Adding extra whey protein to your diet had a number of benefits that have been well documented in a number of studies throughout the years. Adding this extra whey protein helps your body synthesise protein which, in turn, is good for recovery and muscle building. Many consume whey protein in the form of shakes, but is it best to mix the protein powder with milk or with water? We’ve done the research so you don’t have to. Let’s take a closer look:
Mixing Whey Protein Powder with Water – Is It Best?
If you are looking for your protein to be absorbed fast into the body, mixing with water is the best choice. This benefits the body as when your body absorbs protein, it can begin to repair muscles after a heavy workout. Whey protein powered mixed with water is absorbed far quicker than other liquids and is a far more convenient option as it is easily accessible at any gym, home or workout place.
Additionally, water contains zero calories, so is a perfect choice if you are cutting down on your calorie intake. Water can also last longer if you are transporting your protein shake and does not go off. It can be consumed ice cold or lukewarm and is a more affordable option if you are on a tight budget.
Mixing Whey Protein Powder with Milk – Is It Best?
For those who eat animal products, the most popular choice to drink with protein is cow’s milk. One of the reasons for this is that cow’s milk mixed with whey protein powder has a better taste and a creamier texture, making it easier to drink compared to water-based shakes that are thinner.
Milk also has a number of additional health benefits that are an advantage to your training routine. It contains casein, a type of protein that aids muscle growth, decreases hunger levels and has peptides that have been known to decrease blood pressure. It contains a number of vitamins and minerals including potassium, vitamin A, phosphorus, vitamin B12, vitamin A and riboflavin, each of which has a number of different health benefits.
But milk does not just give you extra protein, it also has increased levels of both carbohydrates and fat compared to water. For example, if we look at whole milk, adding 200 grams of this to your protein will lead to an extra 130 calories in total, 10g of carbohydrates and 7g of fat, which you will need to then factor into your diet. For those who are looking to bulk and build mass and muscle, adding milk to protein is a great way to do this without feeling like you are eating too much. If, however, you are trying to shed weight and develop lean muscle, milk may not be a good option as you are wasting calories – especially if you are consuming more than one protein shake a day as this adds thousands of calories per week.
High levels of calcium are also found in milk. Calcium is great for helping strengthen teeth and bones. This is an advantage for those looking to build muscle, particularly bodybuilders and weightlifters as strengthening the skeleton can help support these muscles. Calcium also has a number of additional benefits including helping regulate muscle contractions, lowering blood pressure and improving cholesterol.
A downside of using cow’s milk to mix with your protein is that it takes longer to absorb than water. This is because casein, which makes up around 80% of the protein found in milk, is a slow absorbing protein. This means that your body won’t recover as quickly as when the protein is mixed with water.
Milk Options For Those With Lactose Intolerance
If you are looking for an alternative to mixing your whey protein powder with water, but are lactose intolerant or vegan, there are a number of alternatives to cow’s milk. These are also more ethical options if you are concerned about the ethical implications of cow’s milk. It is important to note, however, that many of the alternatives do not share the same benefits that cow’s milk does. While many may look towards soy milk, there are some documented negative hormonal effects, so this is best to be avoided.
Instead, almond milk is a popular choice for taste, but it does not have similar calcium levels to cow’s milk so you will need to source calcium elsewhere. Another popular alternative for vegetarians, vegans or those with lactose intolerance is soy milk. Soy milk has some fibre in it and it is seen as a good healthy option.
If you are selecting any milk alternatives, it is important to ensure that you are getting the benefits of milk, that you don’t get from these alternatives from other sources. This includes calcium, potassium, vitamin A and vitamin B12.
Mixing Whey Protein - Milk Vs Water: The Take-Away
Now that we’ve seen the benefits of using both milk and water with whey protein, it is clear that there is no one winner. The better choice for you depends on your individual goals and what you are hoping to achieve long term. If you are looking to reduce bloating, absorb your protein quickly and cut calories then water is the better option. Alternatively, if you are looking for protein mixer that will absorb over a longer period of time, and to boost your calorie intake, then milk may be better.
If you prefer the texture of protein shakes with milk, but are looking for fewer calories, then consider the type of milk that you are using as each type has a different fat percentage. The higher the fat, the more calories in the milk. Whole milk has the highest fat percentage at around 3.5%, semi-skimmed has around 2% while skimmed milk has below 0.3% fat. No matter what you mix your protein with, you are already on the correct track to a healthy diet and transforming your body. Keep working hard.