy-containing foods in your diet.
For example, the following link provides more information on lactose intolerance, and the evolution of humans consuming diary foods:
If you would like a program to help you include high quality protein foods, including dairy products, at each meal, working with a registered dietitian nutritionist can help you ensure you are meeting your needs and achieving your health goals.
Layman DK. The role of leucine in weight loss diets and glucose homeostasis [Review]. Journal of
Nutrition 2003; 133:261S-267S.
Leidy HJ, Carnell NS, Mattes RD, Campbell WW. Higher Protein intake preserves lean mass and satiety with weight loss in pre-obese and obese women. Obesity 2007; 15:421-9.
Campbell WW. Dietary protein and resistance training effects on muscle and body composition in older persons [Review]. Journal of the American College of Nutrition 2007; 26:696S-703S.
Hayes A, Cribb PJ. Effect of whey protein isolate on strength, body composition and muscle hypertrophy during resistance training. Current Opinions in Nutrition and Metabolic Care 2008; 11:40-4.
Esmarck B, et al. Timing of post exercise protein intake is important for muscle hypertrophy with resistance training in elderly humans. Journal of Physiology 2001; 535:301-11.
Houston DK et al. Dietary protein intake is associated with lean mass change in older, community-dwelling adults: the Health, Aging, and Body Composition (ABC) study.American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2008; 87:150-5.
Weigle DS, Breen PA, Matthys CC, et al. A high-protein diet induces sustained reductions in appetite, ad libitum caloric intake, and body weight despite compensatory changes in diurnal plasma leptin and ghrelin concentrations. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition2005; 82:41-48.
Val Schonberg is a Registered, Licensed Dietitian who specializes in weight management, sports nutrition, disease