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Protein Shakes – Milk or Water?

Posted by Joel Marion on July 24, 2009

Being the resident fitness guru, I’m always being asked questions by my friends and family about diet and exercise.

And every once in a while, against my better judgment, I agree to help a friend or family member out by designing them a diet and/or exercise program (knowing fully well that, at best, they will stick with it for a week, maybe two).

But, still, I do it…because hey, I’m a nice guy.

Well, just last week I decided to help my buddy Mark out with a program per his request. He’s a pretty disciplined dude (ex-army guy), so I figured he might actually follow through. And if he does, that’ll make it worth it.

In the meantime, however, I’m sure he’ll be giving me some ideas for blog content based on the questions I’m being bombarded with as he begins the program, like yesterday’s question about whether he should be mixing his protein shakes with milk or water.

So, let’s say you’re getting ready to mix up some protein, which should you go with?

The answer, as it usually is: it depends.

Let’s take a look at several factors that you should consider before choosing.

1. Adding milk adds calories.

2. Adding milk adds insulin.

3. Adding milk adds flavor.

With that said, let’s take into consideration a couple different scenarios.

Scenario #1: You are on a fat loss diet, attempting to drop fat rapidly.

In this situation, you’d want to avoid extra calories and insulin for the most part, so it’s best that you choose to mix your shakes with water most of the time.

That said, there are a couple situations in which using milk is acceptable, and perhaps even desirable.

One such situation is in the morning, as insulin sensitivity and carbohydrate tolerance are at their peak. That and a little extra insulin and calories won’t be a big deal at the beginning of the day.

The other situation is post workout. You WANT some extra calories, carbohydrate, and insulin after a workout to help shuttle nutrients to your muscles for growth, repair, and recovery, so using milk in this situation is perfectly acceptable, even on a fat loss diet.

Scenario #2: You are on a muscle building diet, attempting to gain muscle rapidly.

With this scenario, it is perfectly acceptable to mix the majority of your meal replacement shakes with milk, and a great way to add extra calories (without much volume) to a meal.

Believe it or not, many people actually struggle to get enough calories when attempting to build lean muscle–drinking more calories is a great way to increase your daily caloric total without having to stuff yourself with large volume meals.

A couple of other things to consider:

Does your protein shake already contain substantial carbohydrate?

If it’s just a straight “protein powder”, then that gives you a bit more leeway to add calories via milk. If it’s a higher calorie “meal replacement” however, you may want to just go with water.

Are you drinking a meal replacement shake prior to bed?

Doing so is a great way to avoid catabolism while shuttling nutrients to muscle tissue throughout the night, but you’re definitely going to want to avoid milk in this situation because of the insulin surge.

Are you using a shake that actually tastes good?

Most people use milk with their shakes because they taste horrible when mixed with water. Well, you don’t have to down a bunch of extra calories and spike insulin to enjoy a great tasting shake if you use the right brand. One of the best tasting meal replacements I know of is Prograde Lean, and it tastes just as good when mixed with ice water.

So, do you use mix your protein shakes with milk or water? Find today’s post helpful? Drop a comment in the comment section below!

At least 50 comments and I’ll be back this weekend with more content!

Joel

P.S.  Commenting has been a little weak recently, let’s bump up the interaction again!  Remember, this site is all about community–we don’t just want “readers”, we want members.  Drop a comment below!


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135 comments - add yours
Carl CuntingtonNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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In my Opinion, onion-water is the best base for my protein shakes.

JonNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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Joel,

Thanks for the information. It is clear, concise and most of all, it makes complete sense. Now, if we could just get the FDA to do the same with all the labels on other foods!

Jon

Shehryar KhanNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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Well, I donot really take any protien supplement or something, but I do know that Milk= Calories, but if your workout is just as hard as your calorie intake it would not matter in the end, you are burning them anyway.

But for people who deseperately wanna lose their weight and gain muscle simaltiniously water in my case is the best choice.

thaddeusNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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I don’t really like using protein powder. I would go with an all natural program. May I know what is the fastest absorbing protein that is a whole food? Tuna? Egg whites?

Mark LathanNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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regarding whey protein drinks, I was informed that assimilation (cant even spell it!!) occurs a lot quicker when mixed with water as opposed to milk. Is this true? If so, what is the time scale between the two?

JJNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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Not really surprised by your answers…that is pretty much common sense.
Thank you though.

RenatoNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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Yo im 14 man give some tips 2 get da six pack i want i alreaady have a 4 pack and well i do exercise a lot i run 6 miles a day 300 crunches , 120 pushu ups , n i do some pilates 2 by the way im having a little disorder too im working out a lot like i said n im having troubles sleeping like i stay up till 3am n then i sleep n then .i wake up at 4am 2 start running im really pudhin it 2 da limit but i dont know i need some tips im from nyc so anybody just send me a meesage with some friendly advice thank u.

J.SNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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Thanks Joel, i was always unsure whether to use milk or water, but now its clear!

JeanNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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I enjoy using just a plain good source whey protein as I like to add hemp seed or hemp milk, flax seed, coconut milk or oil at times, fruit, raw egg or whatever my nutritional needs may require for that day first thing in the morning. However for that nightime shake water is best for me. The fewer calories the better. Good blogs Joel.

salNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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Hey Joel,
that’s such a great post…so thanks for that…i always wanted to know more about protein shakes….i usually use skimmed milk with my shakes because i only have them after my workouts…and as u know….having fat…even a little bit…whether its good or bad fats…after a workout…not exactly the best thing because it slows down the absorption of nutrients into your body..am i right??….so i mix it up with skimmed milk to add the flavour but not the fat….i use a brand called gold standard…which tastes horrible with water but sometimes when i take my shaker with me to the gym….i just add a little water from the water cooler because its more convenient at the gym and I drink the shake at the get go while driving back home….it tastes horrible but i chug it down so quick…..i also want to know…how many times am i allowed to have a protein shake?? because from what the guy in my gym told me…i cant have it more than one time a day…is that true??

KarenNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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Muscle Milk Vanilla Creme protein powder, H20 & instant coffee to taste. Hello high protein, low fat, low sugar vanilla latte – goodby Starbucks :o)

Joel MarionNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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Originally Posted By Renato
Yo im 14 man give some tips 2 get da six pack i want i alreaady have a 4 pack and well i do exercise a lot i run 6 miles a day 300 crunches , 120 pushu ups , n i do some pilates 2 by the way im having a little disorder too im working out a lot like i said n im having troubles sleeping like i stay up till 3am n then i sleep n then .i wake up at 4am 2 start running im really pudhin it 2 da limit but i dont know i need some tips im from nyc so anybody just send me a meesage with some friendly advice thank u.

http://bodytransformationinsider.com/access/comment/ :-)

Pres81wrNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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I like mixing my protein shakes with milk simply for flavor, it reminds me of a milkshake. I have also been recommended by some people to drink whole milk after working out becuause of the good fats it possesses. Craig Ballantyne says that protein shakes are not necessary, even post workouts. He says that the supplement companies have brainwashed everyone into thinking that we need a lot more protein than we actually do. How do you feel about this?

CarolineNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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I use Aussie Bodies protein shakes a lot, average one a day, sometimes two if I know I’m out all day and want to avoid eating bad choices. So if I’m using a shake which is low carb as a meal replacement I mix with skim milk, ditto for after a workout. If I’m having one of an evening pre-bedtime, I go for the water mix. I love blending fruit in mine too, mixed berries are a favourite, and if it’s a higher gi day, banana…yum!

Josh DennyNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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I think what you say is common sense but it is good to have it spelled out for beginners. Some people also have trouble with the milk sugar (lactose) but can of course use lactaid milk. Another point here, for those that may not want to use a protein powder or can’t afford one, chocolate milk as a post-workout drink is a good alternative to a “designer shake.” Try to get one sweetened with sugar in the chocolate versus high-fructose corn syrup. Even though the milk doesn’t have “quick digesting” protein like whey hydroslate (sp.) studies have shown that post-workout that chocolate milk serves as well as using all the fancy, expensive supplements and I bet we can all agree that it tastes better than any protein or mrp shake.

Back in the day before $50 tubs of protein powder men & women built great physiques on whole, natural foods alone. So in summation I certainly agree that mixing your protein or MRP with milk is probably not best on a fat-loss cycle but mixing your shakes with skim or low-fat 1% milk when on a muscle building cycle can be an advantage. Of course it also matters how many shakes a day you consume. Looking at the overall calories of your diet versus your goals and macronutrient needs and utilizing common sense should get you where you want to be.

Joel MarionNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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Originally Posted By thaddeus
I don’t really like using protein powder. I would go with an all natural program. May I know what is the fastest absorbing protein that is a whole food? Tuna? Egg whites?

Why would you consider a protein powder, which is simply milk protein (whey and/casein) to be unnatural?

Joel

SNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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Great clarifying post! Thanks

TeriNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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I have been doing the exact thing. Thanks for keeping me assured of my routine. Milk right after a workout or first thing in the am. Water at mid day.

Thanks as always Joel!!

Joel MarionNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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Originally Posted By sal
Hey Joel,
that’s such a great post…so thanks for that…i always wanted to know more about protein shakes….i usually use skimmed milk with my shakes because i only have them after my workouts…and as u know….having fat…even a little bit…whether its good or bad fats…after a workout…not exactly the best thing because it slows down the absorption of nutrients into your body..am i right??….so i mix it up with skimmed milk to add the flavour but not the fat….i use a brand called gold standard…which tastes horrible with water but sometimes when i take my shaker with me to the gym….i just add a little water from the water cooler because its more convenient at the gym and I drink the shake at the get go while driving back home….it tastes horrible but i chug it down so quick…..i also want to know…how many times am i allowed to have a protein shake?? because from what the guy in my gym told me…i cant have it more than one time a day…is that true??

1. Fat will slow gastric emptying post workout, yes.

2. There is no reason to limit a shake to once a day. Of course, you want to balance your intake with whole foods, but several shakes a day is done by many.

Joel

JennyNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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I use unsweetened soy milk with a low carb protein powder. It provides good taste with minimal carbs. I add a small amount of fruit if it is a time for slightly more carbs.

DallinNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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Sounds great Joel. Pretty common sense. If you are looking for another really great tasting and good protein shake with really low carbs check out Whey Gourmet. They have about a dozen different flavours and they all taste great. Another good way to help with flavour of protein shakes (especially if you have a vanilla) is to add frozen berries into it. This flavours it, thickens it up, and makes it taste like a milk shake without adding milk to it

TeresaNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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I took your recommendation and purchased the Prograde Lean shake; unfortunately, I’m not as fond of it as you are (the taste). I didn’t want to use all milk because of the calories but I found that even if I use 4oz of milk with 8oz of water, it improves the taste and I’m able to drink it. I’m not very educated with insulin responses, so does limiting the quantity of milk limit the insulin effect? Just as an FYI, I drink the shake as my last meal. I have also used coffee and kahlua to make it taste better. Did the trick, but I figured I couldn’t continue with that! :)

MikeNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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@Pres81wr
I’m curious…what’s his research for this comment?

IrmaNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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I’m glad to get some clarification on this. I ‘ve been following CYWT for about a month now and have been unsure what to mix the shake with. I’ve been using water for the most part, but used milk a couple of times. I haven’t lost much weight at all after a month, despite following the plan religiously and working out. I hope to get better results soon–this is getting discouraging!

JamesNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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Can’t remember which nutrition/weight loss/muscle building guru had this suggestion in one of their email newsletters… it made good sense so I’m doing it… Use BREEZE ALMOND MILK….. they are available in regular and reduced calorie in both Vanilla and Chocolate….. they contain less sugar than milk. Just thought I would pass this along….

CarlieNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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Great post Joel, such straight forward useful information.

Maxim whey protein isolate tastes great in water or milk. I used to drink the chocolate flavored one with milk, but the strawberry one taste better with water.

Now if i do a workout I have a small glass of choc milk pre-workout – (based on other post you replied – that it is a good combination of carbs and protein). And then a protein with water after my workout.

SimonNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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What is the connection between milk and insulin?

wazooNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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With my very first batch of protein I used milk. I spent the rest of the day on the toilet. Not sure if it was the brand of protein, or the fact that it was just too much for my system to handle at once. So I’ve been on water ever since.

That was 10 years ago though so I wonder if it’s worth experimenting with milk again to reap some of the benefits you mentioned..

thanks!

losing 44 by age 44No Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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Great information-I just started the program this week, recommended by my trainer. I wasn’t sure the definition of “protein shake” at the end of the day-just protein or a true meal replacement. Glad to know meal replacement is ok. I always mix with water. Looking forward to next week when I can add fruit back in my day!

DeaneNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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Hi Joel, I have an issue with drinking a protein drink before I got to bed – I’m up twice in the night to go to the bathroom! Any suggestions?

MartyNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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Thanks Joel, Good info. I use Prograde. It is the best tasting Protein that I have come across. I like to add ice to my shakes . It gives the protein mix a real milkshake conssitancy and actually makes me feel fuller. For a treat now and then I will add some Organic extra crunchy Peanut butter. All I can say is you got to try it.

HopScothNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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Hi, thanks for more interesting info to read at work.
I hope this isn’t too off topic, it’s about milk in tea and coffee about 5 through the day total.
I count the calories from it (and need to) to get upto 1200 per day, and so far it’s working. And i love it so should i still try and give it up?
Can you do a bolg one day on tea and coffee habits?

AlbertoNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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Wow, this is pretty nice information. I work at a gym and I’m always “bombarded” with questions about supplements, routines and diets, so this helpful stuff can bring me new ideas to tell everybody.
I recommend a nice mix, it’s called “Maxi Whey”. It has nice flavour if you mix it either with water or milk, and brings you almost 50g of protein, and contains only 2g of carbs and 0g of fat!!
Well, ’til next post. Good Job. You got an A this time hahahaha
Sincerely from Mexico

DylanNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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water after workouts, gotta get the whey to the muscles asap for recovery. if youre trying to gain weight i would say always take it with milk except for after your workout, especially since it can get hard to take milk with and keep it cool while you work out, and of course you dont want to wait until you get home to take it.

MishanNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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Any thoughts on the Herbal Life shakes? It contains 15g Carbs per serving.

JoelNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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great info, Joel

now…if only wading through the sea of whey-isolates could be as easily understood…

JoeNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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Joel,

You talk about the difference between water and milk, but are you talking about whole milk, 2%, 1%, or skim? If you’re talking about whole milk vs. water, what is the difference between skim milk and water? Is it just insulin production at that point?

JerryNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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I use Fat free lactose free milk for my morning and pre-workout shake. Taste is the issue for me but I recognize the need to cut those extra calories from other parts of my diet to afford me this luxury.

EdNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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Thanks Joel, that is good stuff. I am definately going to be getting involved with some of the prograde stuff. All the best.

shaneNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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thanks for the post.. it summarises it quite well. my friends and i are always trying to find the balance for when milk/water is needed. i’ll be sure to send it to them :)

HottaNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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i read that milk is bad 4 us, because it has lot of estrogen in it. and estrogen decreases testosterone, and testosterone is the most important hormone when it comes to build muscle. i drink 2 shakes aday, 1 b4 my workout(Whey+coffee), the other after my workout(Whey+simple carbs+glutamine). in the morning i drin a green juice(vegetable juice).

ShaneNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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I’ve been using almond milk for my shakes. It is lower calorie than milk and has no casein. However, the unsweetened almond milk tastes HORRIBLE, as I recently found out. The powder I use is a hemp protein powder that contains 10 essential amino acids, which I have read to be very valuable to the body.

LabadietNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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Back when I used to partake in a daily protein shake consumption, I would simply mix 2 scoops of stevia-flavoured whey isolate (from wheydepot.com) with ice cold water. Quick, simple, and a pure protein source

jimNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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hi joel I have to say I don’t use that right now

DrewNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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I use orange, grape, or cranberry juice for my protein shakes post-workout. Acording to nutritionists I’ve read, natural sugars in the fruit just help the speed of digestion of the proteins at that point. This is the only time I take a protein shake. The rest of the day I prefer to eat natural, whole food sources of protein. I have found this much more conducive to building muscle than protein shake breakfasts, etc. that I used to consume without any noticeable benefits.

GregNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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Glad to see I’ve been doing it right. I usually make a protein power / banana shake in the blender each morning. I use equal parts water and skim milk. At lunch, I may eat a mix of protein powder with yogurt (among other things) on “off” days. My workouts are usually around mid-day or early evening, and on workout days, it’s protein powder in water with a little fruit juice during/post workout, and before I go to sleep, protein powder with water only.

HottaNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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well actually Drew, it’s not a good idea to take fruit post workout as ur simple sugars because the sugar in fruits is fructose and u need glucose(don’t mind the spelling) after training, plus fruits contain fibers that take more time to digest.@Drew -

JamieNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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pasteurized milk really isnt good for you. if you wanna drink milk, get some raw milk. which is usually hard to find. wonder why…

HottaNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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i’ll tell u why! because it’s illeagal,can u believe that?@Jamie -

MariaNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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Hey Joel,
Thanks for more great info. I find that having my shakes with skim milk on workout days and water on non-workout days works best for me. That way I know I’m burning up those extra calories and not losing the flavor. I use Pro-Grade Lean and Workout. I also love their VGF +25. I’ve become a big fan of Pro-Grade. They don’t bombard you with a lot of nonsense and things you don’t really need. It’s a great company with just the basics and no bs. Thanks for the tips!

Zev DavisNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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For the record, I don’t know much about protien shakes, or the powders. I’ve seen them at the club, but at this point in my training, the trainer would tell me I was not ready for it. He’s hard nosed and goes “by the book”.

At any, if you want to call what I take as a some kind of protein shake, here goes–plain yoguhurt, either from cow’s milk or goat’s milk. It’s said the goat’s milk is better, but you may know better. I add ground flax seed, and either shelled sunflower seeds, oat bran, or ground walnuts. Then I put some coarse oatmeal with a honey topping, the honey that comes from flowers, not glucose as some producers do to make it easier.

No sugar except for the honey, which has all sorts of minerals.

It’s not an energy drink, or a shake, but it works for me.

IsaacNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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Isn’t there something about more casein/longer “lasting” protein when you mix protein powder in milk? I think that it was Sean Nalewanyj that I read from, that protein powder + water is faster reacting than protein powder and milk. He recommended milk mixed before bed, because it would “spread out” the proteins over longer time. Is this a myth?

LauraNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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Wow! I am so calorie conscious that I never even considered mixing my protein shake with milk; but I have a friend that is constantly trying to add muscle and weight so I will definitely pass this info on to him. I get bored at times with my vanilla shakes and can’t stand chocolate, but Karen’s tip about adding instant coffee is genius! Thanks Karen … I can’t wait to try it!

DaveNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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I think to quote Joel “it depends” goes even further in that every individual is different and you need to figure out what works for you by experimenting a little. I myself cannot shed any fat if I have any dairy in my diet. So for me it is water only with my protien when trying to lose.

SherryNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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I use skim milk…not exactly fatty but I like the extra richness it adds….also Joel, I am confused…how does milk add insulin?? I understand the carbs.

PhilNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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Great Joel!
I have been on the CYWT for about 90 days, before that I was just lifting and doing some strongman type training to mix it up. Since starting your program I have continued the same workouts but follow the program very close except for the protein portion I go an extra 50% – to keep the gains coming- I have dropped 4 inches at the waist, thigh and arms are within a 1/2 inch over start but MUCH more defined! Scale wise, I have only seen about a 12lb loss, but mirror wise, I’m making pretty serious head way!! Plus I have seen better gains my lifting since starting CYWT- I guess eating better maked the whole difference- in the 90 days I have gone up 100lbs on my squat reps and 55lbs on my bench reps- big increases on my dead lift and curls too! I only wish I had done a body fat % test when I started!- So Thanks Again!!
My post workout shakes are milk, powder, and a bananna. My bed time shakes are usually always Milk but some recioies I have call for 1/2 water.
1. is the added 50% protein helping like I think
2. for quicker fat loss if I go with water at night will it hurt my gains in the gym?

Ken S.No Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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Good idea. I was getting tired of drinking protein with water and know am glad to find I can use milk. Thanks! How about mixing with juice?

kenNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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@Renato

The very first thing you should do is learn English, then grammar and punctuation. After that you can focus on bodybuilding.

BrendaNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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great info! I work out at night after my girls go to bed and am never sure what is best for me to eat or drink, so I will now try the protein drink with water and not worry about the calories! Thanks

Ken ChandlerNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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Thanks for bringing it up Joel. I actually cut my protein drinks with 2% or 1% milk, and water… 50/50. I just can’t do the skim milk thing.

SherryNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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My advice is to take a breath, dude!

tobyNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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i mix milk and water in my shakes usually

Ken ChandlerNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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@ Jamie…
Unpasteurized (raw) milk can be very risky from a health standpoint. From my professional experience, it can can carry loads of serious disease causing bacteria, including Mycobacterium bovis (tuberculosis), Listeria, Staphylococcus, Salmonella, Bacillus cereus and others from infected teats, tainted feed or cross contamination. These bacteria are then easily passed to your family and friends without your knowledge.
If raw milk is your preference PLEASE stick to properly treated, licensed raw milk dealers.

Ken ChandlerNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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@ Sherry, I’m afraid it would be my last… ;-)

MarkNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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Right on! I use milk with my Breakfast shake and water all other shakes thru the day.

jadeNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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How about using Carb-Countdown Milk? It has only 1/4 of the carbs in it that regular milk has, the 2% version only has 3 gr of carbs compared to the 12 gr that are in skim milk would that help with the insulin sensitivity?

I use both soy slender and carb countdown, depending on my mood, mixed with my protein powder, I use Any Whey protein powder which is great beacause I can put it in anything even when I cook/bake.

jacklinNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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To ask whey protein is good or prograde i heard it is not useful to burn fat bt i haven’t try it yet so if anyone had try prograde or whey protein i want the reply.

MikeNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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I always use skim milk when mixing my whey shakes, add ice and blend. Don’t care for the taste with water, also get a bit extra protein from the milk with no added fat.

TomNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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Are you drinking a meal replacement shake prior to bed?

Doing so is a great way to avoid catabolism while shuttling nutrients to muscle tissue throughout the night, but you’re definitely going to want to avoid milk in this situation because of the insulin surge.

What does insulin surge do to the body?

Vicki ZerbeeNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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Thanks for sharing this info. Personally, I use water with my protein shake because it IS a meal replacement and has all of the nutrients and ‘good carbs’ that I need already in the shake mix. Second, I add a scoop of another protein which I feel replaces any milk that I would have used. In my case, the unique whey protein source I add to my soy shake is great for muscle (recovery) health (heart being the biggest muscle in the body) and I like the taste better doing it this way as opposed to adding milk. Bottom line, it is so healthy to have a protein shake each morning. It helps establish good blood sugar balance for the entire day.. and you can actually ‘feel’ a difference in terms of sustained energy and mood balance. Plus soy has so many healthy benefits for the body. I was never a breakfast person but I can ‘do’ a protein shake and I know this meal is important for the body.

DuckAmuckNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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Why are milk and water the only options?
Why not juice a mango and some grapes and mix those with protein powder, possibly adding some ice (which is water) for a smoothie?
Heck, juice a carrot and some spinach and broccoli…
Why not mix it with 100% apple juice, or V8 juice?

SeanNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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I like to mix mine with Rice Milk in the morning and add frozen organice berries to it. This takes care of the taste situation. In the evenings, just low calorie Whey Protien and water.

We also like to use our juicer for the vegatable portion of the diet. There are a lot of site out there for recipies, but make sure you get a good quality protien shake. There is a lot of bogus stuff out there with junk fillers.

Thanks Joel for the good post!

Rich MNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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Joel,

I use a low carb vanilla flavored protein that, actually tastes pretty good either way. In the morning I mis 12 oz. of 2% milk with a cup of frozen mixed berries in the blender and add the 2 scoops of protein to that. It’s great. If I just need a quick protein boost, I put 2 scoops in a shaker with 12 oz. ice water.

If I am using chocolate flavor, I almost always use milk.

These shakes are for my morning break, about 2 hours after breakfast, while at work. When I’m home, I just eat 6-7 times a day.

AmanNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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Thanks joel for the valuable info…I had always added milk in my protien shakes post workout. But now i gave up all those protien shakes and i just use milk post workout….I would like to give your post a second thought someday & appriciate your hardwork.

MattNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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With my morning protein/MRP shakes, I always mix them with milk, unless I am on a cutting phase. It definitely helps pack in the calories without filling me up too much.

If I am using my normal post-workout shake (I use Biotest Surge), I just mix it with water since it already has a great ratio of carbs/protein. If I just have a plain protein powder, I will mix it with milk post workout. If I don’t have any protein powder, I will drink some chocolate milk for my post-workout refueling. Chocolate milk definitely does the trick if short on cash or powder.

HarikaNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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It seems pretty resonable. I am going to drop the milk from my pre-bed protein portion.
Thanks for share.

Fiona ScottNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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I’ve been wondering about the same thing – milk vs water; great to have my suspicions confirmed!

AlNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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Just to throw a curveball, I do my protein shakes with mixed baby greens, kale, parsley, spinach, often a whole organic lemon complete with peel, flax seed, the protein powder of course, maybe and egg or two, some Lugol’s iodine, some organic apple cider with mother, some dulse or other seaweed, maybe a banana or apple and usually a dash of pomegranite or blueberry juice or some such and just enough water to let it all liquify. I also open up a bunch of calcium, boron, magnesium and other miscellaneous caps of minerals and other nutrients and dump them in too. It all goes into my Vitamix and I’ve got a liquid breakfast and lunch and half of dinner. This is the base I start with and then stick with high quality food around that. I’m open to criticism, if I’m blowing it some way please let me know?

chrisNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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I enjoy mixing my protein with human and/or dog urine. It tastes great, most protein powders will mix readily in it, and it is a great way to get some extra nourishment into your diet. i try to keep a gallon or so of my own urine in the fridge at all times to use in my shakes, since the urine tastes even better while cold. Thanks for all the tips Joel, I love your site.

HottaNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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WTF????!!!!!!!!!! ur kidding right?@chris -

JenniferNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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We like to use ice cubes and water to blend the shake. It makes it thicker and takes longer to eat so we enjoy it more slowly kind of like a dessert before bed. We look forward to it!

JenniferNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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What is catabolism? Thanks Joel!

HottaNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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Catabolism is a state ur body goes to when ur breaking tissue, now this tissue may be fat or muscle(depends on alot of variables, like protein intake, training intensity, and othe things)
if u have any other questions u can reply to my answer. @Jennifer -

JenniferNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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What kind of state? How is it a bad thing for your body? What does it do to you?-I don’t know anything about this but I am very interested.

HottaNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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@Jennifer – well Jennifer, i can c that this may take alot of questions, so if u want to ask any other questions this is my email hit.man.1989@hotmail.com

Michael in MarylandNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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I’m fortunate not to have to worry about fats or carbs and the whey powder i use is 0 carb. Most times I mix it with 2% milk but also will use the leftover coffee in the coffee pot instead. The last BMI test I had was 9% and am a very hard gainer. I do a lot of heavy lifting at work and wish I could consume 4000 calories a day. Tried for awhile but barely ever get above 2800 Kcal maintanence level. A high metabolism is a two-edged sword.

HottaNo Gravatar

July 24, 2009

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@Michael in Maryland – my advice for u is to eat more fats(gram of fat contains 5 more calories than gram of carbs or protein) but try to go for healthy fats like olive oil on salad, peanut butter in ur shake, flax oil, fish oils.
another way to gain weight was created by Vince Gironda, Vince Gironda claimed this mix was a proven and tested way to gain weight and he
stated he had students that gained as much as 40 pounds following it.
simply mix equal parts cream and ginger ale, and drink it 3 times between meals.
btw, i never tried it but thats because i don’t need it.

MKNo Gravatar

July 25, 2009

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What the insulin response of other “milks” such as rice milk, almond milk, soy milk, etc.? Is it similar to cow’s milk or goat milk?

I lost 10 pounds on your cheat-your-way program (I didn’t have much to lose, but the weight was creeping up) and regained my high-school physique. Plus, I’m eating a lot healthier with tons of vegetables. Thanks, Joel.

SimonNo Gravatar

July 25, 2009

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Milk adds insulin? How do you figure this? I usually mix my whey powder with apple juice.

NoahNo Gravatar

July 25, 2009

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I usually use water and ice in my shakes just because but I tried it with milk the other morning and it really makes them taste 10x better. I’ll have to try the water/milk mix that another poster suggested, that sounds like a good compromise.

Prograde Lean still tastes like a meal replacement, but it does taste better than most. I just wish it came in a vanilla flavor like the Prograde Workout does.

kimNo Gravatar

July 25, 2009

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thanks for defining that for me, I am trying to lose fat and build lean- muscle and it is easy to fall into a quandry about calorie content !

Joe WillisNo Gravatar

July 25, 2009

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What I find to be a flavorful and high nutrient value approach is to add one tablespoon of fat-free yogurt (live cultures) and half a cup to a cup of unsweetened almond milk. That’s less than 50 extra calories per shake and the benefits of calcium, vitamins, beneficial microbes and Great flavor enhancement.

IsaacNo Gravatar

July 25, 2009

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@Simon – As far as I know, all carbohydrates are simply sugar when it comes to the end. Some foods just have carbohydrates that break down to sugar (glycogen) faster. Milk has carbohydrates, meaning insulin at some point.

SabrinaNo Gravatar

July 26, 2009

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I always mixed my powder with milk for the taste. I did not consider the insulin thing or calories, since it’s skim milk. But that’s good to know! Thanks, Joel, for the info!

alanaNo Gravatar

July 26, 2009

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your info is great especially the adding either milk or water with protein shakes, personally I take it with water but only if it doesnt make me gag.

I know you do programs for people sometimes but my need is im really looking at getting very lean and losing bodyfat because its just taking so long at the moment and im gettin wild:):): also im stuck on the weight size i should be lifting. in the past for my upperbody ive been lifting 2.5kg and however i am able to lift more but dont and the lwer body well 5 -10kg but im really looking for excellent definition not hugh muscle and i know women cant get massive but i want to slim my legs and other areas and have definition instead. i dont run and dont like it, except for my exercise highlow type dvds where there is a combination of high and low conditioning.
i hope you can help
thanks

ChristianNo Gravatar

July 26, 2009

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@Renato – Hello, i highly doubt you do this much exercise in a day. crunches wont get you a six pack. If the exercise you are committed to is true then congratultions, just watch your food. im guessing your scrawny to run 6 miles a day. yours losing leg muscle tissue, true leaner meats and vegetables for vitamins. Peas are great in fibre and protein! Go to bed at 8pm and stay off the pc, you get to sleep a lot quicker. Regards Christian Goodman (www.christiangoodman.com)

KimNo Gravatar

July 26, 2009

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i use crush ice in the blender then add the milk which keeps the taste but dilutes the carbos.
Kim

GeorgeNo Gravatar

July 26, 2009

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Why does milk affect insulin? There isn’t many carbs from lactose in milk.

walterNo Gravatar

July 27, 2009

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I only use milk in (all) my shakes. Thanks for pointing out that this is not allways the correct choise. What about shipments to europe from prograde?

