Lactose-Free Skim Milk as a Sports Drink for Female Collegiate Basketball Athletes: A Comparison of Two Drinking Strategies Original Research

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Dr. Marla T. Mallari
Dr. Alisa Nana


ad libitum fluid intake, programmed fluid intake, anaerobic performance, collegiate basketball athletes


Introduction: Hypohydration is known to affect strength, power, intermittent high intensity activity as well as physiologic and perceptive responses which in turn may affect subsequent training bouts. A simple hydration strategy to prevent hypohydration (e.g. drinking ad libitum) and intake of beverages with higher nutrient content compared to water (e.g. low-fat milk) may prove to be relevant for athletes. 

Methods:  Female collegiate basketball athletes volunteered to participate in this randomized crossover study. Participants drank lactose-free skim milk during training and were assigned to one of two drinking strategies:  Programmed fluid intake (PFI) or Ad libitum (AdL). The running anaerobic sprint test (RAST) was used to measure performance indices. Perceived exertion, perceived recovery, hydration status, thirst, gastrointestinal comfort, and palatability were determined throughout the protocol.

Results: Intake of lactose free skim milk by either strategy during training was found to have no significant effect on subsequent anaerobic performance after training (for maximum power p=0.095, for fatigue index p=0.20). No significant differences were found between the groups in subjective measures of exercise intensity (p=0.53), perceived recovery (p=0.48) and subjective measures of thirst (p>0.05), gastrointestinal comfort (p>0.05), and palatability (p>0.05). 

Conclusions: Lactose-free skim milk was well tolerated and may therefore be ingested as a beverage during intermittent exercise. Drinking strategy had no significant effect on subsequent performance in this study.

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