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August 25th, 2007

A host of top athletes have hailed the recovery powers of milk on the back of two new pieces of groundbreaking research.

Champion decathlete Dean Macey, Olympic sprinter Marlon Devonish and long jumper Greg Rutherford were all quick to celebrate the news that milk may promote better recovery after exercise than both water and isotonic sports drinks.

The key new study, conducted by Loughborough University and published in the British Journal of Nutrition, indicated that milk is significantly more effective than water or isotonic drinks at re-hydration after training.
And it’s more good news for dairy as a second study, which was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition this month, also backed milk as a post-exercise drink.

This study suggested that milk can help increase muscle size and strength, whilst reducing body fat.  Several other studies have also noted milk’s positive effects on exercise and recovery, while athletes and sports teams are already experiencing the benefits by consuming milk after training.

Dean Macey said: “I can’t say it comes as a huge surprise to me that this research says milk is the best thing for athletes, it makes perfect sense. If you want a great, natural drink to help performance then it’s got to contain milk every time.”

Olympic gold medallist Marlon Devonish added: “I use milk on my cereal everyday. After hearing that it aids recovery, I will certainly incorporate it as part of my training and recovery for the future.”

Long jumper Greg Rutherford said: “I have drunk milk for a long time and have found that it helps me recover after hard training sessions. It aids my recovery and replenishes lost nutrients.

“Now that I know that it is proven to have these effects, I will be drinking a lot more of it. There are many isotonic drinks out there and it can be very difficult to choose the best one because they all claim to have huge benefits. Milk is the most natural and easy to get hold of.”

The research, which was funded by the Milk Development Council, tested the effectiveness of skimmed milk versus water and isotonic sports drinks to re-hydrate the body after exercise.

Loughborough University researcher Dr Susan M Shirreffs, who is based at the School of Sport Exercise Sciences and conducted the research, said: “The results of the study are really exciting as they show that skimmed milk produces a significant improvement in re-hydration compared to the other drinks evaluated in the study. As dehydration can have an impact on performance, it’s essential to re-hydrate in preparation for subsequent exercise in order to help maximise one’s abilities.”

Dr Judith Bryans, Director of The Dairy Council, said: “This study joins the growing volume of literature which suggests that skimmed milk is a natural and effective post exercise recovery aid. Drinking milk is not only a valuable way to re-hydrate the body but also provides an excellent source of energy, protein and a vast array of different vitamins and minerals essential to the good health of hardworking sportspeople and the population as a whole.”

Many sportspeople suffer some dehydration throughout tournament type exercise as more fluids can be lost, mostly through perspiration, than can easily be replaced between consecutive exercise sessions. Even mild dehydration can compromise performance and have major repercussions during competition.

For further information relating to dairy research or for nutrition advice relating to dairy, please visit, or contact The Dairy Council at or on 0207 395 4030.

Visit for more information and to download the full research report.

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