Canadian Athlete Perceptions of Milk
While some Canadian and American athletes include milk as a part of their diet, others have sworn off cow milk.
Positive Canadian Perception
- Nanci Guest is a dietitian who has consulted with Canadian Olympians including the women's hockey team, and she recommends milk as part of the diet of athletes.
- In the Canadian fitness magazine Chatelain, dietitian Tristaca Caldwell-Curley published a meal plan for endurance athletes that includes several servings of milk.
Negative Canadian Perception
- Kara Lang, a Canadian soccer player who has competed in the Olympics and two World Cups, has joined Switch4Good's coalition of athletes who speak out against milk and dairy products.
- Canadian marathon runner Brendan Brazier has also joined Switch4Good and has refrained from drinking cow milk since he was 15 years old.
- Several top Canadian athletes have gone vegan, including triathlete Madi Serpcio Whalen, runner Adriana Wild, and snowboarder Kevin Hill.
Positive American Perception
- Thirty American Olympians and many other American athletes are sponsored by the Milk Life campaign, meaning that they are featured in advertisements endorsing milk and its health benefits.
- A survey of runners participating in the Rock 'N' Roll Marathons found that 44% of athletes consume chocolate milk as a part of their post-exercise routine, and 83% of athletes made a connection between chocolate milk and post-exercise recovery.
- Muscle milk, a high-protein meal replacement, sponsors several athletes including Julie Ertz and Ryan Hall, who have thus advocated for the product.
Negative American Perception
- Like Canadian athletes Kara Lang and Brendan Brazier, several American athletes including Chris Manderino have joined the Switch4Good campaign to encourage people to turn away from cow milk.
- Tom Brady, despite having been endorsed by the Milk Life campaign earlier in his career, now avoids cow milk in his diet.
- Several NBA and NFL players have cut out dairy from their diets, and credit this change with higher energy levels, less pain, and longer endurance.
As limited information existed on Canadian athletes' perception of milk, to complete this request your research team expanded the criteria to include North American athletes. However, we first employed three strategies to search for Canadian athlete perceptions.
First, we looked for a direct answer by examining Canadian fitness magazines, academic articles, and milk marketing publications. This search led us to two athletes' perceptions of milk but failed to give us a comprehensive view. Next, we identified Facebook pages and blogs by Canadian athletes like Rosanna Tomiuk, Paula Findlay, Joshua Riker-Fox, and more. Despite searching dozens of pages, this strategy failed to result in any relevant additional information.
We also identified top milk brands in Canada, like Lactantia, Beatrice, Agropur, and more, and attempted to triangulate a response by connecting these milk brands with athletes' endorsement or rejection. However, this search failed to result in any clear cut endorsement or rejection of various milk brands by Canadian athletes.
Finally, we attempted to triangulate an answer by examining the perceptions of dietitians and trainers. Our assumption was that dietitians and trainers that consulted with Canadian teams or athletes likely had a major influence over whether Canadian athletes were drinking milk or not. Similarly, athletes were likely to base their perceptions about what was healthy for them on the recommendations of their dietitians and trainers. This strategy led us to a few more first-hand perceptions of milk, but ultimately our research findings were still limited. So, we expanded our search criteria to North America. By employing the same strategies as aforementioned with a North American scope, we were able to gather more comprehensive data on athletes' perceptions of milk.