While many consumers view dairy as a mere calcium-supplier, a growing body of research shows dairy ingredients also provide a variety of benefits for athletes and people practicing physical activity. Dairy provides the body with carbohydrates for energy, protein for building muscle, and plenty of vitamins and minerals for strengthening bones and replacing electrolytes during heavy exercise, making it a staple ingredient in an athlete's diet.
"Dairy Ingredients in Sports Nutrition," a free Digital Issue from Food Product Design, includes comments from industry experts on how major proteins found in dairy can help athletes build muscle while also aiding in weight loss or maintenance. The dairy proteins whey and casein play different, yet equally important roles for enhancing muscle-protein synthesis, and high-quality dairy proteins can increase satiety while preserving muscle mass during periods of calorie restriction. Whey protein is also rich in amino acids, while milk, casein and other dairy products contain leucine for regulating protein synthesis.
The vitamins and minerals offered through dairy products also provide essential nutrients for sports performance and overall health. Calcium, vitamin D, magnesium and potassium all play a role in bone health and/or muscle function, but athletes tend to fall short of meeting these nutrient requirements. Dairy products contain all four nutrients, helping Americans properly nourish their bodies when training for a sport or just hitting the gym for extra physical activity.
Milk and other dairy ingredients offer complete proteins, simple and complex carbohydrates, glycoproteins, and vitamins and minerals for athletes in need of a nutritional boost. When it comes to improving performance and recovering from intense training sessions, dairy ingredients should not be overlooked within the sports nutrition sector.