Milk has outperformed sports drinks in a trial measuring muscle growth and fat deposits in female athletes.
The 12-week study at McMaster University in Canada compared body changes in athletes who drank skimmed milk with those in athletes who consumed a carbohydrate sports drink.
Lean muscle mass increased for both groups but the milk drinkers decreased fat levels and developed muscle faster to become leaner and stronger. The sports drink group failed to lose any fat.
The Dairy Council, which promotes the nutritional benefits of milk, welcomed the study.
Dairy Council director Judith Bryans said: “This study is very positive for young female athletes trying to enhance their performance. Milk is a product that is readily available, natural, high quality and inexpensive.
“Many studies regarding sports nutrition are conducted in men and this shows how the same benefits of consuming milk can be applied to women,” she said.