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@DaveLiepmann recommended drinking one gallon of milk a day for gaining quick mass. It does look like a good idea as it is discussed on stronglifts as well.

But another article suggested it is not for everyone.

All ingredients in 1 gallon of milk can be found using wolframalpha.

My questions are:

  1. That’s quite a lot of fat (as they recommend whole milk rather than skimmed milk), sugar, and other things others like vitamins, calcium, phosphorus, etc. Is drinking that much milk good for the body? From what I understand, this is only short term until you reach your desired weight.

  2. Is the weight gained primarily of fat?

  3. Is it true the weight gained using this strategy will be lost after you stop drinking 1 gallon of milk?

  4. I currently consume 500 ml of milk a day, can look at taking another 500 ml given the situation above with fat, sugar & other excessive contents but will mean stop taking any other sugar foods. Will this make a difference in terms of weight gain (as this is not close to 1 gallon)?

I am not trying to open a discussion rather looking for answers specific to my questions.

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I kindly recommend to add a P.S to your question about how it's going, your GOMAD . –  Gigili Nov 28 '11 at 14:39

3 Answers 3

up vote 9 down vote accepted

While on a heavy lifting program, those who are underweight and want to get bigger need to eat a large amount of food. One of the best ways to make sure that one gets enough calories each day is to drink a gallon of milk in addition to three large meals.

To answer your questions individually:

  1. Is all that good for you? Milk is awesome for the body. From the second article you linked to:

    Milk, as a whole food source, is hard to beat in terms of macro and micro nutrients. Also, to be clear, dietary fat does not equal body fat. The fat in milk just means it's calorically dense.

  2. Is it all fat? If you lift heavy three times a week and do GOMAD, a little less than half of the weight you gain will be fat. Mark Rippetoe, author of Starting Strength and proponent of GOMAD, says this in an article clarifying his views on diet for the novice:

    After the first three or four months, a change will be necessary for most guys that started off skinny. If you have done the program correctly, you will have gained quite a bit of weight, about 60% of it being lean body mass – muscle, tendon, and bone. This means that your bodyfat may have also gone from ~10% to 18-19%. This is fine; it was necessary to produce the LBM [Lean Body Mass] increase. But now it’s time to modify the diet to reflect your body’s approach to its limit of fast LBM growth.

  3. Will one lose the weight if one stops drinking GOMAD? Yes and no. People who trade lifting 3x/week and GOMAD for 20 hours of TV a week and eating bags of potato chips will keep the weight and lose the muscle. If you keep lifting but stop the GOMAD, you'll either keep the weight or lose some of the fat. If you stop lifting and take up sprinting, you'll drop the weight really fast.

    Gaining 60% lean mass and 40% fat, for someone who wants to be strong, is not the worst thing. It can be easily corrected through diet and exercise, particularly since the body has only recently put the weight on and is not accustomed to maintaining it. If you're concerned with looking pretty all the time, GOMAD is not for you. I've heard LeanGains might be effective, but it certainly doesn't mix well with Starting Strength.

    Personally, 20 of the 25 pounds I gained from SS+GOMAD went away when I stopped GOMAD and started eating normally. I kept lifting, but with much less weight. I started running 1 or 2 times a week. It took between two weeks and a month to lose the weight. The 5 pounds that stayed was muscle.

  4. I don't understand your 4th question, but the gist of GOMAD is this: if you squat HEAVY three times a week, you need to eat a lot of food. 5000 calories or more is recommended. Meat, eggs, vegetables and milk are all great. Candy and soda are not ideal. One of the easiest, simplest, most straightforward ways to make sure you get enough food (including protein) is to eat three big meals and supplement it with a gallon of milk.

    If you don't like what it does to your digestive system, how it makes you look, or how it tastes, just stop and lose the weight.

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Thanks @DaveLiepmann for the detailed response and also alternative suggestions such as leangains, very interesting. I plan on to start GOMAD and see how I get on. –  Dave Sep 26 '11 at 21:49

If the only way you can eat calories at a surplus is by drinking a gallon of milk a day then you should contemplate getting a g-tube.

GOMAD is a bad idea. Milk is extremely insulinogenic not to mention our bodies have limited ability to break down lactose.

Not to mention 1 gallon of milk has 208g of sugar which is 832 calories.

Spare yourself the diarrhea and diabetes and just eat a normal diet. Milk has its place but advocating to haphazardly add 2336 calories to your diet is beyond absurd. Just because something worked for a few individuals doesn't mean is a good idea. Search "__ (insert random word from dictionary) diet works" and you will find tons of success stories!

Edit: Some math to show why the average trainee doesn't need 5000 calories

Lets take Jim. A skinny guy who wants to be buff! Perfect candidate for GOMAD!

His stats:

  • Height: 5'10
  • Weight: 140lbs
  • Age: 21
  • Male
  • BMR: ~1700

Jim, as most people are, is pretty sedentary but lets assume he's pretty active and give him a ~1.5 calorie multiplier. Which means he needs 2550 calories to maintain his weight. But Jim wants to GO-MAD! So he adds a ~2450 daily calorie surplus to his diet because hell he wants to get results quick.

