Milk Propaganda at LHS: Does Milk Improve Athletic Performance?


Thomas Przybyl, Staff Writer

In the LHS cafeteria, the notion that cow’s milk will increase athletic performance is plastered all over the walls. Posters that say things like “Milk, Show it Off!” are all over the lunch room. 

However, it’s not just athletic performance that these posters try to bolster. If one would look for not even a minute, they would see that there are dietary guidelines in every corner claiming that a meal is not complete without milk. 

One example of this is the MyPlate. describes the MyPlate as “an easy-to-follow food guide, to help parents to figure out how to feed their kids nutritious, balanced meals.” All this praise of milk raises a certain question. Should LHS push for the consumption of milk?

The Basic History of Milk

The consumption of cow’s milk by humans dates back as far as six to eight thousand years ago. Ancient skeletons found in modern day Kenya and Sudan, which were two to six thousand years old, had proteins found in dairy encrusted into their hardened dental calculus, showing evidence of human consumption of milk even in early times.

 Researchers who examined the DNA from the bones of these skeletons found that the mutation necessary for what is called “lactase persistence” was not present. This evidence shows that these early folk were consuming milk before they had developed the necessary biology to break down lactose in adulthood.

 Now, you may ask, “Why would these people drink milk if they can’t break it down?” Just because they couldn’t digest lactose doesn’t mean they could not get some amount of nutrients from the milk. For instance, if there was a drought and the harvest was poor, your choices were either a stomach ache or starvation.

 The people during this time who had cattle had an advantage when it came to finding food, as the cow acted as a walking water filter with the added benefit of a continual source of sustenance.

Milk Consumption for Athletic Performance

The previous paragraph may make milk seem necessary for humans as it was a large part of our survival throughout our evolution. But that’s just it. It was a good source of survival food when times were tough, but today, it’s really not necessary. We have so many food sources at our disposal nowadays that milk is no longer a necessary part of our diet. 

But even with all this, “Big Milk” has slithered through the cracks of our society and vomited its pro-milk agenda all over our televisions and sports teams and even our sacred LHS cafeteria. 

Now to get to the nitty gritty of this entire article. Does milk actually improve athletic performance? To find out, I did oodles and oodles of mind-numbing research and even interviewed some of LHS’ best athletes. 

To start off, here are what some of our strongest students think about whether or not milk should be consumed. 

After asking if he drinks milk for athleticism, Torcato Zina, one of the captains on the track team says: “I wouldn’t say for my running ability. I think it’s good for you, but I don’t think it’s good for running.” 

When asked if she would consume dairy for the purpose of athletic performance, Amanda Riley, one of the top swimmers on the Ludlow swim team says: “No, because it’s not available and I wouldn’t anyways… It would make my stomach hurt.” 

Elena Chaplin, a well respected athlete on the Ludlow track team says: “I consume dairy before my practice because it has an adequate amount of protein and energy needed for me to practice well.”

Last but not least, Keith Swiderski, an athlete on the Ludlow wrestling team says: “No, never. I never drink milk. I’m fine without it, my bones are great and it’s all around just a waste of nutrients. I could get it anywhere else, you know?”

Clearly, there is a diverse amount of opinions at LHS regarding the need for dairy in an athlete’s diet. But to get to the bottom of this debate, we’re going to take a look at what the hard, cold science says.

Some studies suggest that milk is better at hydrating than water, which may actually be true because of the electrolytes present. However, milk is extremely calorie dense, with roughly 400 calories per 32 ounces, with most of those calories coming from casein and whey (milk protein) and saturated fat. 

Neither of those two nutrients are the body’s main source of fuel, which is carbohydrates. Also, fat, whether it be saturated or unsaturated, is known to hinder athletic performance when consumed before vigorous exercise. 

Fat and protein also take a long time to fully digest. Why do you think you’re supposed to drink your protein shake after your workout instead of right beforehand? Overall, milk is not the best choice of workout fuel. Water and the meal you last ate will do just fine. 


In summary, milk is absolutely not required for adequate athletic performance. Milk is a white liquid secreted by cows that has the perfect amount of nutrients for the purpose of helping baby cows grow up. It was not made for human consumption. Humans happen to have a mutation that allows us to consume dairy after infancy. 

The purpose of this article was to get out the message that milk is not a necessary part of anybody’s diet. Milk is just protein, fat, a bit of carbs, and some minerals. All of that can be found in some of the most basic meals that are consumed on the daily. 

I, personally, believe that it is not the school’s fault for this misadvertising of dairy. It is the dairy corporations who sponsor everything from government programs to the NFL in order to make milk seem like a necessary component of everybody’s diet. Also, just think about it for a quick second. You’re drinking the bodily fluids of another animal. That’s kinda gross.\