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Whey protein is an easy way to add extra protein into your diet, but you may be wondering what you can mix with it. A lot of people mix whey protein with water but there are other options, including milk.
Can you mix whey protein with milk? Yes, mixing whey with milk adds protein and fat to your protein shake keeping you full and satisfied for longer. Low-fat milk and whey protein is best before a workout and for those looking to lose body fat. Whole milk and whey protein is a better option post-workout and for those looking to gain mass.
With that said, before you start mixing whey protein powder with milk, you should know the pros and cons, and how to do it properly for optimal results.
In this article you will learn:
- 4 pros and cons of mixing whey protein with milk
- When to consume whey protein and milk
- Who should and shouldn’t mix whey protein with milk
- Best types of protein to mix with milk
Benefits of Mixing Whey Protein with Milk
The benefits of mixing whey protein with milk are:
- It keeps you full for longer
- It will give your protein shake a better taste and texture
- It makes it easier to hit your daily protein goal
- It provides additional carbs beneficial around a workout
1. It Keeps You Full for Longer
Milk has more protein and fat compared to water, both of which will help keep you full for longer after you have your protein shake.
Per cup, 2% milk has 8g of protein and 5g of fat. Foods that are higher in fat and protein take longer to digest, keeping you more full and satiated longer after eating. This is particularly beneficial for anyone that is trying to lose body fat as the longer we can keep ourselves feeling satisfied, the more likely we are to stick to our diet in the long run.
Now, this may sound counterintuitive…
You’re probably thinking, water has fewer calories and when I’m in a calorie deficit, shouldn’t I always be trying to reduce calories?
While yes, we don’t want to consume unnecessary calories, simply consuming a scoop of whey protein with water will digest extremely quickly and leave you hungry almost immediately after.
Instead, if we can add in some fat and protein from the milk, this can help us to feel satisfied for multiple hours after consuming which is more beneficial for keeping our total calories in the day lower.
- Learn more about Protein Powder With Milk or Water: Which Is Better?
2. It Will Give Your Protein Shake a Better Taste and Texture
Mixing whey with milk improves the taste and texture compared to mixing it with water, creating a more satisfying and enjoyable protein shake.
If you’ve ever mixed whey protein with water, you know that the taste and texture are very thin and watery. This makes your shake less appealing and you’ll be less satisfied after eating it. If you instead mix your whey with milk, you can get the milkshake-like taste and texture of mixing it with milk but with minimal extra calories.
While it may seem obvious that having our food taste better is good for enjoyment, it’s also beneficial in helping us stick to our diet long term. I don’t know about you but I’m much more likely to reach for a higher calorie snack I shouldn’t if I’m left unsatisfied after eating.
You may also find that this thicker texture shake can become a healthier dessert replacement or satisfy a sweet craving, both of which are beneficial for losing body fat.
- Related Article: Does Whey Protein Have Calcium? (A Nutrition Coach Answers)
3. It Makes It Easier to Hit Your Daily Protein Goal
Milk, particularly filtered milk, adds additional protein to your protein shake making it easier to hit your daily protein goal.
Most of us know by now that hitting our daily protein requirements is beneficial, not only for muscle growth but to help improve our immune function and leave us feeling more satisfied after we eat.
However, it’s usually the most difficult macronutrient for my clients to hit, especially if they don’t want to consume meat at every meal.
This is where milk comes in. Per cup, milk has between 8g and 13g of protein, with the higher end of the range coming from filtered milk. This extra protein in your protein shake can make it much easier to hit your daily protein goal, especially if you are consuming these daily.
Picture this, you are regularly consuming 2 protein shakes per day but still having trouble hitting your protein goal. If you swap your water out for filtered milk, you will be increasing your daily protein intake by 26g!
Therefore, opting for milk in your protein shake instead of water is an easy way to boost the protein during the day, making it easier to consume enough protein daily.
4. It Provides Additional Carbs Beneficial Around a Workout
Milk provides additional carbs, compared to mixing it with water, which is helpful pre and post-workout for additional energy and recovery.
Carbs are important around a workout to both provide quick energy as well as replenish our energy store to promote recovery. If we are just mixing our whey protein with water, we are missing out on these benefits.
While the carbs in milk won’t replace a meal, it’s a great way to add in some carbs to your post-workout shake and start your recovery process as you’re heading home before you have time to eat. Think of it like icing on a cake, adding additional benefits to your protein shake which is already helping you reach your muscle-building goals.
Make sure you are considering the type of milk you are consuming. Before a workout we want the fat to be low, so skim or 1% is a good option. Post-workout, adding in some fats is beneficial so whole milk is a great choice.
