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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.

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