IsaacNo Gravatar

July 27, 2009

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@Kim – Ofcourse, there is not many carbs in milk. But there are some (more or less depending on what kind of milk). And when you go to sleep, your metabolism slows down, as you don’t move anymore. You’re absoloutely right, there is not many, but there are some carbs. It’s just a matter of how perfectionistic you want to be.

IsaacNo Gravatar

July 27, 2009

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Sorry, should have been quoted to George.

jorge naudeNo Gravatar

July 27, 2009

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I definitely prefer water, when I was 17 or so we used to have the gym shakes here in Mexico licuados de gimnasio or bombs, consisted on milk, two scoops of weider stuff, nuts dried and fresh fruits, bananas, melon, guava, mamey, strawberry, mangoes papaya, oats. This was really a bomb it was half a gallon for two, your digestive system was put to an extreme, that was nonsense almost 2500 calories per serving. This was nonsense, today i can hardly digest two scoops of whey in water. I prefer a flavourless protein and mix it in carrot juice this is the safest way for me to digest. The problem is that 90% of commercial powders include nasty artificial sweetners as if all bodybuilders in the world should consume them. Thats why i prefer the sweetnes of a low calorie, low carb natural juice, of course juice that you extract from carrots not the one you get in the s. market.

LeahNo Gravatar

August 3, 2009

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Just wanted anyone who is reading this to know that JOEL MARION IS A LIAR!!!! I purchased his Cheat Your Way Thin program, gave it an honest try, and because I didn’t see any results, I requested my money back. He has not responded to 5 e-mails and he removed me from his e-mail list (probably so I’d forget that he exists). He has an “iron-clad” money back guarantee, but he doesn’t stick to his word. If you don’t want to be cheated, don’t buy his program unless you want to keep it.

Dave in OzNo Gravatar

August 4, 2009

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Firstly I would like to add that ‘cheat you way thin’ has been the best $$ I have spent on myself EVER! I have actually stuck to the program for 12 weeks straight and it actually gets easier not harder. I’ve lost 16kg and 22cm in this time (about 35lb and 9inches). Thanks Joel.

As for the MILK OR WATER debate. I am on a bit of a maitance phase now and have found the convienience of the meal replacement shakes to good to resist. I now use milk in my morning and lunchtime shakes, and it doesn’t seem to have any negative effects.

Being in Australia I can’t get the prograde- so i use the bannana or strawberry ‘fatblaster’ brand as it has the best flavour and texture. Adding milk to this can be a bit sweet and sickly though.

SimonNo Gravatar

August 4, 2009

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@Leah – Probably not him personally, these people have a marketing system that operates quite apart from them. That said, they should still live up to their ‘personal’ promises, or change marketers! Have you noticed that these people operate in a Daisy Chain of ‘close friends’ who push the same products at once (this month or two it seems to be Vegan diets)
I have also had trouble with orders from Jesse Cannone of Healthy Back Institute (fixed up now, but took 5 months). These people seem to believe what they are selling, but marketing lets them down

SimonNo Gravatar

August 4, 2009

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@Leah – Another whinge about HBI- just got an email to say I hadn’t made my latest payment on an offer I cancelled 2 months ago. The original offer was one bottle of the product, FREE POSTAGE, but in the small print was that they would send another bottle every month after that (another $20 extra per bottle) so when I got the notification, I cancelled the order. Got a real nice email from Jesse asking why I stopped the order, and I sent back that I had barely started using his Product, so wasn’t sure how well it worked- got an email that the order canceled (said that twice, funny how youall spell things)
Anyhow, got an email today asking why I had stopped payment (?)
So, be aware that even if you don’t owe money, they will still try to stiff you- it is not exactly Jesse Cannone’s fault, but these people should be held accountable for their Marketers.
Bit suss of all this (circle) now- shut down acccounts?

liamNo Gravatar

August 5, 2009

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very useful info, will defo be letting my pals know about it, as they are always very unsure

Amy-LouiseNo Gravatar

August 6, 2009

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Hey joel, is it possible to find vegan protein powder? my brother uses the whey-based ones, whih are great, but I’m recently vegan, so obviously I have to find an alternative, as protein shakes help me get my daily protein as well as nutrition after a workout.
Thanks loads!

JohnathanNo Gravatar

August 7, 2009

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Thanks so much for the info. I have been wondering so long if it was best for me to drink milk. I’m was really skinny and have been drinking milk with my protein shakes, and making progress. But I had been wondering if I would make more progress with water…Thanks so much again.

carteramNo Gravatar

August 8, 2009

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I have been using the whey gourmet PVL protein mix. It taste good with water, milk, heck, I imagine I could scoop it out and eat it. It has a solid protein portion, different flavours, and is low on carbs. Granted, it is hard to find on sale and can be a little more pricey than other brands. But it is nice to actually enjoy downing a protein shake, rather than gagging on it. I will pay a little extra for that.