Drawbacks of Mixing Whey Protein with Milk
The drawbacks of mixing whey protein with milk are:
- It is higher in calories compared to water
- It isn’t a good option if you are lactose intolerant
1. It Is Higher in Calories Compared to Water
Milk contains more calories compared to water, which may make it a less desirable option for mixing with whey for those looking to lose weight.
Milk ranges in calories depending on the fat percentage we are buying, skim milk will set us back 85 calories per cup while whole milk has closer to 150 calories. This can add up quickly if you are having multiple protein shakes per day, especially for those looking to lose weight.
In that case, I recommend choosing filtered skim milk, that way those 80 calories are coming with no fat, only 6g of carbs and 13g of protein. For most people, these macros will be quite easy to fit into their day and worth it for the extra taste benefit. This may not be the case in extreme cases such as a bodybuilding competitor close to a competition.
If you are looking to mix whey with water but with a better taste and texture, I recommend sticking to 5oz of water per scoop of whey and blending it in a blender with ice.
2. It Isn’t a Good Option If You Are Lactose Intolerant
Milk is a dairy product which means it contains lactose, meaning mixing it with whey protein may cause digestive issues for some.
Experts estimate that approximately 68% of the population is lactose intolerant. This means that they experience some sort of digestive discomfort, such as bloating, gas, diarrhea etc. after consuming a food that contains lactose.
Digestive discomfort is important to avoid as it can interfere with all aspects of our lives including our nutrition. While everyone’s tolerance is different, you are less likely to consume your targeted macros when you are experiencing these symptoms. In particular, it’s often a protein that is undereaten in these cases which can interfere with appetite and muscle growth.
Fortunately, for those that are lactose intolerant, there are lactose-free milk options available for purchase at most grocery stores. It’s important to always read the label to confirm if this is something you struggle with.
Milk & Protein Powder: When to Consume
Is Whey Protein Powder & Milk Good for Pre-Workout?
Yes, low-fat milk, such as 1% or skim, and protein powder are good for pre-workout as it provides an easily digestible source of protein and some carbohydrates. Make sure you are pairing it with an additional source of carbs, such as oats, to provide you with more energy for your workout. Limit it to 1 scoop or less.
It’s important to mix your protein with a liquid that is low in fat as fat slows down our digestion and our body won’t be able to get the energy we need as quickly from the carb we ate. Therefore, I recommend sticking to low-fat milk such as skim or 1%.
Milk also provides some additional quick-digesting carbs to give a boost of energy before your workout. Ensure you are eating some slower-digesting carbs as well to continue to provide energy throughout your workout.
- A great option is mixing your whey protein with cereal. Check out my article Can You Mix Whey Protein With Cereal?
Is Whey Protein Powder & Milk Good for Post-Workout?
Yes, milk and protein powder are good for post-workout as it provides the protein our body needs to repair our muscles post-workout. Milk with some fat, such as 2% or whole milk is best. Ensure you pair it with a carb source, like cereal, to replenish our energy stores, which is also needed for optimal recovery.
Post-workout it’s important to consume protein, carbs, and fat. Higher-fat milk will provide a great mix of all three. Chocolate milk can be a great option to add extra carbohydrates, but this is based on personal preference as this may be too sweet for some when mixed with whey too.
For those on the go, mixing whey with milk is a great option to consume immediately post-workout on your way home from the gym. This will help to kick start the repair and recovery process giving you a bit more time to get home and make a complete meal.
Is Whey Protein Powder & Milk Good for Breakfast?
Yes, whey protein and higher-fat milk is a great way to add protein and fat into your breakfast helping keep you energized and feeling full until lunch.
If you’ve ever found yourself hungry by 10 am even when you’ve had breakfast, I’m willing to bet your breakfast was high in carbs and low in protein and fat. With a high-carb breakfast, you have plenty of energy right after eating but that quickly fizzles out by mid-morning.
Adding protein and fat from your protein shake into your breakfast will slow your digestion and provide you with a steady stream of energy all morning. It’s important to add a carb source as well to provide the energy you need for your day as well.
This extra protein and fat at breakfast can be especially helpful for those who are cutting as those mid-morning snacks you’re likely to reach for, like a granola bar or trail mix, are high in calories and can quickly push you over your daily calorie goal.
Is Whey Protein Powder & Milk Good Before Bed?
Whey protein and milk before bed can be a great way for those that are struggling to get all their protein in during the day or want a sweet treat in the evening.
Many of us are familiar with this situation, it’s later in the evening and we are hit by a craving for a sweet treat. Reaching for candy or cookies to fill that craving can quickly add up to hundreds of calories which will likely impact our body composition.
Instead, by mixing whey with milk, you can create a rich and sweet treat that is under 200 calories. The extra fat and protein in the milk will also help to fill you up so you’re likely to find it much more filling and satisfying than sugary food.
It’s important to pick the milk that best aligns with your goals. If you are looking to lose body fat and therefore are eating less, low-fat milk is the best option. If you are bulking and trying to add additional calories to your day, whole milk is a great choice.
