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July 10, 2014

Chocolate Milk – Kids’ Favorite and… Awesome Recovery Beverage?

Written by Dena Evans

imagesOne of the most interesting and perhaps culturally curious trends over the past several years has been the transition of chocolate milk from a treat for kids, to a serious nutrition application for competitive athletics.  Surprisingly, a significant number of studies have been done to measure the effect of chocolate milk on performance over the past several years, charting the performance and recovery of cyclists, runners, soccer players, and more.  In study after study, chocolate milk performs extremely well, as an option for recovery and refueling. If you have had a hard time wrapping your head around this idea, consider the various properties of chocolate milk as you would your favorite sports drink or water.

 

Optimal carb/ protein ratio

Many runners are well versed on the importance of refueling soon after running, and that carb snack 10-15 minutes after the workout can be rendered even more effective by the incorporation of some protein, at a about a 4:1 ratio between the two. Sports drink manufacturers have spent years creating an artificial beverage with those numbers.  Chocolate milk features a ratio right along those lines naturally – no lab experiments necessary!

Key nutrients for bone health

Chocolate milk contains a wide variety of nutrients, many of which are great assets to good health and performance.  Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and others are directly related to bone health and growth.   One 8oz glass of chocolate milk provides approximately 1/3 of the recommended daily value for Vitamin D and nearly the same percentage of the recommended amount of calcium. As such, it is a great way to access some of our key nutrients from food rather than supplements or engineered beverages.

Plenty of electrolytes to replenish those lost in sweat

A glass of milk provides potassium, sodium in amounts that help an athlete stave off the effect from lots of sweating.  There are actually more of each in chocolate milk compared with some of the most popular sports drinks, and certainly more in chocolate milk than water.  If you need to sweat and sweat often, chocolate milk will help you replenish what you have lost and speed the recovery process.

Protein, a great builder

There are not many sports drinks that can also incorporate protein effectively, and it is even more difficult to have them do so if taste is a consideration.  One glass of milk provides nearly 20% of the daily, recommended amount.  Like pizza delivery that is both prompt and provides excellent pizza, protein found in chocolate milk is a great way to get this needed nutrient, in a very efficient manner.

Besides these many benefits, other studies have indicated even more reasons to consume chocolate milk, such as the presence of B vitamins, and other assets.  Each of us has an individual preference for our recovery and fluid replacement vehicles, whether due to taste or if our bodies can process it effectively while running and without GI distress.  If you are looking for an alternative or have never tried overtly refueling after exercise, chocolate milk might be a good place to start, and an enjoyable beverage to have stocked in the fridge for even the non-runners in the family.

 

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