Francois LeblancNo Gravatar

August 18, 2009

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@Amy-Louise

@ Amy-Louise: Sun Warrior produces a vegan rice protein powder, check out: http://www.sunwarrior.com/ They claim faster absorption rate then whey too. I’ve been using it for a while with good results. Plus, it tastes great! (You definitely need a blender to mix it though.)

ValérieNo Gravatar

December 10, 2009

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I prefer my protein shake with water, it’s less rich! And it tastes better… in my opinion!

FRANKIENo Gravatar

June 19, 2010

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I MIX MINE WITH OLIVE OIL ONLY

TaraNo Gravatar

August 9, 2010

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Hi guys,
I just want to clarify something for all of you. Milk does not add insulin to your diet. Insulin is a hormone manufactured by the body, the pancreas to be specific, and assists with utlising carbohydrate within the body as a source of energy and to replenish stores of glycogen within the muscles post exercise. Certainly adding milk to your protein shake will contribute to a greater abundance of calories but this has nothing to do with increasing the amount of insulin you will be taking in. You cannot actually consume insulin, your body makes it.

johnlemomNo Gravatar

October 18, 2010

MaxNo Gravatar

January 8, 2011

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with what water or milk i should mix protine if want to loose extra fat and gain musales

BevNo Gravatar

January 9, 2011

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This info is great. I have been wondering about the milk vs. water question. Thanks so much!

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Great article as usual Joel. I am curious if it could be true that putting cinnamon in the shake if you are using milk, will help with the insulin issue? Also, if people are using milk what type should it be? We use almond milk for after workout shakes.

SamNo Gravatar

January 10, 2011

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I actually take both. Because my friend who is a personal trainer told me that having a protein shake with water is best straight after a workout, the reason being is because it is absorbed much faster and starts repairing your muscles sooner. But its actually better to have a protein shake with milk when your not working out, or a few hours after working out. Because then it takes the body longer to absorb the protein, which is a good thing in the right situation because then it will slowly release protein to the muscles which will keep them constantly supplied with protein for a longer time, it also saves you a bit on protein expenses. And also with milk it will add extra protein and carbs, which once again is good after working out. But the best is to have water straight after (and an hour before if you have pre workout supplements) working out, but milk for when your not working out, especially at night time (so its good to have a protein shake before you go to bed that is mixed with milk).

Garfield OrregoNo Gravatar

May 22, 2011

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glotondodiadsNo Gravatar

May 23, 2011

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Marc RenaudNo Gravatar

May 24, 2011

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Over the years I’ve always used milk in my protein shakes, because my goals were primarily to build muscle/gain weight.

Currently on a 12 week program and I’m mostly using water now. Except for post workout, when I’ll mix with 1% milk.

In the past I’ve never liked the taste of my shakes when mixing with water, but using Nitropeak tastes pretty good.

Azzie OrickNo Gravatar

May 24, 2011

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Albert PickerellNo Gravatar

May 25, 2011

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elementy kuteNo Gravatar

May 25, 2011

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Interesting information, I will be recommending

KateNo Gravatar

May 26, 2011

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shipping costs of ‘prograde’ to australia were huge- any tips on selecting a good qualitiy protein powder and BCAA’s over here?- I really want to get this xtreme fld programme started

simonNo Gravatar

May 26, 2011

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@ Isaac:

I think that might be true. I read somewhere else that milk is 80% casein, drinking whey protien is so that it reaches your bloody quickly. And Casein is slowly realised into your blood. I use to think if I mix casein and whey together I will get the best of both worlds, but learned that if you mix casein with whey, the casein slows the whey as well so what you said probably is true!

That’s why I googled this link! I think drinking water with whey would be better straight after exercise and adding milk will slow the process.

But I can’t be 100% sure there is too much information on the net saying different things!

dragonfabletipsNo Gravatar

May 27, 2011

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superb site, very good colours and i forgot to request you concerning the plugins you use

android marketNo Gravatar

June 20, 2012

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Excellent post at Protein Shakes – Milk or Water? | Body Transformation Insider. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m impressed! Extremely helpful information specifically the last part :) I care for such info much. I was seeking this particular info for a long time. Thank you and good luck.

ccfcchrisNo Gravatar

June 29, 2012

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My protein powder says to mix a scoop with 200ml of milk but that is only like one swig so would it matter if I added more milk but kept the amount of protein the same?? Or would it make it less effective?

JoshNo Gravatar

July 8, 2012

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Id only say all natural and tuna if its fresh because caned its deffinately not natural

Michaek NiehausNo Gravatar

July 10, 2012

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if you take milk, limit it. If you want to see results in little time eat whole foods and nothing that comes in a bag or that is man made. unless of course it is all natural. Water is your best friend at this point. it has nothing added to it and is all natural.@ thaddeus:

Michael NiehausNo Gravatar

July 10, 2012

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If you take milk, limit it. If you want to see results in little time eat whole foods and nothing that comes in a bag or that is man made. unless of course it is all natural. Water is your best friend at this point. it has nothing added to it and is all natural

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