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Whey Protein & Skim Milk

By ShandyTorain, RD

Whey protein and skim milk can be integral parts of a balanced diet for many individuals including athletes and the novice exerciser. Skim milk provides vital nutrients while whey protein is a concentrated source of essential protein requirements. Whey protein originates from milk and is a concentrated source of the protein found in dairy products.

Skim Milk

Skim milk has several health benefits including providing vitamins A and D along with calcium, phosphorus and protein. Vitamin D helps regulate phosphorus and calcium absorption in the body and promote bone health, according to the American Dietetics Association. Skim milk can be both an excellent pre-workout and post-workout meal for individuals who tolerate it well. It contains both carbohydrates and protein which are excellent for fueling the body before workouts and aiding in recovery after workouts. The protein found in milk is known as complete protein because it supplies the body with all the essential amino acids it needs to properly use and assimilate proteins and tissue repair within the body. Most individuals require between 1,000 and 1,300 mg of calcium per day. One cup of skim milk provides approximately 302 mg per serving or roughly one-third of an individual's daily calcium requirements.

Whey Protein Production

After the farmer receives milk from the cattle, the milk is refrigerated and pasteurized. After this process takes place, the milk can either be sold or it can be used to make cheese. A renneting agent is added to the milk to form curd. The whey protein is extracted from the curds by an ultra-filtration process to produce a dried protein powder. Both the fat and the lactose is removed to form the final product: whey protein. Therefore, individuals who have problems digesting lactose can usually take whey protein without any problems.

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Using Whey Protein

Whey protein is a convenient form of protein because it is portable and can be added to foods such as smoothies, yogurt and oatmeal. It provides the body with protein without having to cook or prepare a protein source. Most servings of whey protein provide between 15 and 35 g of protein per serving.

Combining Skim Milk and Whey Protein

Skim milk and whey protein can be used on a daily basis to meet Vitamin D, calcium, phosphorus and protein requirements. They can even be paired together in a nutritious shake or eaten along with an additional carbohydrate source such as whole grains or fruit to provide healthy pre-workout or post-workout meals or snacks.

Daily Protein Recommendations

The Recommended Daily Allowance -- or RDA -- varies based on the individual. The average individual requires 0.8 g of protein per kilogram of body weight. The endurance exerciser requires 1.2 to 1.4 g of protein per kilogram of body weight and the strength athlete requires 1.4 to 1.7 g of protein per kilogram of body weight, according to the American Dietetics Association. Ideally, individuals will ingest both a good source of carbohydrates and protein within one hour after a workout for optimal recovery and tissue repair. Therefore, both whey protein and skim milk can be convenient post-workout protein sources.

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