Milk is one of the most controversial sources of protein on the planet. Many people swear by milk, adding it to every protein shake and power smoothie. Others insist that milk is too high in fat, hormones, and sugar to be healthy.
If your goal is weight loss, there are a few things you need to know about milk:
- Don’t want all the fat? One glass of non-fat milk contains 3.3. grams of protein (you need at least 50 grams of protein per day).
- Not a fan of cow’s milk? Sheep’s milk contains 5 grams of protein, and is easy to incorporate into your diet through cheese such feta.
- Want a tasty dessert? Both condensed milk and evaporated milk contain 8 grams of protein (they’re great in a delicious Tres Leches cake.)
- Milk also contains a lot of other vital minerals like potassium, calcium and vitamins like Vitamin D and A, all of which are essential to our body’s growth and development. This is why bodybuilders and other athletes often mix high-protein-shakes with low-fat milk.
But this page is all about the amount of proteins in milk, so here’s a table to show you the protein content of your favorite types of milk:
As you can see, milk is a pretty great source of proteins. The protein in milk is high quality protein, one of two types:
Whey — Only 20% of the protein in regular milk comes from whey. Whey protein is a fast-acting form of amino acids that are easily digested and put to use. It has the highest biological value, meaning your body can use more of the whey amino acids than any other protein. It’s an excellent source of leucine, one of the three essential amino acids needed for muscle growth.
Casein — Roughly 80% of the protein in milk is casein protein. Casein is a slower-acting protein, meaning it takes longer for your body to absorb, process, and distribute the protein. This can be a good thing, as it provides a steady supply of amino acids for your body to make repairs all day or all night long.
The beauty of milk: it combines both whey and casein protein. A single glass of milk will give you a dose of quick-acting amino acids, delivering the protein straight to your muscles and tissues for immediate repairs. Even as your body begins the repairs, it continues to break down the slower-acting casein protein, giving you a steady stream of energy for hours.
The human body can only use a certain amount of protein at a time. If you consume too much protein too quickly, your body has to stockpile it for later. This usually leads to the protein being turned into carbs, which are ultimately turned into fats for storage. Milk contains enough protein to start working immediately, but the amino acids will be slowly digested to ensure that the protein doesn’t get turned into fat.
Yes, your average cup of milk is fairly high in both sugar and fat. Cow’s milk is higher in fat than goat and sheep’s milk, which is why skim and low-fat milk are both popular options. However, the fat in the milk is actually good for you. It signals to your body that you’re getting enough fat in your diet, so it doesn’t need to cling to calories in case of “starvation”. The fat content will trigger fat burning, and the amino acids in the milk will deliver the proteins needed to repair and expand your muscles. Milk can be a fitness trainee’s best friend!