Chocolate Milk: The Next Sports Drink?
Chocolate milk promoted recovery between exercise sessions
Finding the best post-exercise drink
"Because fluid bovine milk is considered a high-quality protein in that it provides all essential amino acids and the carbohydrate content provided in chocolate milk exceeds that of white milk, fat-free chocolate milk holds particular intrigue as a recovery beverage for endurance athletes," said Dr. William Lunn and colleagues in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
Eight male runners took part in the studies. Both studies had two parts, separated by seven days. In each part, the men completed a 45-minute run. Afterwards, they were given 480 ml (16 ounces) of fat-free chocolate milk or a carbohydrate-only beverage during a three-hour recovery period. Both drinks had 296 calories; the chocolate milk had 16 grams of protein as well. Men given the chocolate milk during the first part of each study were given the carbohydrate-only drink during the second part, and vice versa.
Before you gulp
This isn't the first time that chocolate milk has made the news as an exercise recovery drink. A 2011 study in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research concluded chocolate milk promoted recovery between exercise sessions as well as a combination carbohydrate-electrolyte replacement drink.
It makes sense that a protein-rich drink (like chocolate milk) would help spare muscle protein during recovery from intense exercise. Future studies should investigate other (nondairy) protein sources and complex carbohydrates as components of post-exercise drinks.
(Med Sci Sports Exerc 2012; DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3182364162)
Kimberly Beauchamp, ND, received her doctoral degree from Bastyr University, the nation's premier academic institution for science-based natural medicine. She co-founded South County Naturopaths in Wakefield, RI, where she practiced whole family care with an emphasis on nutritional counseling, herbal medicine, detoxification, and food allergy identification and treatment. Her blog, Eat Happy, helps take the drama out of healthy eating with real food recipes and nutrition news that you can use. Dr. Beauchamp is a regular contributor to Healthnotes Newswire.