New Studies Evaluate Milk Protein Benefits

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( — December 6, 2016) — When milk makes the news, it’s never clear what side experts will come down on. “Drink milk for bone strength.” “Don’t put milk in tea or it will cancel out antioxidant effects.” “Drink milk for weight loss.” Doctors have taken dozens of positions on milk, so what’s the latest on this popular food? By honing in on the protein components of milk, doctors have been able to identify where the primary benefits of milk are isolated and help more people enjoy the positive effects.

A Look At Milk Proteins

Milk is an excellent source of protein because it contains several kinds, primarily whey and several types of beta-casein – primarily those referred to as A1 and A2 casein. Whey has been widely popularized as a component of protein beverages that many people use to bulk up after workouts, while fewer people are educated on the role of casein in our diets. 

Interestingly, many people who think they are lactose intolerant and deprive themselves of the benefits of milk are actually sensitive to A1 casein. A1 casein is a more recent development in dairy farming, as dairy cows originally only produced A2 casein. This natural intolerance can be sidestepped by using targeted dairy products, such as whey specific products, allowing these individuals to enjoy the benefits of milk again.

Proteins In Isolation

So what are these mysterious benefits of dairy? It depends on what your goals are, but there are many. One study, for example, demonstrated that people with low- or pre-hypertension who consumed smoothies with either whey or casein in them for eight week periods – it didn’t matter which protein – demonstrated improved cardiovascular health and decreased cholesterol compared to those who drank smoothies with no protein in them. None of the subjects made other significant dietary changes.

Protein consumption is also a major concern among aging populations, with older individuals often having a more difficult time absorbing protein, which can result in reduced muscle mass. Since whey protein is easily degraded, it’s an ideal protein for older individuals, helping them maintain their strength over time.

Although fitness-focused individuals have a high affinity for whey protein products, others should be inquiring into the value of micellar casein. Micellar casein comes from putting milk through an ultrafiltration process, which also separates out the native whey. Ultrafiltration offers us highly refined, concentrated, yet largely unprocessed dairy proteins.

When it comes to fitness, consuming micellar casein post-workout can support the body as it rebuilds broken down muscle. Micellar casein also contains high quantities of bioavailable calcium, meaning that the body more readily absorbs the calcium. Poor bioavailability is a major problem with macronutrients, so finding foods that offer them in high concentrations can be very valuable in fighting malnutrition.

At the end of the day, the general consensus medical consensus seems to be that milk is good for us – in certain ways. By isolating dairy proteins, however, we can better experience those benefits without the harmful aspects of milk, such as high fat and calorie content or inflammatory reactions.