Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Aaron Rodgers Apparently Does Not "Got Milk"

By: Andrew Jagim

I have heard a lot of rumors circulating lately that Aaron Rodgers has recently given up milk. In most states/professional organizations this sort of thing probably wouldn't even make the news....but when you play for the Green Bay Packers in the heart of Wisconsin aka Dairy Capitol of the World, this is earth shattering news and almost as painful as watching Brandon Bostick trying to recover a kickoff; Too soon?

Anyways, you may be wondering why someone who trains at such a high level and whose professional career is determined by how he performs would give up such a high quality source of nutrition? (At least that's what the USDA and the American Dairy Association tells us). The truth is, Milk or any dairy products for that matter, may not be everyone.  There is often a lot of controversy when it comes to milk and whether or not we should even drink it in the first place and whether or not it actually: "Does our bodies good..."

The Dark Side of Milk
Believe it or not, the majority of the world's population was not designed to consume milk (from cows).  In fact, some reports estimate that approximately 65% of the world is classified as lactose intolerant which means they lack the enzyme lactase that aids in the digestion of one of the primary milk-derived sugars, lactose.  Without this enzyme, lactose will go undigested throughout the GI tract where it will ferment and create unpleasant digestive symptoms which most commonly include: bloating, gas, cramping and diarrhea.  Luckily, for those in the upper Midwest (Because of our Western European descent), we actually live in one of the few pockets of the world that seem to be able to effectively digest lactose and therefore don't seem to have many issues with milk. 

At the same time, there are also reports that certain constituents in dairy, whether it be the sugars, proteins or byproducts may be associated with other detrimental health outcomes. There are published reports of dairy being one of the more common food allergies. In addition, dairy consumption has been linked to higher incidence of cancer, auto-immune conditions and systemic inflammation. However, these are really just associations and most of them have only been established in animal models.

The Upside of Milk
For all of the negative attention that surrounds milk there is just as much (if not more) positive benefits to regularly consuming milk. Bovine milk (from cows) gives us two of the highest quality proteins available to us: whey and casein.  Both of these proteins have been shown to be high quality protein options that are highly bioavailable and offer different benefits in regards to how fast and long they can help stimulate muscle growth. Hundreds of publications (in humans) have shown that milk can help increase bone mineral density, stimulate muscle growth, improve recovery and even help improve body composition.  In particular, there seems to be a lot of support for the use of chocolate milk following training/competition as it has a great ratio of carbohydrates to protein, provides a good source of fluids and tastes amazing.

All in all, milk may serve as a great nutritional source for a lot of people. It is a good source of liquid calories (for those on a high calorie diet), a good source of protein, carbohydrates, fluid, calcium and often times Vitamin D.

With that being said, not everyone will be able to tolerate dairy/milk and with certain individuals it will definitely do more harm than good.  By now you are likely aware of whether or not you have issues digesting dairy whether it be a simple lactose intolerance, which in that case choosing lactaid products (the enzyme you lack has been added) or a more severe food sensitivity/allergy. If it's the latter , you are likely better off avoiding dairy products in all together, which isn't fun for anyone however you may feel better opting for coconut or almond milk-based products instead.

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