A new study suggests that milk-based products rehydrate with greater efficiency than beverages custom-designed for the task

Milk-based beverages can be more effective than traditional sports drinks at replacing fluid lost during exercise, according to a study by Griffith University, one of Australia’s leading sports universities.

The study compared the rehydration potential of different milk-based drinks to a carbohydrate-electrolyte beverage. It claims that Pauls brand full cream milk, So Good brand soy milk, Nestle milk-based liquid meal supplement and Sustagen Sport, were more effective rehydration options than Powerade.

The research, which is published in the Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, observed 15 “recreationally active” men, who had to ride stationary bikes in heavy clothing to encourage sweat loss.

Each participant cycled at 70 to 80 per cent of their age-predicted maximum heart rate, until 1.8 per cent of their initial body mass was lost. They then had to consume one of the four beverages, in volumes equivalent to 150 per cent of their body mass loss, over the course of an hour. Blood and urine samples were then taken and body mass and gastrointestinal tolerance was measured over a four-hour resting period.

While the milk-based products had no impact on thirst, research did discover that the net body mass was “significantly less” in participants that drank Powerade.

The researchers believe this “superior fluid recovery” experienced by those who drank Sustagen Sport was attributed to the product’s “additional energy, protein and sodium”, which are components that have previously demonstrated a capacity to positively influence post-exercise fluid retention.

However, those that consumed milk and Sustagen Sport reported bloating and fullness more than the traditional sport drink.

The study concluded that this investigation further demonstrates the capacity of commercially available milk-based beverages to enhance the replacement of lost fluid following exercise, in comparison with carbohydrate-electrolyte drinks.

It’s worth noting that new research has indicated that dehydration doesn’t have as much of an impact on performance as previously thought. However, it’s very important we replace the fluid we have lost, to keep the body’s core temperature at its optimum, and avoid overheating.

More research is needed to see just how much of an impact certain milk products have on rehydration and whether the body is utilising such fluids or instead, just storing them. But milk is still a very effective drink to have after cycling, as it’s high in protein and will help initiate the recovery process.

  • baljeetd

    This is total BS “science”! Enormous conclusions from a ridiculously narrow and flawed “experiment” e.g. replace milk with sawdust – the conclusion would be that sawdust hydrates better than powerade! Holding onto weight is not hydration!

    Readers would be wise to google “is milk healthy” … and follow the ever-growing numbers of people ditching milk. The mis-truths about milk have been pushed out for so long and so deeply that many have become deeply brainwashed.

    For your own health, take an objective look at information from both sides, especially at the latest science. And remember that the milk industry has enormous money and power – they have the motivation and ability to mislead you.

  • Anthony Bowles

    I can only add that on the return leg of a February reliability run I got the bonk a mere 8miles from HQ. A pint of fresh milk, bottled full fat gave me a tremendous boost, so much so I felt as fresh as the milk when I made it back. It is not often I have had an energy rush after getting the bonk but this one will be long remembered!

  • yenrod

    I don’t eat much animal – animal bulks you out and fills up your veins with crap… You CAN survive on fruit and maize and rice etc…just like Kenyans and look how healthy they are! #stayawayfrommassproduced

  • Gavin

    Totally agree. I’m studying a bachelor of medical sciences and found the methodology described in this article to be frighteningly devoid of “science.” And yes, they did ignore a lot of variables, even seem to reject some of their own findings.

    They’ve taken to leaving out the blood work, and went on to place in their guesses to surmise a point.

    This highlights why a lot of companies don’t view griffith degrees as employment worthy

  • Gavin

    I hope you’re not serious Yenrod. If you are you must survive on a purely cannibalistic diet…

  • yenrod

    Because a cows not human! You have more luck with a pigs milk! #same’ishdna

  • Zaman Agha

    I work in the dairy industry so this post kind of grabbed my attention. Something needing noted is that milk can be bought as non-homogenized, pasteurized, separated, and so on. It is worthy asking if the information you are posting here is from a study that has used milk as the grocery stores typically sell, and thus, it’s fair to argue that that isn’t truly “milk”.

    You see, we can make the same type of vague deduction of virtually any experiments if we ignore enough of the variables associated with each study. I contend that raw or gently pasteurized milk might be much better for us for the sake of taking it more naturally. (I doubt our moms homogenized milk before putting it in a bottle. Whole subject there as well) However, I don’t think raw is safe for everyone due to inexperience.

    I believe that our stomach’s development is respective to our diet during childhood and up. Therefore, people who suddenly start drinking raw milk are possibly vulnerable to severe issues. Such people are possibly void of the “good bugs” specificly adapted to digesting such milk. I’m saying this because I and many others, have consumed thousands of gallons of milk on family operated farms and I can’t say that I noticed a trend of toxin laden folks.

    Sure, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing but is it really necessary to deem milk toxic? Did your mom put “kool-aid” in your bottle to protect you from her toxins?

    To sum it up, results of many good food vs. bad food issue studies are seemingly accepted at face value. Hoards of people stamp thier tickets for the proverbial train and have virtually no solid understanding of the core or root of the issue. It’s time for the media to stop hyping up people’s perception of a matter. If we want people to be healthy let’s attack video games, alcoholic beverages, and Hollywood before we pick on food.

    I gotta say, it was quite ironic seeing a video about said “bad milk” and the guy who was dedicating his life to spread his message on the video, was visibly out of shape and overweight.

    Now… for a glass of milk.

  • Gavin

    Interesting, can you explain your thoughts, in relation to metabolism etc (chemical, not digestive)

  • Basil Seal

    I think they might have removed it because you’re talking bollocks Vance old boy.

  • Vance Harvey

    As I noted in an earlier post which seems to have been removed, milk is Toxic, as is all dairy, and poisons the body, so would be bad to use!

  • disqus_xME5Y5XSW1

    What is “Powerade”? Surely water would have been a more useful reference?