Why Dairy is Bad for Endurance Athletes (Well Anyone)
Milk. It does a body good. Right?
Not so much.
Believe it or not, despite all the marketing throughout the 80s, 90s, 2000s telling us how we need milk for strong teeth, bones and for healthy growth, milk can lead to headaches, digestive problems, and even respiratory issues.
Believe it or not, milk was never responsible for that “skinny kid” becoming a muscular, tall pro athlete.
In fact, more than ever, professional athletes are actually cutting milk from their diet. Athletes such as Maya Moore and Tom Brady have stopped drinking milk altogether.
The answer is simple: To increase their efficiency as endurance athletes.
Why is Milk Bad for You?
Dairy products as a whole are simply bad for human consumption, and even worse for athletic performance.
According to Mark Hyman, MD, he advises all of his patients to stay away from dairy products. He is not alone. Doctors of the same mind, such as Walter Willet, M.D., Ph.D, who is most famously known as one of the most cited scientists in all of clinical medicine and also the head of nutrition at Harvard’s School of Public Health, are in full agreement when it comes to the consumption of dairy.
According to these doctors, here’s why.
Dairy is Not a Good Source of Calcium
First off, yes, milk has calcium. However, only a fraction of calcium in milk is absorbed by the body and used. This would have to be accompanied by magnesium for proper absorption. Milk does not have the proper balance of calcium and magnesium to result in proper absorption rates. This can result in a greater risk of fractures.
In fact, according to Nurses’ Health Study, dairy can actually increase the risk of bone fractures by over 50%. This is seen in countries where the least amount of dairy is consumed. Asia and Africa have the lowest intake of dairy products from cows, yet they have the fewest bone fractures in the world. However, countries with the largest consumption rates have the most fractures. For an endurance athlete, this is a risk not worth taking.
Dairy is Highly Inflammatory
Dairy is one of the most inflammatory foods you can consume. It causes inflammation, resulting in digestive issues such as bloating, gas, constipation, and diarrhea, as well as other symptoms including acne, and a stronger presentation of autistic behaviors. As an endurance athlete you should avoid ingesting anything that will invite inflammation into your body. Instead eat more anti inflammatory foods such as blueberries, oats, black beans, broccoli and beets.
Cheese is Highly Addictive
You heard that right. Cheese is highly addictive.
A study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine has shown that the methods used to process cheese results in a highly addictive substance. Performance athletes rely on clarity to train and compete effectively.
The culprit is the protein found in all dairy, such as milk, cheese, yogurt, and more, is known as casein. This protein reacts during the digestion process which causes it to release opiates called casomorphins.
Casomorphins affect the dopamine receptors in the human brain, resulting in addiction.
The last thing any endurance athlete should be dealing with is addiction.
Increasing Athletic Performance Through Proper Calcium Intake
A little understood fact is that meat and dairy products keep the digestive track acidic.
Calcium is needed by our cells in order to keep everything functioning properly and at our maximum peak of effectiveness. Without calcium readily absorbed from plants, our cells will simply pull the calcium from somewhere else in the body.
With high acidity through the consumption of meat and dairy, our cells will simply pull the calcium from our teeth and bones because it is readily available.
Another thing high acidity does, is prevent the oxygen present with plant-based calcium from entering our bloodstream. This lowers our blood’s overall oxygen content, and we all know how important oxygen is for endurance athletes.
In order for athletes to maximize their ability to train and compete, dairy must be done away with completely. Dairy consumption increases the risk of fractures, addiction, and decreased oxygen absorption.