Growing up, milk and cookies might have been your favorite bedtime snack, but you probably didn’t want your friends to see you drink the white stuff in high school or college. However, as an adult, you may want to reconsider, especially if you would like to shed a few pounds.
Scientists say milk might be a good addition to your diet if you’re trying to maintain your health and feel less hungry while you’re losing weight. According to a 2013 review in Nutrition & Metabolism, foods high in protein like milk can help you reduce your appetite more than non-dairy proteins like soy. Researchers believe that the amino acids in milk could affect hormones like GLP-1, CCK, and PYY that influence your hunger and feelings of fullness.
Milk could also help keep your metabolism revved up as you lose. When you begin to see the numbers on your scale drop, it’s possible that you could also be losing muscle as well as fat. Losing muscle can mean a slower metabolism, meaning you could see the weight returning. The whey protein in milk can help you preserve muscle mass while you lose fat.
But, what is the best time to drink milk to help with weight loss? While you don’t need to drink milk at every meal to help preserve muscle, drinking it after a strong workout will help your body build muscle while losing fat, according to Healthline.
After a workout is the best time to drink milk
Your body uses protein most efficiently after your workout because that’s when your body is seeking to build and repair muscle, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Protein quickly goes to work in synthesizing new muscle tissue to make you stronger. This anabolic window remains open for about two hours after your workout. That’s why it’s helpful to drink high-quality protein like milk to help with muscle protein synthesis, according to a 2017 article in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.
It’s no secret that muscle mass burns more calories than fat, even when you’re not exercising. However, simply drinking milk won’t cause you to lose weight. Incorporating strength training into your weight loss plan will enhance your muscle mass and improve your metabolic health. Drinking milk to support your exercise recovery while also moderately restricting calories will help improve your body composition, according to the 2013 review in Nutrition & Metabolism.
Milk can support a healthy weight loss plan
Milk can be a healthy addition to your weight loss diet. One cup of low-fat milk has 106 calories, 8 grams of protein, and 2 grams of fat. Most of the sugar in milk comes from lactose. Store-bought milk is often fortified with vitamins A and D, but it’s also rich in B vitamins and calcium.
Yet there’s something about milk that can support a weight loss plan above others. A 2011 study in Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases looked at how drinking milk can be part of a reduced-calorie diet. Women who were overweight were separated into four groups: one that drank three servings of milk per day, a second that drank three servings of calcium-fortified soy milk, a third that took an 800-milligram calcium supplement, and the fourth group serving as a control. Although all the women lost weight after eight weeks, the woman drinking milk three times a day saw the most weight loss and improvement in body composition.