Dairy Alternatives for Bodybuilders

It’s no debate milk is a great way to build muscle. Have you heard that chocolate milk is being marketed as the new athlete’s recovery drink? Can post more on that later if you’re interested…

But what happens when you’re lactose or dairy intolerant or allergic?

How do dairy alternatives line up?

Milks and MacrosCaloriesFatSaturated FatCarbsSugarsProtein
Milk, skim830013138
Milk, 1%10221.513138
Milk, 2%1225312128
Soymilk, light601.50536
Soymilk, original1104.50.5968
Cashew, original602.50971
Cashew, unsweetened2520011
Coconut milk beverage, original704.54870
Coconut milk beverage, unsweetened454.54200
Almond, unsweetened302.50101
Almond, original602.50871
Almond, 5x Protein,unsweetened4020105
Hemp, original8050.5762
Hemp, unsweetened6050.5102
Rice, original1202.5023101
Rice, unsweetened702.501110

Soy

**Don’t avoid soy. For people who avoid soy milk because it has been shown to lower testosterone levels and increase estrogen levels consider how long these studies were conducted and how much soy milk the person had to consume in order to actually have an affect. (Ex. One article on bodybuilding.com was bashing on soy milk which led me to read the published study. The subjects were asked to drink 20oz a day for 14 days? I don’t know about you but I don’t think the average person drinks that much consistently…)

Pros:

  • High Protein
  • No/Low saturated fat

Cons:

  • Less Leucine, so not as effective as Whey for body building, but very comparable
  • Linked to increase estrogen levels and lower testosterone levels

Almond

Pros:

  • No saturated fat
  • Low Calorie

Cons:

  • Probably contains carrageenan, an emulsifier with harmful effects on the body
  • Low nutritional value* Studies show only about 1 almond is actually used to make a carton. The rest is water.
  • Low Protein

Cashew

Pros:

  • No saturated fat
  • Low Calorie

Cons:

  • Low nutritional value* Watered down
  • Low Protein

Coconut

Pros:

  • Contain MCFAs which are thought to increase metabolism. (Check out my Diet Myths: Coconut oils post for more MCFA information!)

Cons:

  • Low Protein

Hemp

Pros:

  • Highest Omega-3 than any other alternatives
  • Nut, dairy, soy, and gluten free

Cons:

  • Low Protein

Rice

Pros:

  • Nut, dairy, soy, and gluten free
  • No saturated fat

Cons:

  • Low Protein
  • High Carb

In conclusion, drink what you want to drink specific to your goals. Milk is still going to be the best dairy source for bodybuilders, but consider switching it up with the 5x protein almond milk or soy every once in a while. Remember kids, nothing is bad for you in moderation….except for drugs!

References:

Kraemer, W. J., Solomon-Hill, G., Volk, B. M., Kupchak, B. R., Looney, D. P., Dunn-Lewis, C., … & Volek, J. S. (2013). The effects of soy and whey protein supplementation on acute hormonal responses to resistance exercise in men. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 32(1), 66-74.

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/the-best-cows-milk-alternatives.html

https://silk.com/

http://sodeliciousdairyfree.com/

4 thoughts on “Dairy Alternatives for Bodybuilders

  1. Primus Reviews- Games and Gains Reply

    Yay milk substitutes! This list is great, I’d definitely recommend to other people as well. These alternatives will definitely help me in my hybrid training’s macros and it also has addressed my other concern- possibly becoming calcium and Vitamin D deficient ’cause of the lactose intolerance. The last thing I wanna get it osteoporosis at a young age! In fact I’d definitely share this list with some of the older folk!

    I agree that soy milk in small amounts taken seldom shouldn’t have any adverse effects, but the problem is that our world’s environment is full of toxins an xenoestrogens already. So for us guys it’s not uncommon to avoid such food that is known to produce some type of estrogen.

    I mean gynecomastia is gaining notoriety these days, and the last thing any guy wants is something to contribute to ”man-breasts.” Also there are plenty more articles proving that soy milk does effect estrogen levels if taken as 1 glass 2-3 times a day.

    • dashafitness Reply

      Hahah that’s true, great points! And yes most studies use the 20oz protocol which is about 2-3 cups worth! Keep your eye out I’ll be posting about lactose free milk for you soon! ☺️

      • Primus Reviews- Games and Gains Reply

        Aw that’s so nice of you, thanks! Also is 2-3 cups really that uncommon? I mean one glass with breakfast and one with a post workout meal does make sense it hindsight.

        Trust me I’m not soley dedicated bodybuilding and getting ‘huge and buff’ (I like playing sports without spraining ten different things), but I know a few of them who would absolutely keep it as part of their daily routine if it helped meet their calories and macros!

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