Milk (cow's, soy, almond)

Milk, including cow's milk and plant-based alternatives like soy and almond milk, can be a valuable addition to a cyclist's diet. These beverages provide a range of nutrients that support overall health, recovery, and performance.

Milk is a nutrient-rich liquid produced by the mammary glands of mammals. Plant-based milk alternatives are beverages made from plants that are designed to resemble cow's milk in appearance and consistency.


List of milk variants:
  • Cow's milk (whole, low-fat, skim)
  • Soy milk
  • Almond milk
  • Oat milk
  • Coconut milk
  • Cashew milk
  • Rice milk
  • Hemp milk
  • Pea protein milk
  • Lactose-free cow's milk
Benefits for the cyclist:
  • Provides high-quality protein (especially cow's and soy milk) for muscle recovery and repair
  • Contains carbohydrates (lactose in cow's milk, added sugars in some plant-based milks) for energy
  • Rich in calcium and vitamin D (when fortified) for bone health
  • Offers hydration due to its high water content
  • May help reduce muscle soreness and improve recovery when consumed post-exercise
  • Some plant-based milks are suitable for those with lactose intolerance or dairy allergies
Energy value:

The calorie content of milk varies depending on the type and fat content. An 8-ounce (240 ml) serving of cow's milk contains 80-150 calories, while plant-based milks range from 30-130 calories per serving.

When to consume:
  • Before the ride: Drinking 8-12 ounces (240-360 ml) of milk 30-60 minutes before a ride can provide a balance of carbohydrates and protein for sustained energy.
  • After the ride: Consuming 8-16 ounces (240-480 ml) of milk within 30-60 minutes after a ride can aid in muscle recovery and replenish fluids.
  • As part of a balanced diet: Incorporating milk into regular meals and snacks can contribute to overall nutrient intake.
Other tips:
  • Choose low-fat or skim cow's milk to reduce saturated fat intake.
  • If using plant-based milks, look for varieties fortified with calcium and vitamin D.
  • Be aware of added sugars in flavored milk and some plant-based milks.
  • If you have a milk allergy or intolerance, choose a suitable plant-based alternative or consult with a healthcare professional.
  • When using milk as a recovery drink, consider adding fruits, leafy greens, or nut butter to create a nutrient-dense smoothie.

Milk and its plant-based alternatives can be nutritious additions to a cyclist's diet, providing essential nutrients for health, recovery, and performance. Cow's milk is a good source of high-quality protein and carbohydrates, while fortified plant-based milks can offer similar benefits for those with dietary restrictions. Incorporating milk strategically before and after rides, as well as part of a balanced diet, can support a cyclist's overall well-being and athletic goals.