British Journal of Nutrition

Full Papers

Milk as an effective post-exercise rehydration drink

Susan M. Shirreffsa1 c1, Phillip Watsona1 and Ronald J. Maughana1

a1 School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, LE11 3TU, UK


The effectiveness of low-fat milk, alone and with an additional 20 mmol/l NaCl, at restoring fluid balance after exercise-induced hypohydration was compared to a sports drink and water. After losing 1·8 (sd 0·1) % of their body mass during intermittent exercise in a warm environment, eleven subjects consumed a drink volume equivalent to 150 % of their sweat loss. Urine samples were collected before and for 5 h after exercise to assess fluid balance. Urine excretion over the recovery period did not change during the milk trials whereas there was a marked increase in output between 1 and 2 h after drinking water and the sports drink. Cumulative urine output was less after the milk drinks were consumed (611 (sd 207) and 550 (sd 141) ml for milk and milk with added sodium, respectively, compared to 1184 (sd 321) and 1205 (sd 142) ml for the water and sports drink; P < 0·001). Subjects remained in net positive fluid balance or euhydrated throughout the recovery period after drinking the milk drinks but returned to net negative fluid balance 1 h after drinking the other drinks. The results of the present study suggest that milk can be an effective post-exercise rehydration drink and can be considered for use after exercise by everyone except those individuals who have lactose intolerance.

(Received July 14 2006)

(Revised January 19 2007)

(Accepted January 24 2007)


c1 *Corresponding author: Dr Susan M. Shirreffs, fax +44 (0)1509 226301, email


Abbreviations: trial CE, carbohydrate–electrolyte sports drink; trial M, milk; trial M+Na, milk with added NaCl; trial W, water