Who Should Mix Whey Protein with Milk?
Mixing milk with whey protein is a great option for anyone with physique goals as the type of milk can be customized depending on if you’re looking to lose, maintain, or gain weight. Filtered 1% milk is best for those looking to lose or maintain while whole milk is best for the looking to gain mass.
When you are maintaining or losing weight, it’s helpful to focus on including protein and fat in your meals. This will help to keep you more full and satisfied, making it easier to stick to your diet.
Now given that, you may be wondering why I don’t recommend mixing whey with water? After all, that’s the ultimate lower-calorie option. While yes this is true if you simply mix whey with water you are likely to find yourself hungry within an hour reaching for a high-calorie snack. Opting for 100 calories worth of milk can help save you more calories later.
I recommend opting for 1% filtered milk as this will help to reduce the carbohydrates as well as calories but leave the protein and fat that you are looking for.
If you are looking to gain muscle mass, a higher calorie milk option, such as whole milk, is a great way to boost your calories without feeling overly full. Many of my clients struggle with getting enough calories to find this trick very useful. Once you are done bulking and looking to cut, I recommend switching back to 1% milk as an easy way to cut some calories out of your diet.
- Related Article: High-Calorie Alternatives To Milk: 3 Dairy-Free Options
Who Should NOT Mix Whey Protein with Milk
Mixing whey protein with milk is not a good option for those that are in a more severe fat loss phase such as in a bodybuilding competition or cutting for a weight class based sport.
While mixing whey with milk can help keep us full for longer, there are some cases where consuming calories from a liquid will just not fill us up enough. In those cases, it would be better to mix whey with water and eat 100 calories worth of food.
These cases are more extreme and generally, people that are in a severe fat loss phase are looking to push their physique. This would not be your average gym-goer looking to lose a few pounds, this is likely to be someone competing in a bodybuilding show or cutting for a weight class based sport.
In this case, almond milk may also be a good option as it’s fewer calories but still provides a better taste and texture than water.
Will Protein Powder Dissolve in Milk?
Yes, protein powder will dissolve well in milk if you utilize a shaker bottle or blender to mix them. A ratio of 1 scoop of protein powder to 1 cup of liquid is recommended to ensure it fully dissolves.
While whey protein mixes quite well in milk if you don’t use the right method you are going to end up with a clumpy mess that is not very tasty. A shaker bottle is the easiest and most convenient way to mix it, especially on the go, however, a blender would work too. I don’t recommend just a spoon as this is also likely to end up clumpy.
Best Types of Protein to Mix With Milk?
The best type of protein powder to mix with milk is a whey protein isolate as it will provide the best taste and texture as well as the best macros. I recommend Legion Whey+ Isolate.
Why a whey protein instead of a vegan option?
Whey will provide a better taste and texture when mixing with just milk. Vegan protein has a chalky texture and earthy taste, making it a better candidate for adding into a smoothie along with fruit. Whey protein on the other hand mixes very well into milk and has a taste and texture that most people enjoy.
I recommend a whey isolate over a whey concentrate because a whey isolate has a more favorable macro profile.
Whey isolate is a more filtered form of whey protein compared to a whey concentrate, meaning it has the most protein and least other macros per scoop. It also is lactose-free making it the best digestive. While both are good options to mix with milk, whey isolate is the best option.
My top recommendation for a whey protein isolate is Legion Whey+ Isolate. And many of my clients have found this to be the best taste and texture when mixed with milk. It also is sweetened with stevia instead of sugar alcohols making it less likely to cause digestive upset.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions about mixing whey protein and milk.
How Much Milk Do You Mix with Whey Protein?
It is best to mix 8oz of milk for every scoop of protein powder you are consuming. You can adjust this slightly based on personal preference. Increasing the amount of milk by 2-4oz will dilute the flavour of the protein powder while decreasing the amount of milk by 2oz will strengthen the flavour.
Can I Mix Whey Protein with Hot Milk?
You cannot mix whey protein with hot milk but you can with warm milk. Heat causes whey to denature leaving you with a chunky mess if your milk is too hot. Instead, mix it with warm milk which won’t be hot enough to cause this issue. Use a rapid mixer adding the protein slowly as the mixer is running for best results.
Other Articles On Whey Protein
- Can You Mix Whey Protein With Almond Milk?
- Can You Mix Whey Protein With Coconut Milk?
- Can You Mix Whey Protein With Chocolate Milk?
- Can You Mix Whey Protein With Soy Milk?
About The Author
Laura Semotiuk is a Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified nutrition coach. She works with athletes and active individuals looking to improve performance and develop healthy nutritional habits and behaviors. She has a passion for cooking, meal prepping, and creating simple and healthy recipes.
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