Benefit of Milk and Muscle Growth

Case Study: The Role of Milk in a Dietary Strategy to Increase Muscle Mass and Improve Recovery in an Elite Sprint Kayaker.

Prior Literature

Previous literature has found tremendous amount of different benefits that milk has when it comes to muscle growth.  One study found that if you drink whole milk you will be able to have higher muscle growth. In another study with male participants, those who drank milk in comparison to soy milk gained more muscle mass in a period of 12 weeks. Moreover, in a study looking at the difference between sports drinks and milk, found that those that drank milk over sports drink had faster recovery and were more hydrated. 

The Main Study


In 2016, Karen Reid conducted a case study digging deeper at the benefits of milk on muscle mass. The study was conducted on an 18 year old kayak sprinter who took part of an 18-month intervention that involved drinking milk before going to bed and after working out. The kayak sprinter was intersted in going to the olympics and his coach adviced him to gain more muscle mass to be able to improve his performance. 

Prior to the start of the experiment, the kayakers baseline was taken. The experimenter gathered his weight, body fat percentage, food consumption, energy expenditure, and vitamin d consumption.  Based on his metabolic rate and energy expenditure, the author noticed that the kayaker was not consuming enough food which led to an increase in calories. In this new diet, milk consisted of 52% of his protein and 66% of his carbs intake. 

Macros before experiment: 139p, 281c

Macros during experiment: 223p, 671c

In the study, the kayak sprinter was asked to workout 6 days a week, two times per day. He was also asked to consume 2.5 cups of milk, three times per day: post workout 1, post workout 2, and before bed.


After the 18 month intervention, the kayaker gained 10kg of body mass and 1 kg of body fat. So in American terms, he basically gained 22lbs of lean body mass and only gained 3 lbs of body fat. 

My Thoughts

The study did not write out a limitations portion on the discussion section, which was rather odd. Nevertheless, I do believe that there were some limitations in this study. First, he had an overall huge increase in calories (+1936 calories); his carb intake was brought up almost 400 grams and his protein was brought up 84 grams. In addition, the article did not discuss how his fat consumption changed which could have drastically influenced his total calorie increase. So this leads me to question whether it was in fact the milk or just an increase in calories that allowed him to increase his muscle mass. 

Second, the study was only conducted with one individual. Could the results be generalized to other male kayakers, or females, or any other sport. It would be interesting to see if the results would be the same or vary across individuals. 

Third and finally, I question the consistency of the kayaker and following his diet. This study was a self report study, so the kayaker could have fallen off his diet throughout the 18 months and not documented. In addition, were certain, undocumented, supplements taken during the time of the study to be be able to enhance his muscle growth?


I leave it up to you to try and see if the power of whole milk will allow you to increase your muscle mass tremendously. I do believe that for you to be able to grow, you need to eat. So from this study, my biggest takeaway is to go and measure your BMR and determine whether or not you are eating sufficiently to grow. 



Reid,K. (2016). Case Study: The Role of Milk in a Dietary Strategy to Increase Muscle Mass and Improve Recovery in an Elite Sprint Kayaker. Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 26(2) 179-184.