Gain Mass

Your Complete Guide to Dairy

Nutritionists have argued the pros and cons of dairy products for years, but it's time to set the record straight: Bodybuilders should make dairy a part of their daily diets. Here's why, and how.

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Cottage Cheese

Remember Little Miss Muffet—the arachnophobe who ate her "curds and whey"? Mother Goose fancified it, but Muffet was just munching on cottage cheese. It doesn't much resemble a block of cheddar, but cottage cheese is, in fact, cheese. Immature cheese, let's say. To make it, enzymes are added to milk, causing its casein protein (which makes up about 80% of cow's milk) to curdle into those characteristic curds.

Catabolism Conqueror

Cottage cheese is high in not only protein (28 grams per cup) but casein protein specifically—that's the slow-digesting kind. It's just about the perfect snack for right before bedtime, or any other time you'll go hours without eating.

Amino Powered

In addition to being a protein powerhouse, cottage cheese contains glutamine, an important amino acid that's involved in everything from boosting the amount of glycogen muscles can store and increasing growth hormone levels, to keeping your immune system healthy and even helping you lose fat.

Cheese

Cheese is made by starting with something like cottage cheese and then subjecting it to a variety of different processes: heating, adding bacteria to further curdle it, draining and pressing, stretching, washing or adding mold (depending on the type) and aging. The finished product has a longer shelf life than milk and a richer, more satisfying flavor.

Protein Boost

Eating cheese is a good way to get a little extra protein, whether it's the middle of the afternoon and you need a snack or you're grating a little over a side dish. But because cheese, like all dairy products, can contain a lot of fat, watch those labels. Buy low-fat or (if you can find them) fat-free cheeses, and limit your intake to a couple of ounces a day.

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