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Blueberries and Milk Don’t Mix: Study

March 6th, 2009

Find out why you probably don't want to mix blueberries with milk or milk proteins like whey or casein.

Find out why you probably don't want to mix blueberries with milk or milk proteins like whey or casein.

Here’s a study we wish they’d have done a long time ago. As you may know, blueberries are one of the most, if not THE most antioxidant-rich fruits in the human diet due to their high polyphenol content. They also taste great and are available year-round in both fresh and frozen forms. So blueberries make the perfect addition to a protein shake.  Or don’t they?

Well it’s not as though adding blueberries to your protein shakes is harmful, or pointless; blueberries still add taste, texture, fiber, calories and other nutrients to your protein shake.

But according to a study in the March 15, 2009 journal Free Radical Biology & Medicine, ingesting blueberries with milk impairs the antioxidant properties of the blueberries. This is presumed by the study authors to be due to the affinity of blueberries antioxidant phenols for proteins.

It’s not clear whether the same anti-oxidant reducing effect would result from using non-dairy proteins like soy or eggwhite because those proteins weren’t used in the study – the study used milk. Milk protein consists of a mixture of whey and casein proteins. Most protein powders also consist of whey and/or casein protein. So if you use such a protein powder, there’s now evidence that you should leave the blueberries out and eat them unaccompanied by protein at some other time of the day to get their full antioxidant benefits.

There are still many other great additions to your protein shakes that add taste, nutrients or both.

If you’re looking to add some berry or fruit flavor to your shakes,  try using Emergen-C or Effer-C packets. These are effervescent, flavored vitamin C powder packets that also add B vitamins and are available in different flavors.

Lecithin: Has no taste, but adds brain and heart-healthy fats to any shake, adds some body and richness to chocolate protein shakes.

Unsweetened cocoa powder: Adds fiber, antioxidants, mood-boosting methylxanthines, protein and lots of intense, authentic chocolate flavor.

Liquid multi: There are a few to choose from but tastewise NOW Foods did a great job with their liquid multis (no easy feat), which are available in Orange and Wild Berry flavors. The serving size is just one tablespoon, which you could just mix into your shake along with the other ingredients.

Calcium, magnesium and vitamin D:  Add flavored liquid Calcium, Magnesium and vitamin D to your protein shake.

L-carnitine: Carnitine does a lot of good things, foremost among them is facilitating the body’s use of fat as a fuel. It’s particularly good for your heart or as an endurance supplement for your intense fat burning cardio sessions. Take a look at the many liquid carnitine supplements available in various flavors.

6 Responses to “Blueberries and Milk Don’t Mix: Study”

  1. August 02, 2010 at 3:55 pm, Swisstoons said:

    Unfortunately, the same thing milk does “for” blueberries, it also does for cocoa. The protein binds with the flavanoids rendering them unusable by the body. Likewise, for the goodies in green tea.
    Makes me wonder if many of the other nutrients in such colorful fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, peaches, cantaloupes, spinach, etc., are also rendered unusable when consumed with a variety of proteins.

  2. March 07, 2011 at 10:17 pm, Lynz said:

    I want to know, since no one has answered this… say you eat blueberries in the morning and drink milk at night… is it already passed through your system and it won’t diminish the effects of the blueberries or can you not drink milk at all when eating them?

  3. March 14, 2011 at 3:01 pm, Paul_Baeyens said:

    Lynz, I wouldn’t worry about it outside of the same meal. There are probably hundreds of thousands of different contraindications from food combinations, some positive and some negative. To worry about all of them would be overwhelming to say the least. Blueberries for breakfast and milk with dinner sounds good to me :)

  4. March 17, 2011 at 1:14 am, Food Combining and Separation | Mark's Daily Apple Health and Fitness Forum page said:

    [...] Someone just referred to this in another thread about blueberries and milk Blueberries and Milk Don’t Mix: Study | All Star Health Which is a pity as they go so well with dairy. And someone suggests that maybe other issues with [...]

  5. November 22, 2011 at 9:40 am, Jane said:

    I heard that if you eat blueberries you should wait 1 hour before you eat dairy or you can eat them 2 hours after ingesting dairy.

  6. December 08, 2011 at 1:25 pm, admin said:

    I have read that as well. Studies show that eating blueberries with dairy appears to block the antioxidant benefits.

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