In the fitness industry, it has long been believed that consuming milk, and other dairy products, will lead to gains in weight. However, according to an ongoing study by researchers at the McMaster University, consuming milk may actually assist with fat loss. The study, which was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, was lead by Stuart Phillips from the Department of Kinesiology’s Exercise Metabolism Research Group.

Phillips and his team split 56 men between the ages of 18-30 years old into 3 groups. Each group was required to perform a rigorous weightlifting program 5 times per week for a period of 12 weeks. The only difference between each group was that they consumed a different beverage post-workout. The groups were either required to drink two cups of skim milk, a soy beverage with the equivalent amounts of energy and protein, or a carbohydrate beverage (similar to a sports drink) with an equivalent amount of energy.

After the 12 week training regimen, researchers found that the group who consumed the post-workout milk had lost almost double the amount of body fat (approximately 2 pounds) when compared to the carbohydrate drink group (approximately 1 pound). The group who drank the soy beverage lost no fat at all.
Besides losing more fat, the group who drank the milk also gained a much greater amount of muscle mass than the carbohydrate and soy drinkers. In the first phase of the study, the group who drank milk gained roughly 40%, or 2.5 pounds, more muscle mass than the soy drinkers and roughly 63%, or 3.3 pounds, more than the carbohydrate group.

Phillips stated, "The loss of fat mass, while expected, was much larger than we thought it would be. I think the practical implications of these results are obvious: if you want to gain muscle and lose fat as a result of working out, drink milk". Phillips went on to say, "Milk may be best known for its calcium content in supporting bone health, but our research, and that of others, continually supports milk’s ability to aid in muscle growth and also promote body fat loss. To my mind -- with milk being a source of nine essential nutrients -- it’s a no brainer: milk is the ideal post-workout drink for recreational exercisers and athletes alike."

In the ongoing phases of this experiment, Phillips and his team will set out to focus on the components of milk which may be responsible for the effects observed in their previous findings.

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