So lets assume to add 1lb of muscle you need 2500 calories. Lets also assume you can gain 1lb of muscle per week. Both 'estimates' are extremely optimistic. So in order to gain 1lb of muscle per week Jim has to eat a weekly surplus of 2500 calories, which translates into 357 calories per day or ~2900 calories.

Instead Jim is doing 5000, which means he's eating an extra 2000 calories on top of what he needs to gain 1lb of muscle a week! Or an extra ~14000 calories per week. Which translates into a nice 4lbs of fat per week.

Comparing this against the hypothesis "GOMAD, gain 25lbs in 25 days", Jim falls short by only gaining 17.5lbs in 25 days. Lets add some bloating, water retention and increased glycogen levels due to the absurd surplus and sugar and you can easily see how its possible.

At the end of the experiment Jim gained:

  • 3.5 lbs of muscle
  • 14 lbs of fat
  • 7.5 lbs in bloating, water retention and increased glycogen storage

Will GOMAD increase your strength? Yes. Will drinking 3 liters of soda also increase your strength? Yes. Should you do either? No.

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Thanks @mike for the response. Will it effect the health like diabetes even if GOMAD is done for a month. 5000 calories is a lot to consume a day without the milk. What would you suggest then in place of milk to add the calories that's easily available/consumable as milk? –  Dave Sep 28 '11 at 22:32
    
@Mike, could you add references for any of the numbers you're using? 1.5 calorie multiplier, 1lb muscle/week, 1lb muscle = 2500 calories, 25 pounds in 25 days? This also seems to be applying GOMAD to a "pretty active" guy as an example--that's quite a straw man. GOMAD is prescribed for novices squatting 3x/week plus deadlifting, pressing and cleaning. –  Dave Liepmann Sep 29 '11 at 0:30
    
I cited everything except the how many calories is needed to make 1lb of muscle. I estimated that based on the fact 1lb of muscle is roughly ~700 calories just by weight and then ~1800 calories from the needed metabolic activity. SS has 15 total sets per day (excluding warm up), done 3 times a week. I would hardly call that anything more than 'pretty active guy'. –  mike Sep 29 '11 at 1:10
    
@mike it is looking very interesting and is aslo looking bad when you put it like that. I have started consuming 2 pints of whole milk and 1 pint of skimmed milk with my normal low fat, medium carb, high protien food a day. Its is around 3.5-4K calories a day with little more fat & more sugar than recommended levels a day. I will see how I get on and make changes appropriately. I do plan on to workout 5 days a week instead of 3, will be starting a thread on that. I appreciate your input. –  Dave Sep 29 '11 at 22:12
    
One could drastically attenuate the sugar content by fermenting the milk through the kefir process. It is dead simply. I don't do GOMAD, but I do have a kefir pipeline for morning smoothies. Kefir has most of its lactose converted into lactic acid and other stuff. –  Ross Rogers Aug 15 '12 at 20:46

I highly recommend reading an account of someone who actually did the protocol for the good, bad, and the ugly. The article you cited really talked about the emotional side of things and didn't really go into any true negative side effects from a health perspective. The key components of GOMAD are:

  • You are lifting weights to build strength. This helps your body make the most of all those extra calories.
  • You need to gain weight. This can be a problem for ectomorphs who are hitting plateaus.
  • You are squatting heavy 3 times per week. That means you are following StrongLifts, or Starting Strength programs.

So to answer your questions:

  1. Yes it's a lot of fat, sugars, and calories. It's also a lot of protein. You need the protein and the calories to build more muscle. For people who have a problem gaining weight, this is a very effective way to do that.

  2. According to the account I linked to above, if you do the work needed, you will gain muscle. You'll also have a bit of water retention and a little bit of fat. The water retention will correct itself when you switch to a gallon of water a day.

  3. If you continue the work needed to build stronger muscles, you will not magically lose all the weight you gained. If you are an ectomorph, the body type that most commonly has problems gaining weight, the only weight that will remain is the new muscle you built. You might lose some of the fat and water weight, but that's it.

  4. Understand how GOMAD is supposed to work. The benefit of the whole milk is not just the sugars and fat. It is the protein that comes with it as well. You have an additional 128g of protein in your diet, that along with the calories provide your body the tools it needs to build muscle. If you give your body the work it needs to tell it to build muscle--that's what you will get. 25lb in a month won't be all muscle, but a good portion of it will be. Substituting with random sugar will not give you the same results. You need the protein as well.

Mark Rippetoe also promotes this approach for people who have a hard time gaining weight. It works. It helps build muscle--if you are working on building strength while you do it.

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Thanks @BerinLoritsch for providing the account of someone and also for providing detailed answers. It helps in terms of what can be expected as a result of this. –  Dave Sep 26 '11 at 21:52

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