In the field of sport and especially physical culture, milk is still considered a “magic” food to increase muscle anabolism.
But more and more studies show that milk is not that good for you.
So who to believe? Should we stop consuming milk? What to turn to? I will leave you with a few ideas in order to form your own idea and give you my personal advice.
Milk is considered a complete food for building muscle mass, because it contains two proteins: whey (20%) and casein (80%), the first absorbed quickly, and the second slowly. They have the advantages of containing all the essential amino acids including BCAAs (leucine, valine and isoleucine), conducive to good muscle growth.
Milk also contains growth hormones including IGF-1, which can increase insulin levels, which for athletes is appreciated after a bodybuilding session (because insulin helps rebuild stocks glycogen). However, it is shown that the IGF-1 contained in ingested milk has little influence on the level of IGF-1 in the body after digestion: it would be more directly synthesized IGF-1 inside our body after absorption of amino acids , which are found in our body when we eat dairy products.
IGF-1 does not appear to have a negative influence on our health; too low an IGF-1 level is not even recommended to maintain optimal health. At the same time, there are studies which show that too high a level of IGF-1 could be at the origin of certain cancers, but nothing really conclusive except that it is is an alarming speech aimed at nothing but frightening.
It still seems important to me to note that athletes, especially bodybuilders, have relatively better health than that of the majority of the population, due to their generally healthier diet and bodybuilding which helps to increase sensitivity to insulin. So it’s not a protein shake mixed with milk at the end of the workout that will make you diabetic, unless you take two a day with 100g of added carbohydrates.
All infants produce an enzyme, lactase, which helps digest lactose, a carbohydrate in milk. From a certain age, we are normally no longer able to produce this enzyme, which makes it impossible for an adult to digest milk. However, for some of us, our bodies have adapted and we can still drink milk without digesting problems (this is a genetic mutation). It is possible for us to continue drinking milk without worrying about digestion.
For others, drinking milk is not recommended, or we can turn to lactose-free milk. But no worries about yogurts and cheeses in any case.
Casein, accounting for 80% of the proteins in milk, is said to have the same ability as gliadin (protein associated with gluten in cereals such as wheat – see my article on gluten for more information) to promote permeability intestinal (by unbalancing the tight junctions of its wall). This is particularly noticeable in people who are gluten intolerant or / and suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), but this effect would also be found in healthy subjects, although to a lesser extent.
Intestinal permeability would be harmful to health because it would allow the installation of inflammatory diseases (MS, Crohn’s disease, etc.). However, it is now accepted that these diseases are already present in the body before they occur without the need for any stimulation whatsoever.
Having said that, people with these illnesses can find their symptoms worsened by consuming dairy products, sometimes of all types, sometimes just some, sometimes not at all. It is therefore necessary to adapt to its own case.
The link between calcium and bone fractures is poorly understood: on the one hand it is claimed that calcium prevents osteoporosis by increasing bone density, and on the other hand it is shown that the countries where one suffers the most bone fractures are the countries where we consume the most dairy products (Scandinavian countries in particular), and on the contrary where we do not consume or very little dairy products (I am thinking for example in Japan as well as other Asian countries but also in some African countries where studies have been carried out on the subject), it is here that we find the fewest fractures.
One would therefore be tempted to say that you should cut down on your dairy products if you want to keep your bones healthy. But that would be forgetting to take into account certain factors such as the fact that people living in the Nordic countries produce much less vitamin D due to the lack of exposure to beneficial UV rays, and that in addition, it is difficult to have real statistics concerning certain countries such as Asian countries, which are not subject to the same legal requirements in terms of the accuracy of the data provided.
You should know that nothing can replace sport such as weight training which strengthens and maintains muscles, bone density and tendons, and that vitamin D3 is essential. For this, all you need is moderate exposure and without sun protection during sunny days, and take a quality food supplement rich in vitamin D3 each year during non-sunny periods or take advantage of infrared light if you have access. to a lamp of this type.
The only real valid reason from my perspective to cut back on dairy products is when we are prone to acne. There it is effectively shown a causal link. This applies in particular to milk, not all dairy products, especially skimmed milk. A small glass of pasteurized whole milk from the local farm, that’s not what will make you have severe acne, let’s be clear. But if you’re used to cocoa at breakfast and a glass of milk at night before bed, you should benefit from a dietary adjustment!