Friday, January 22, 2016

Is Drinking Milk Or Eating Beef Better For Recovery After Exercise?

Picture by Steve p2008 from Flickr
After your workout, is drinking milk better or eating beef better for recovery? Make a quick guess before you read on.

That was the basic question the authors wanted to find out. The impact of beef and milk as a protein source as a post workout meal.

Here's what made this study unique and interesting.The researchers injected a cow with amino acids specially labelled with a rare isotope of carbon. After that they milked the cow and had it slaughtered to produce meat. The researchers then used the specially labelled milk and meat to feed the subjects in their trial.

This allowed the researchers to track where the protein went through muscle biopsies after the subjects did a strength training session.

The subjects consume 30 grams of protein from either 350 ml of skim milk or 158 grams of ground beef. Rate of protein synthesis (how quickly your body is building new muscle) were as follows.

Picture from Am J of Clinical Nutrition

Milk clearly has the edge two hours after working out. However, after five hours, the rates of protein synthesis were similar.

Other than using the same cow for both milk and beef, this study differs from previous studies as soy protein or whey powder is commonly used in other studies.

The researchers suggested that there may be larger differences between milk and meat if the amount of protein consumed were smaller. 

Personally I would like to know if other kinds of protein such as eggs, chicken or other vegetable proteins will produce different results.


Burd NA, Hamer HM et al (2013). Substiatial Differences Between Organ And Muscle Specific Tracer Incorporation Rates In A Lactating Dairy Cow. Plos One. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0068109.

Burd NA, Gorissen SH et al (2015). Differences In Postprandial Protein Handling After Beef Compared With Milk Ingestion During Postexercise Recovery: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 102(4) 828-836. DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.114.103184.

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