Bodybuilding general guidelines are in favor of dairy products and especially of milk, because of the protein content and the high calorie count. On the other hand, healthy diets and revolutionary bodybuilders insist on the new research and support vegan alternatives like coconut, soy or almond milk.
Does almond milk provide the same benefits to bodybuilders?
What we actually have here is a difference in quality and benefits. First of all, cow’s milk is harder to digest because of the animal protein and fat in it. Almond milk has nothing of that. It’s totally light. The caloric count is also vastly different, with almond milk being the much lighter version again.
Let’s have a look at the numbers: one cup of whole milk has 155 calories (skim milk only 93), 8 g fat and 13 g sugar, whereas the other has just 60 calories, 2.5 g fat and 7 g sugar. As mentioned, cow’s milk has a solid 8 g of protein per cup, hard to compare with 1 g found in the same quantity of its alternative. This doesn’t convince some bodybuilders, however. Many choose to avoid ‘real’ milk (especially because of allergies) and opt instead for its substitutes, mixing these with generous quantities of protein powder and other protein-rich foods.
If muscle gains are your goal, it’s not only safe to drink almond milk, but also useful. It will not be a source of fat, which is one of the most important aspects when aiming to show some ripped muscle. However, individuals who are on low-carb diets must be careful with this. The carbs and sugar load is high, but so is with cow’s milk, too. The obvious advantage of almond milk is that it doesn’t load you with fat and that it’s not as noxious to the system. Sure, some will speak in its defense and point out that no one ever diet from cow milk and they feel just perfect, but the effects are actually very subtle and appear in time.
The safer and healthier version is, without a doubt, the almond milk, as long as it’s not loaded with artificial ingredients for a spectacular flavor. It can be used as it is, in drinks, power shakes, with cereals and oatmeal etc. but also used for cooking and baking. It is usually high in potassium and calcium, so bear that in mind. This is the preferred choice of those who are convinced that “milk is only for babies” (which would explain all the allergy cases and illnesses ‘fueled’ by milk and mentioned in recent scientific studies).
In any case, many bodybuilders happen to accommodate both versions in their diets and enjoy all the benefits. Such drinks represent easy ways to get some more calories when needed. You could simply alternate the two.
When you purchase any kind of milk, remember to pay attention to the ‘improvements’ made by the company producing it. There may be less of a fat content, added sugar for extra sweetness, flavoring and such.
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